Department of English

Edel Hanley

16 March 2022, 3-4 pm

Online -

This paper examines the portrayal of women as nurse-veterans of a kind in First World War poetry to show that nurse, like combatants, struggled to overcome symptoms typically associated with post-traumatic stress. It explores women’s position both as civilian and war writer, bystander and participant, having experienced war on two fronts, at home and in war zones. The poetry of civilian women and nurse writers such as Vera Brittain, Mary Borden and May Sinclair also makes claim that that although women’s mourning began immediately and during the war, it continued into the postwar period, casting women in the role of ghost-survivors. As this paper draws on both experimental and more traditional Georgian modes of writing, it suggests that women poets rely on modernist strategies to articulate women’s war experience, an experience which dramatically resisted conventional literary representations.

College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences

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