Special Issue "War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy"
The topic of war and literature has received much critical attention; however, this special issue focuses specifically on literary texts that discuss the topic of commiseration with the “enemy” within war literature. Texts that show authors and/or literary characters attempting to understand the motives, beliefs, cultural values, etc. of those who have been defined by their nations as their enemies often shows that the soldier has begun a process of reflection about why he or she is part of the war experience. These texts also show how political authorities often resort to propaganda and myth-making tactics that are meant to convince soldiers that they are fighting opponents who are evil, sub-human, etc., and are therefore their direct enemies. Literary texts that show an author and/or literary character trying to reflect against state supported definitions of good/evil, right/wrong, ally/enemy often present an opportunity to reevaluate the purposes of war, and one’s moral responsibility during wartime. In the contemporary era, with the threat of war a consistent reality, it is important to acknowledge the literary texts that reflect upon the political manipulation of belief during wartime that causes one to embrace intolerance towards others by maintaining a designation that they are the enemy.
This issue is especially interested in receiving articles that discuss texts written from the viewpoint of soldiers contemplating the reasons as to why they are fighting. Texts that focus on a soldier’s reflection about what their enemy might be like, who they are, what they believe, etc. are especially desirable. Also texts that focus on the enemy with respect or commiseration are welcomed, like Euripides’ Trojan Women. In addition, texts that are written from the standpoint of the perceived enemy are also highly desirable, such as Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet of the Western Front. This special issue is interested in texts from around the world from any era.
Prof. Rachel McCoppin