Be a Good Soldier: Children's Grief in English Modernist Novels

Be a Good Soldier: Children's Grief in English Modernist Novels

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By Jennifer Margaret Fraser
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
288 Pages
ISBN 9781442643130
Published Nov 2011
Online discount: 25%
 $59.00    $44.25
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442695511
Published Nov 2011
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $57.00

In the modern era, children experiencing grief were encouraged to dry their tears and ‘be good soldiers.’ How was this phenomenon interrogated and deconstructed in the period's literature? Be a Good Soldier initiates conversation on the figure of the child in modernist novels, investigating the demand for emotional suppression as manifested later in cruelty and aggression in adulthood.

Jennifer Margaret Fraser provides sophisticated close readings of key works by Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce, among others who share striking concerns about the concept of infantry — both as a collection of infants, and as foot soldiers of war. A phenomenon associated traditionally with Freud, Fraser instead uses a unique, Derridean theoretical prism to provide new ways of understanding modernist concerns with power dynamics, knowledge, and meaning. Be a Good Soldier establishes a pioneering, nuanced vocabulary for further historical and cultural inquiries into modernist childhood.

Jennifer Margaret Fraser holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Toronto.


Introduction Children's Grief: The Return from Exile

Chapter One Translating the Foreign Language of Childhood Grief:Joseph Conrad's Under Western Eyes

Chapter Two Childhood Grief as Resident Alien in Jean Rhys' Five Novellas

Chapter Three Grieving the Child of the Shell-Shocked Soldier in Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier

Chapter Four Childhood Grief on the Home-Front: Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier and Parade’s End

Chapter Five Creating a Space for Childhood's Sound Waves: Virginia Woolf's A Haunted House and The Waves

Chapter Six The “Laughtears” of the Child Be Longing: James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

Conclusion Creating Fictional Space for the Grief of the Child



Be a Good Soldier will command excitement and respect for its first-calibre, strikingly original readings of grief and mourning in a truly impressive variety of modernist texts. Jennifer Margaret Fraser’s meticulous work of scholarship and criticism crucially stands on its own, blending and cross-considering textual domains with agility and inventiveness. Fraser has generated an exceptionally rich and sensitive repository of vocabulary through which historicist inquiry can now most productively happen.’

Peter Mallios, Department of English, University of Maryland