Posted on 26/03/2014
Over the years, I have come to understand that these students expect any truthful representation of the war to be dominated by scenes of horror. For it to be realistic and "true", it must be bloody, graphic, have a high body count and represent an assault on the senses (rather like a video game). For them, war writing should be visceral and direct; it should fill them with revulsion and "pity".
Royal Holloway lecturer Betty Jay discusses teaching the First World War to students through literature arguing for the usefulness of first hand accounts, even if their depictions of 'horror' and 'pity' do not conform to the images of spectacular and graphic violence which we have come to expect in contemporary culture.
You can read the full article on the Guardian website here