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Transatlantic Shell Shock: British and American Literatures of World War I Trauma


Austin Riede, Ph.D.

Contributing Authors

Samraghni Bonnerjee Ph.D.
Qiang Huang Ph.D.
Louise Kane Ph.D.
Jill Goad
Jason Parks Ph.D.
Ria Banerjee, Ph.D.

Iro Filippaki Ph.D.
Elisa Bolchi Ph.D.
Arsev Ayen Arslanoĝlu Yıldıran Ph.D.
Argha Kumar Banerjee Ph.D.



Print Version



Upon the end of the Great War in 1918, soldiers and nurses returned to their homes on either side of the Atlantic. Although no longer actively engaged in fighting, they still suffered the traumatic effects of war. Caught between society’s ideas of masculinity and war, these men and women struggled to communicate their experiences.

Transatlantic Shell Shock examines the private and public opinions about shell shock in the United States and the United Kingdom post-World War I. Men and women fought to come to terms with their often misrepresented and misunderstood war trauma. First-hand accounts, such as diaries, memoirs, and periodicals, examine the contrasting discourse in British and American literatures.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Transatlantic Shell Shock: An Introduction
Austin Riede, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief

Chapter 2. “Strange Hells”: Shell Shock, Trauma and Transatlantic Poetry of the First World War
Argha Banerjee, Ph.D.

Chapter 3. “Flesh and blood is weak and frail, Susceptible to nervous shock”: T. S. Eliot, Shell Shock, and the First World War
Qiang Huang, Ph.D.

Chapter 4. “It Still Haunts Me”: Trauma and Shell Shock in the Writings of the Nurses of the First World War
Samraghni Bonnerjee, Ph.D.

Chapter 5. Troping Shell Shock: The Anti-Sublime in American and British Women’s Great War Narratives
Iro Filippaki, Ph.D.

Chapter 6. Reporting from the Neuropathic Ward: Eugène Jolas, transition, and Psychological Refuge
Jason Parks, Ph.D.

Chapter 7. Modernism, Shell Shock, and Transatlantic Periodicals
Louise Kane, Ph.D.

Chapter 8. No Way Back: War Trauma in Richard Aldington and Virginia Woolf
Elisa Bolchi, Ph.D.

Chapter 9. Three Iterations of Shell Shock: Mary Butts and Modern Violence in Interwar Dorset
Ria Banerjee, Ph.D.

Chapter 10. “A Walking Personification of the Negative”: African-American World War I Veterans in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s Sula
Jill Goad

Chapter 11. The Punitive/Analytic Dichotomy and Antiwar Complexes in Pat Barker’s Regeneration and Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun
Arsev Ayşen Arslanoğlu Yıldıran, Ph.D.

About the Editor

Austin Riede is an associate professor at the University of North Georgia, specializing in British modernism. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011. He has published articles on Ford Madox Ford’s novels The Good Soldier and Parade’s End, Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir Testament of Youth, and the elegiac wartime poetry of W. B. Yeats. Riede’s areas of expertise include British Literature, Modernism, World War I Literature, Film, and Science Fiction.

Contributing Authors

Samraghni Bonnerjee, Ph.D., is a literary and cultural historian of the first World War. She is a Research Associate in the AHRC-funded project “Literature, Psychoanalysis and the Death Penalty 1900–1950” at the University of Sheffield. Formerly, she was a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Sheffield, where she read for a Ph.D. in English Literature. Her peer-reviewed journal articles have been published (or are forthcoming) in Australian Journal of Politics and History, Studies in Travel Writing, Women’s History Review, and Endeavour; and her book chapters have been published in edited collections by Palgrave Macmillan. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Qiang Huang, Ph.D., is Lecturer in English at the School of English and International Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Louise Kane, Ph.D., is assistant professor of global modernisms at the University of Central Florida. She has published widely on modern periodicals and historical print cultures, and she is currently working on a monograph about modernist magazines and the emergence of global literature.

Jill Goad is an assistant professor of English and the director of the online writing lab at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. She has published articles on Natasha Trethewey in South and Irish Studies South, articles on Toni Morrison in Motherhood in Toni Morrison’s Novels (Demeter Press) and in New Academia, and an article on psychoanalytic theory in Gloria Naylor’s work in The New Union, among others. She is currently working on a chapter for a book on new readings of Gone with the Wind (Transatlantica Press).

Jason Parks is an associate professor of English at Anderson University (Indiana). His courses include Shakespeare, Medieval British Literature, Contemporary Global Literature, and Rhet/Comp. He holds a Ph.D. in literature, with an emphasis on Transatlantic Modernism, from Ball State University. He has published essays on the use of digital technology in the literature classroom, and he also writes about modernist periodicals. His essay on translation and multilingualism in Wyndham Lewis’s The Enemy was published in the 2017 issue of the Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies. He is an active member of the Modernist Studies Association.

Ria Banerjee, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of English at Guttman Community College, CUNY. Her scholarly interests are in British and European modernism and post-World War II film. She has previously published on T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf, and is currently at work on a monograph on spatiality in interwar British fiction. She teaches undergraduate courses in developmental writing and literature, and graduate film courses with the Film Studies Certificate Program of the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Iro Filippaki received her Ph.D. in English literature and Medical Humanities from the University of Glasgow. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, where she researches war and trauma, and narrative medicine. In particular, Filippaki writes on the narrative representations of trauma and affect in a variety of texts and contexts: war narratives and video games; cancer memoirs, horror films, and Greek literature and culture. Her current book project explores the representations of resilience to war trauma in the literary imagination of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

Elisa Bolchi, Ph.D., is founding member and vice-president of the Italian Virginia Woolf Society. She has taught English literature at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, for several years. Her research focuses on Anglo-Italian relationships. She studied the reception of Virginia Woolf in Italian literary periodicals during Fascism, publishing the book Il paese della bellezza (Milan 2007). Her last book, L’indimenticabile artista (Milan 2015), tells the background of the first Italian editions of Virginia Woolf’s books, starting from unpublished editorial letters. Other subjects of research include Richard Aldington, Ian McEwan, and Jeanette Winterson, mainly investigating such themes as Italian reception, re-writing, and ecocritical writing.

Arsev Ayşen Arslanoğlu Yıldıran, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the department of English Language and Literature at Artvin Çoruh University, Turkey. She has published essays and presented papers on experimental Canadian and American literature, graphic medicine, and modernist American literature. Currently she is working on a book project on hysteria and literature.

Argha Kumar Banerjee, Ph.D., is currently the Dean of Arts, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), under Calcutta University. He was a Commonwealth Research Scholar at the Department of English, Sussex University, U.K. where he wrote his D.Phil. thesis on poetry of the first World War. Recipient of the Charles Wallace Fellowship to the U.K., his published books include Female Voices in Keats’s Poetry (2002), Poetry of the First World War: A Critical Evaluation (2011), and Women’s Poetry and the First World War (2014).

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