The British Publishing Industry and Commercial Memories of the First World War

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Department 1

Civil War Era Studies


British veterans of the First World War were avid writers. From The First Hundred Thousand to The Last Tommy, Britain’s soldiers and aid workers left behind a vast literature of wartime memories. Veteran recollections have been a significant part of the formation of British popular memory of the conflict, as well as part of the ‘cultural turn’ in First World War studies since the 1980s. The war’s literary legacy, it has been argued, has helped to frame the public narrative of the conflict. What has attracted less attention has been the British publishing industry’s role in the dissemination of war memories to the public when those memories were most acute, the interwar period. This article considers the British publishing industry and commercial war memoirs. It assesses the literary marketplace for martial literature and the commercial memory of the First World War in the interwar period.


Full version available from publisher at http://wih.sagepub.com/content/23/3/323



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