This book analyzes the development of the Lost Generation narrative following the First World War. The author examines narratives that illustrate the fracture of upper-class identity, including well-known examples of the Lost Generation—Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, and Vera Brittain—as well as other less typical cases—George Mallory and JRR Tolkien—to demonstrate the effects of the First World War on British society, culture, and politics.
Mary K. Laurents is lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Department of Public History at Stevenson University.
Chapter 1: British Upper-Class Identity as a Legitimizing Collective Identity
Chapter 2: The Fracture of Upper-Class Identity
Chapter 3: Cultural or Collective Trauma and Collective Identity
Chapter 4: Forms of Resistance Identity
Chapter 5: Project Identities: Pacifism and Building an Anti-Modern World
Laurents presents the reader with a new approach to understanding a British upper class whose sense of self and collective identity was exposed to the trauma ofWorldWar I. This approach is illuminating, intellectually stimulating, and offers huge possibilities for future research. It is to be commended for opening up a new sociohistorical framework utilizing identity theory and social identity theory. This approach allows for a much deeper reading of the disillusion, alienation, rebelliousness, marginalization, and separation felt by individuals who rejected a collective upper-class identity as it existed before the war.