Above the Battlefield Modernism and the Peace Movement in Britain, 1900-1918 Grace Brockington

Publication date:
15 Oct 2010
Paul Mellon Centre
244 pages: 254 x 190mm
90 b-w + 40 color illus.
Sales territories:

The early twentieth century is usually remembered as an era of rising nationalism and military hostility, culminating in the disaster of the First World War. Yet it was marked also by a vigorous campaign against war, a movement that called into question the authority of the nation-state. This book explores the role of artists and writers in the formation of a modern, secular peace movement in Britain, and the impact of ideas about "positive peace" on their artistic practice. From Grace Brockington's meticulous study emerges a rich and interconnected world of Hellenistic dance, symbolist stage design, marionettes, and book illustration, produced in conscious opposition to the values of an increasingly regimented and militaristic society, and radically different from existing narratives of British wartime culture.

Grace Brockington is Lecturer in History of Art, University of Bristol.

“Above the Battlefield is a beautifully written and beautiful produced book, which presents a compelling argument for reconsidering the lesser-known work of both groups.”-Lara Feigel, History Today

"A highly original interdisciplinary intervention into the historiography of British Modernism…Above the Battlefield makes a sophisticated and passionate case for the much-maligned practices of twentieth-century Aestheticism… [Brockington offers] refreshing observations indeed, and they suggest fruitful new ways for scholars to rethink the conflict as its centenary approaches." James Fox, Burlington Magazine

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