Art in time of war:
towards a contemporary aesthetic
In times of war
In September 1914 an agonised Hermann Hesse writes of how war is destroying the
foundations of Europe’s precious cultural heritage, and thereby the future of civilisation itself. Hesse stands proudly for what he calls a ‘supranational’ tradition of human
culture, intrinsic to which are ideals essentially humanitarian: an ‘international world
of thought, of inner freedom, of intellectual conscience’ and a belief in ‘an artistic
beauty cutting across national boundaries’.1
any existing moral, humanistic or aesthetic anti-war feeling –
reactions that, as we will see, were as valid and real as any of a religious or
political nature. I felt it was time to set the record straight.
Very occasionally, this humanistic anti-war feeling has been noted in ‘official’ studies. In his Pacifism in Britain 1914–1945: The Defining of a Faith, the
historian Martin Ceadel singles out what he terms ‘humanitarian pacifism’ as a
valid form of anti-war feeling, stating that it is ‘no less a dogma’ than religious
or political pacifism. However, in Ceadel
founded on and generating both accord and contention.
The connection between the former colony and colonial power is one
that has always been complex and it is not our intention here to track its
history. The aim of this collection of essays is, rather, to consider a series
of cultural and literary relationships that took place across the Atlantic
(and often despite it). These suggest that, in cultural terms at least, the
relationship between Britain and the United States has been a particularly
productive one, whether in antagonism or amity. The eleven essays in this
to the destructive ‘fiery conviction’ of
the war years. In addition, Russell’s concerns were echoed, often independently,
by other individuals, whether celebrated or obscure.
The ground was being laid for the organised voice of historian Martin Ceadel’s
‘humanitarian pacifism’ of the 1920s and 1930s.16 It is clear that aesthetic and
A war of individuals
humanistic anti-war feeling was not simply an inter-war ‘innovation’, but existed much earlier during the actual conflict and emanated from differing sources
on an individual basis in its expression.
Lesbian citizenship and filmmaking in Sweden in the 1970s
(1984) [‘Investigation about the situation of homosexuals in society’], would
put homosexuality on the official political agenda as a legitimate social
and civil rights issue in Sweden, paving the way for cohabitation, anti-
discrimination, parental and marital rights during the following decades.
The two rare lesbian films examined in this chapter, largely forgotten and
overlooked in Swedish film history as well as in feminist and queer historiography, anticipate these crucial shifts in the official medical, legal and
social understanding of homosexuality in Sweden
Translatina world-making in The Salt Mines and Wildness
. (1996). Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies. New York: Routledge.
Jelača, D. (2016). ‘Gendered visions in As If I Am Not There and in The Land of Blood
and Honey: Female precarity, the humanitarian gaze and the politics of situated
knowledge’, Jump Cut, 57.
Juhasz, A. (1999). ‘They said we were trying to show reality –all I want to show is
my video: The politics of the realist feminist documentary’, in J. Gaines and M.
Renov (eds), Collecting Visible Evidence. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Press, pp. 190–215.
Keegan, C. M. (2016). ‘History
William Rawley, Bacon’s secretary
and editor, which suggests that Bacon’s original intention was ‘to
have composed a frame of Laws, or the best state or mould of a
commonwealth’,6 and that, as Rawley notes at the end, ‘The rest
was not perfected’ (488). However, some critics consider the New
Atlantis’s apparent fragmentariness to be part of its overall
design:7 its identity lies between part and whole. Significantly in
this regard, Bacon’s fable is appended to the much larger work of
natural history, Sylva Sylvarum, which comprises a compendium
of hundreds of
rethinking his history, and his psychological history at that.16 Learning, visibly, he is being pushed to give
tentative, linguistic life to concepts that make him uncomfortable. The
still dark areas are represented by ellipses; these are the points where his
brain proves it is ill-equipped for the broadening of knowledge.17 To
use Freudian terminology, as does Tietjens, these are indicative of his
repression. This repression is mostly sexual. Yet Tietjens has made a
tortured progression in the allusion to, if not direct expression of,
desire in his speech.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Grand and the sexual education of girls
Janet Beer and Ann Heilmann
Perkins Gilman, ‘Economic Basis of the Woman Question’, 1898,
collected in Aileen S. Kraditor (ed.),Up from the Pedestal: Selected Writings in
the History of American Feminism, Chicago, Quadrangle Books, 1968, pp.
Sarah Grand, The Heavenly Twins, London, Heinemann,  1908, pp.
403, xi. Hereafter HT.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Man-Made World or, Our Androcentric
Culture, New York, Johnson Reprint Corporation,  1971, p. 134.
For the evangelical roots of much of nineteenth-century feminism see Jane
Rendall, The Origins of Modern Feminism
this vulnerability is shared, and
by whom? Why is #MeToo having an impact only now, with wealthy and
often white cis-women in Hollywood at the forefront of the movement,
when the issue of sexual abuse and assault has been a key struggle in feminist, women of colour, and trans activisms for such a long time? What part
does social media play in the successes and failures of activist efforts such
as #MeToo, and how does it relate to broader media histories of addressing
and representing painful issues and marginalised people?
One of the keys to the success of the