By Susan Kingsley Kent
Aftershocks stories how meanings of shellshock and imagery providing the traumatized psyche as shattered contributed to Britons' understandings in their political selves within the Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed awesome violence opposed to these considered as 'un-English'.
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Additional info for Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918–1931
As Aldington put it, “By writing Death of a Hero I purged my bosom of perilous stuff which had been poisoning me for a decade. ” The upheaval and possibility of ﬂooding represented by a thunder storm gave way to clarity and calm. It appears to have taken about ten years for returning vets to compose the narrative that adequately gave meaning to their experiences: Graves “made several attempts during [the twenties] . . ” Goodbye to All That came out in 1929, part of that “ﬂood of wartime reminiscences,” as Carrington described it, that inundated the reading public.
Moreover, the age restriction ensured that those eligible to vote were likely to be wives and mothers; those excluded were largely single, unattached women who had made so signiﬁcant a contribution to the war effort, who might seek to continue their work after the war and even to sacriﬁce marriage and motherhood to do so. The sexual disruption these women represented produced acute anxiety in the postwar years. The new electorate, comprised of newly emancipated women and, seemingly, of frightening, angry, out of work demobilized soldiers, alarmed a good part of society.
Workers had undermined the recovery of the nation from the war with their selﬁsh insistence on a living wage. Women had reveled in the freedoms and opportunities afforded them at the expense of frontsoldiers, and then refused to give up their jobs to returning soldiers; their demands for an equal franchise in place of the partial enfranchisement granted them in 1918 demonstrated a galling ingratitude. 47 The structures of emotion generated by the tragedies of the Great War found expression in a variety of political incidents and events, to which individuals, government, and society as a whole responded in a 34 Aftershocks variety of ways.