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Richard Aldington. Death of a Hero

Bolchi, E., Child, P., ed. (2019) Richard Aldington. Death of a Hero. The Literary Enciclopedia (Volume English Writing and Culture of the early Twentieth Century , 1900-1945.)

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Published in 1929 by Chatto & Windus (UK) and by Covici Friede (USA), Richard Aldington’s first novel Death of a Hero has been called one of the best fictional treatments of the Great War (Copp 2002, 15), and was described by George Orwell as “much the best of the English war books” (1970, 261). The merit of the novel which makes it still worth reading is that it is not a tribute to war, but “evidence of how war reduces one to the barest elementary humanity” (McGreevy 1931, 34). The description of war in the novel is anti-heroic, giving a thorough and solid account of not just the fear and despair, but also the dirt, illness and, above all, boredom and loneliness that soldiers experienced in the trenches, of which Aldington had first-hand experience. The novel has, in fact, an autobiographical basis; it is divided into three parts, with the first two devoted to the protagonist’s coming of age, and only the last part set during World War I. This final part is significant for its disenchanted take on war, stressing not only the physical destruction of the body, but the obliteration of the sense of self and of one’s place in the world. Aldington’s works had been out of print for a few years, but thanks to the renewed critical attention towards World War I literature in concomitance with the commemoration of the centennial of the Great War, Penguin decided to republish Death of a Hero in the Classics series in 2013, thus confirming the canonical status of the novel.

Item Type:Web Resource
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > Italian
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:88746
Uncontrolled Keywords:Richard Aldington, Death of a Hero, War Novel
Publisher:The Literary Enciclopedia

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