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War Memory in British Soldier Songs of the First World War

Abstract : The anonymous songs sung by British soldiers during the Great War have frequently been revisited over the last eighty years, and often presented as the true voice of the Tommy. Conservative newspapers have recently republished collections, while, for the centenary, theatre groups have re-staged the anti-militarist musical comedy Oh What a Lovely War in which the soldier songs play a key role. The songs are sometimes accompanied by an “antimilitarist” discourse and sometimes by a “patriotic” one. This article explores how this cultural object comes to be so malleable that, a hundred years later, the songs can be sung by radical punk rock groups as well as by Military Wives’ choirs.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - 2:20:57 PM
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John Mullen. War Memory in British Soldier Songs of the First World War. War Memories: Commemoration, Recollections, and Writings on War, 2017. ⟨hal-01828810⟩

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