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Conference papers

« Wartime Music Hall : Myth and Reality »

Abstract : Victorian music hall has been much studied, Edwardian music hall much less, and there is no comprehensive study of music hall during the First World War, which is why we chose to work on this subject. Mentioned in passing by many writers at the time and historians since, music hall has been presented as proof of universal war fever taking over the civilian population, far from the realities of massacre in the trenches. Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon denounced aspects of the music hall, while the 1960s musical play and film « Oh What A Lovely War » presents music hall discourse as jingoistic and deranged, to be contrasted with soldier songs, interpreted as anti-war protest from those who really knew. As part of our book project on wartime music hall, we have collected a corpus of over a thousand songs. By examining these, we will attempt to answer the questions – Was wartime music hall typically or exceptionally jingoistic ? Were anti-war songs or social protest songs possible on the music hall stage ? Who decided on what was sung and how? What can wartime music hall tell us about popular attitudes of the time ?
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Contributor : John Mullen <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 10:51:37 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 1:31:54 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02571822, version 1



John Mullen. « Wartime Music Hall : Myth and Reality ». Re-appraising the First World War, Imperial War Museum, Nov 2011, Londres, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-02571822⟩



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