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Chapter 16 - Volunteers

Ambulance and Nursing Narratives

from Part II - Settings and Subjects

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2021

Tim Dayton
Affiliation:
Kansas State University
Mark W. Van Wienen
Affiliation:
Northern Illinois University
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Summary

Many of the most vivid American accounts of the First World War were written not by front-line troops, but by non-combatant volunteers who witnessed the conflict as nurses, aid-workers or ambulance drivers. Drawn to the war-zone by a humanitarian desire to serve, or simply by the lure of adventure, these volunteers often came to feel a sense of unease at their own complicity in the machinery of war, and developed a powerful sense of detachment from the military systems within which they worked. This chapter explores a range of such writers, noting how early war memoirs established repeating tropes that would be adapted and subverted by later more nuanced responses to the war. For some, the insight generated by these wartime experiences, and the verbal skills required to articulate them, would inform a lifetime of literary production.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Volunteers
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.017
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  • Volunteers
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.017
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Volunteers
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.017
Available formats
×