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Literature and War

War literature is a prolific, broad-ranging, and popular literary genre that resists categorization. What constitutes war literature? Firsthand portrayals of battle? Literature about the aftermath of war? Arguments about the limits of the definition abound. A traditionally narrow definition of war literature requires combat as the central concern; however, a more contemporary classification includes aftermath and postwar experiences as well as the experiences of military support staff, journalists, civilians, women, children, and members of antiwar movements. Depending on the country of service, military women’s war literature ranges from the perspective of military support staff, to nurses, to soldiers. Just as men without direct combat experience write of war, so too do women. Moreover, war literature does not exist in a literary vacuum. It signifies and ...

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