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Writing disenchantmentBritish First World War prose, 1914-30$
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Andrew Frayn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089220

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089220.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Writing disenchantment

Andrew Frayn

Manchester University Press

The introduction sets forth a genealogy of disenchantment, from mid and late nineteenth-century fears of degeneration as a consequence of anthropological work, anxieties about increasing mechanisation and the concomitant growth of mass culture. The ways in which the theories of social reformers such as C. F. G. Masterman and declinists such as Oswald Spengler prefigure and inform First World War literature are outlined. The increasing predominance of mass culture, in line with improvements in literacy, meant that the novel was becoming the form in which matters of note were discussed, and writers’ views on writing are mobilised to support this analysis. Typically British pre-war enchantments are sketched out, and the book is situated within the current field of First World War Studies. A chapter outline is provided.

Keywords:   Declinism, Degeneration, Oswald Spengler, C. F. G. Masterman, Max Nordau, Disenchantment, War literature

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