Prior to 1914, professional soldiers in the ranks had a somewhat mixed reputation in Britain – one only has to look at Kipling's 'Ballad of Tommy Atkins', who complains that he is treated with disdain and suspicion except when somebody is needed to fight Britain's enemies and make sacrifices. The First World War and its citizen soldiers, however, witnessed widespread changes to how soldiers were perceived by the British public. This talk explores some of the reasons for this change, and looks to literature of the time to illustrate these changes.
Ann-Marie Einhaus is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Northumbria University Newcastle. She is the author of The Short Story and the First World War and editor of The Cambridge Companion to the English Short Story among others. Her research interests and publications cover the early twentieth-century short story, writing about the Great War from 1914 to the present day, the reception of foreign literature in Britain during the inter-war period, and British wartime and inter-war magazines.