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In Memoriam

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What do you get when you cross Journey’s End with Brideshead Revisited?

This month Angus, Chris and Jessica review Alice Winn’s best-selling new novel, In Memoriam. The book follows  Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood from public school and through the war. Half-German, Gaunt’s mother asks him to enlist in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks. He signs up immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings. But Ellwood and their classmates soon follow him into the horrors of trenches. Though Ellwood and Gaunt find fleeting moments of solace in one another, their friends are dying in front of them, and at any moment they could be next.

Along the way we discuss class, conscription and the difficulties of describing the boredom and violence of war in popular fiction.

References

1917 (2019)

A.J. Evans, The Escaping Club

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H (1850)

Alice Winn, In Memoriam (2023)

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

Charles Carrington, A Subaltern’s War

Ernst Younger, Storm of Steel (1929)

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Ian Isherwood, Remembering the Great War (2017)

In Memoriam by Alice Winn review, The Guardian (12 March 2023)

Justin Fantauzzo and Robert L. Nelson (2016), ‘A Most Unmanly War: British Military Masculinity in Macedonia, Mesopotamia and Palestine, 1914-18’, Gender & History 28(3): 587-603, DOI: 10.1111/1468-0424.12240

Heartstopper (2022)

Second Lieutenant Kenneth Macardle

Max Plowman, A Subaltern on the Somme

Pat Barker, Regeneration Trilogy (1991-1995)

Peaky Blinders

RC Sherriff, Journey’s End (1928)

Rupert Brookes, Goodbye to All That (1929)

Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (1929)

Star Trek

Stephen Fry, The Liar

The Gallows Pole (2023)

The Great Escape (1963)

The History Boys (2006)

This is Spinal Tap (1984)

This Is the Week That Was

Pat Barker, Regeneration Trilogy (1991-1995)

Other episodes

Oh What a Lovely War

What happens when three historians watch a key play about the First World War?

Egyptian Encounters

What opportunities did the First World War provide for cultural tourism?

War Hospital

What happens when you turn a First World War medical process into a computer game?