Literary Journalism and World War I: Marginal Voices

Griffiths, Andrew; Prieto, Sara and Zehle, Soenke eds. (2017). Literary Journalism and World War I: Marginal Voices. ReportAGES. Nancy, France: Presses Universitaires de Nancy.



World War I is often cited as a pivotal moment in Anglophone histories of literary journalism. In the months and years immediately after the war, so the argument runs, writers, editors and readers rejected a model of print journalism in which they had comprehensively lost faith. The gulf between the reality of the conflict and what was published in the newspaper reportage had caused an enduring breach of trust. Press historian Philip Knightley argues that during World War I, “[m]ore deliberate lies were told than in any other period in history” (84). In order to restore trust, writers sought to disentangle journalism and fiction. A new focus on objectivity was asserted and polemical writers announced their partisanship. Subjective literary journalism, in which editorial positions were embedded in the style and tone of the writing, was discredited. By bringing together texts by authors from around the globe, from Argentina and Belgium to Sweden and the USA, this volume aims to expand the scope of current scholarship and dispel the lingering sense that the war reportage of the conflict can be dismissed as nothing more than state-sponsored propaganda.

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