Abstract

Abstract:

In Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room (1922), ephemeral forms popular during World War I—pocket diaries and post cards—inflect the style of soldiers and civilians alike. The novel's diaries and letters anticipate the rhetorical demands of war, which were no doubt shaped by new and uniquely bureaucratic forms, namely the Field Service Post Card (Form A.2042) and the War Diary (C.2118) as well as related commercial products that promised to insure the soldier's body and life. These forms encouraged and often enforced a concise style and cheery voice, which strategically muted the war's gruesome realities in service of optimistic national narratives. Woolf's novel pays homage to these forms at the same time that it shows how ordinary writers learned to navigate the censor's gaze and circumvent these formal strictures.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 1-18
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-03
Open Access
No
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