The Great War and Literature: living memory

Writing inspired by the Great War has evolved over the past century: its great strength has lain in the broad range of forms it has taken, from the search for truth in first-person accounts to gradual emancipation in the shift beyond the immediacy of the author's experience which lent war poetry its quintessence, to a move into the background following the Second World War, and the political and stylistic approaches of the 1950s to 1970s. The early 1990s saw the emergence of narratives structured as family genealogies, then works expressing their historiographical debt to the wartime generation as the last survivors came to the end of their lives.