Telling the War Story: European Perspectives on the Great War

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GHIS

Course Number: 5117

The legacies of the Great War continue to be felt nearly a century later. Because it was a �total war,� it drew virtually all aspects of human life into its orbit. Yet these legacies have been understood differently by different kinds of authors writing in different times, in different genres and within different historiographical frameworks. This course explores the various resonances and interpretations of the war by asking: How did eye-witness accounts shape the war story? How did the understanding of the war�s legacies change in light of subsequent conflicts? What role did novelists and filmmakers play in telling the war story? And how have more popular accounts intersected with those of professional historians? What are the important differences of interpretation that have emerged from different analytic frameworks? In addressing these questions, the course uses primary and secondary documents, novels, and films to explore the creation and transformation of historical knowledge.

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