Writing silence: grieving mothers and the literature of war
School of Arts and Humanities
This chapter considers silencing in relation to women’s writing on the First World War. Women claimed spaces to voice war’s impact both during the conflict and long after cessation of hostilities in November 1918, while negotiating expectations for emotion to be contained, grief to be observed in quietude and male heroism to be revered and privileged. Focussing on practices and motifs of silencing, we cut across prevailing notions that women’s war writing is merely trite and in thrall to duty, heroism and sacrifice for nation and empire to identify sites of conflict, compliance and disruption and speculate on the creation of empathetic communities through writing.