Veteran Poetics

About the book

In this first full-length study of the war veteran in literature, Kate McLoughlin draws new critical attention to a figure central to national life. Offering fresh readings of canonical and non-canonical works, she shows how authors from William Wordsworth to J. K. Rowling have deployed veterans to explore questions that are simultaneously personal, political, and philosophical:  What does a community owe to those who serve it? What can be recovered from the past? Do people stay the same over time? Are there right times of life at which to do certain things? Is there value in experience? How can wisdom be shared? Veteran Poetics features veterans who travel in time, cause havoc with their reappearances, solve murders, refuse to stop talking about the wars they have been in, and refuse to say a word about them. Through this last trait, they also prompt consideration of possible critical responses to silence.

About the panel

Kate McLoughlin is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor in English at Harris Manchester College. In addition to Veteran Poetics, her other publications include Authoring War: The Literary Representation of War from the Iliad to Iraq, and The Cambridge Companion to War Writing. Kate is currently writing a literary history of silence, funded by a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust.

Suzan Kalayci is a British Academy International Newton Fellow at the Faculty of History and Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College. Her research focuses on the role of religion in the biographies of war orphans – the Islamisation of Christian children during the Great War and the Armenianisation of Muslim children after the war – by examining the little-known phenomenon of the integration of babies of Muslim fatherhood into the Armenian national community. Suzan and Kate have previously collaborated on a major interdisciplinary research project into silence, literature, culture and the arts.

Santanu Das is Professor of Modern Literature & Culture at the Faculty of English, and Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College. His research explores early twentieth-century literature and culture, with a particular focus on the relationship between experience, writing and emotion in times of conflict. His publications have examined the role of the senses in First World War experience and literature, as well as the colonial dimensions of war culture and memory through an expanded notion of the 'archive'.

Karen Leeder is Professor of Modern German Literature at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Fellow of New College. Karen has published widely on modern German culture, especially of the post-1945 and contemporary periods. She is a prize-winning translator and has been awarded grants by HEFCE, the British Academy and the AHRC for projects, most recently an AHRC Fellowship to work on her Spectres of the GDR: The Haunting of the Berlin Republic.