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Gueules cassées: the men behind the masks

Gehrhardt, M. ORCID: (2013) Gueules cassées: the men behind the masks. Journal of War and Culture Studies, 6 (4). pp. 267-281. ISSN 1752-6272

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1179/1752628013Y.0000000004


Facially wounded soldiers of the First World War were, despite progress in plastic surgery, a particularly uncomfortable presence in war and post-war societies. Their self-perception and relationships with others are indicative of political, social, and emotional issues. Their treatment was not on a par with that of other veterans. In some instances, masks and attachments were used to cover the damaged features. They protected both the victim and the onlooker (i.e. society). This article analyses the practical and symbolic functions of masks in France and Great Britain. Drawing upon both artistic representations and historical documents, I argue that ultimately, what is perceived as an alien object is not the mask but the face behind it, and therewith the uncomfortable memory of the war itself.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:44083

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