By Susan Kingsley Kent
Aftershocks experiences how meanings of shellshock and imagery proposing the traumatized psyche as shattered contributed to Britons' understandings in their political selves within the Nineteen Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed outstanding violence opposed to these considered as 'un-English'.
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Extra resources for Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918–1931
41 Returning from the war brought its own pain, especially for those who had found in the trenches a camaraderie they could ﬁnd no where else. Bonded to one another through a literal ordeal of ﬁre, these men shared emotions and experiences that no one who had not been through the war could understand, they believed. Leaving those comrades for peacetime existence produced a sense of disconnection from anything meaningful, and often produced a sense of alienation and atomization that plagued many veterans.
35 In the years following the war and the onslaught of the inﬂuenza epidemic, the model of the mind conjured by Edwardians came apart. The enlightened male subject of prewar Western society—a rational, autonomous, and bounded whole—and his subsequent Freudian counterpart—a divided self driven by instincts and urges that were nevertheless contained within a stratiﬁed tripartite structure of id, ego, and superego—no longer proved adequate to the task of representing the subject of postwar Europe.
He sighs a deep sigh of delight and puts out his hand to the ball where Margaret shines,” wrote West. “His sleeve catches the other one and sends it down to crash in a thousand pieces on the ﬂoor . . ” Dorothy Sayers, whose husband returned from the war shell shocked, gave Peter Wimsey and many of the suspects who peopled her crime stories the same history. All of her early mysteries contain one or more shell-shocked character; as one ﬁgure puts it, Here we’ve been and had a war, what has left ‘undreds o’ men in what you might call a state of ekilibrium.