Classicism and War in the 20th Century
Journal of War & Culture Studies
This CfP relates to a special journal issue on classicism and war in the 20th century.
The classical worlds of Greece and Rome inspired many writers and artists during and after the Great War, and encouraged, in turn, significant themes within the war memorial movement. Indeed, classical influences and symbols can be found in public artworks across the world, from the Diamond War Memorial Winged Victory in Northern Ireland, completed in 1927, to a mural in a 21st century kebab shop in Cooma, a town in NSW Australia, where an imagined WWI landscape portrays the Dardanelles on one side with poppies, on the other with a Trojan horse. In her analysis of the ideal classical male body as inspiration for rebuilding damaged men returning from the war, Ana Carden-Coyne calls this revival an attempt to ‘out-classicise the ancients’;(1) to build an even better modern model of classical Greek physical and military manhood.(2) While new movements in art and architecture emerged in the postwar world, ancient histories still provided a ‘language of mourning’, constructed a sense of meaning to guard against nihilism and disillusionment, and acted as an ‘agent of reconstruction’.(3) Thus, the links between the Great War and the classical world are perhaps more ubiquitous and constant than at first perceived.
What is perhaps more surprising is that the classical aesthetic continued to inspire objects of commemoration after the Second World War and into the Cold War. There is less scholarship in this area, therefore one question to ask is to what extent did that conflict disrupt the narrative and language of classicism in war commemoration that was so visible between the wars?
The focus of this journal issue will be broad, examining anything from tangible material evidence to the more intangible, psychological impact of classicism on recovery and healing. It will explore the reconstruction of lives, identities and society within the framework of a revived but modernised classicism, and interrogate the long legacy of classicism as an enduring commemorative aesthetic. The time periods may include (post)WWI, between the wars, (post)WWII, or the Cold War in any international context. Topics may include classical influences:
- and the postwar body;
- in postwar memorialisation and architecture;
- on commemoration;
- in wartime and postwar writing, including letter writing from the battlefront;
- in postwar artistic movements and film; and/or
- on national identity.
Please send your 300-word proposal for the issue by 12 June 2023. Please also include a short bio (up to 200 words) and, if available, a link to your web or ORCID profile.
The draft timeline is:
- Notification of outcome of proposal: 7 July 2023
- Successful proposals to submit full paper for editorial review: 29 January 2024
- Feedback to authors: by 29 March 2024
- Revised paper due to editors: 1 July 2024
- Submit final paper to journal for peer review: by July/Aug 2024
- Expected publication: 2025
The editors of the issue are Christine de Matos, Karen McCluskey (The University of Notre Dame Australia) and Ana Carden-Coyne (The University of Manchester). The special issue is expected to be published in the Journal of War & Culture Studies.
Please send your abstract by the due date, along with any further queries, to the following email addresses:
Dr Karen McCluskey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Christine de Matos: email@example.com
(1) Anna Alexandra Carden-Coyne, ‘Classical Heroism and Modern Life: Bodybuilding and Masculinity in the Early Twentieth Century’, Journal of Australian Studies 23, no. 63 (1999): 149.
(2) Sarah Midford refers to ‘Australia as being heir to ancient mythology and Homeric narratives.’ ‘Constructing the “Australian Iliad”: Ancient Heroes and Anzac Diggers in the Dardanelles’, Melbourne Historical Journal (2011): 61.
(3) Ana Carden-Coyne, Reconstructing the Body: Classicism, Modernism and the First World War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 109.