Drawing on private expressions of grief expressed in letters, diaries, memoirs and poetry, Carol Acton focuses on the lived experience of wartime loss and on the power of the dominant public narratives to shape and control private experience of grief and its articulation. She shows how the experience of bereavement challenges the binaries through which war is constructed, 'home' and 'the front', 'ally' and 'enemy', and collapses constructions of war that confine it within geographic limits and dates. Since prescribed bereavement behaviour in British and North American cultures is gendered, and since the defining and regulating of gender roles becomes extreme in a country at war, the author pays particular attention to the gendering of representations of loss in wartime.

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