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Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511055195 | ISBN-10: 0511055196)

Sarah Cole examines the rich literary and cultural history of masculine intimacy in the twentieth century. Cole approaches this complex and neglected topic from many perspectives - as a reflection of the exceptional social power wielded by the institutions that housed and structured male bonds; as a matter of closeted and thwarted homoerotics; as part of the story of the First World War. Cole shows that the terrain of masculine fellowship provides an important context for understanding key literary features of the modernist period. She foregrounds such crucial themes as the over-determined relations between imperial wanderers in Conrad's tales, the broken friendships that permeate Forster's fictions, Lawrence's desperate urge to make culture out of blood brotherhood and the intense bereavement of the war poet. Cole argues that these dramas of compelling and often tortured male friendship have helped to define a particular spirit and voice within the literary canon.

• The book illuminates a unique aspect of the cultural history of the early twentieth century • Offers detailed readings of major authors including Lawrence, Forster, Conrad and the war poets • Brings together diverse material from the early twentieth century, including popular literature, and previously unpublished war writing to create a framework for the discussion of major writers


Acknowledgements; Introduction: 1. Argument: the organization of intimacy; 2. Definitions and choices: modernism, modernity, literary authority; 3. Structure: four sites of masculine bonding; Part I. Victorian Dreams, Modern Realities: Forster's Classical Imagination: 4. Hellenism and the beautiful body: Carpenter, Pater, Symonds; 5. The fall of Hellenism: Forster's modern disaffection; 6. A Passage to India and the failure of institutions; Part II. Conradian Alienation and Imperial Intimacy: 7. Friendship's dramatic demise: Heart of Darkness and Under Western Eyes; 8. From system to solipsism: Lord Jim; 9. Homoerotic heroics, domestic discipline: Conrad and Ford's Romance; Part III. 'My Killed Friends are with me where I go': Friendship and Comradeship at War: 10. War discourse: friendship and comradeship; 11. The major war poets: intimacy, authority, alienation; 12. Post-war articulations: lost friends and the lost generation; Part IV. 'The Violence of the Nightmare': D. H. Lawrence and the Aftermath of War: 13. Bodies of men: the landscape of post-war England, 14. Desire and devastation: male bonds in D. H. Lawrence; Notes; Index.


'… offers a detailed and scrupulously researched account of male friendship from the late nineteenth century to the 1920s … Cole's Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War is a powerfully argued and nuanced book that adds a great deal to our understanding of the authors it discusses.' Andrzej Gasiorek, Literature and History

'This is a very good book and one, I hope, that will open up further avenues for fruitful thinking and research.' Modern Language Review

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