By Susan Kingsley Kent

This booklet examines the impression of collective trauma bobbing up out of the nice warfare at the politics of the Nineteen Twenties in Britain. Aftershocks stories how meanings of shellshock and imagery providing 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 impressive violence opposed to these considered as un-English.

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Extra resources for Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931

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MP Stanton, a longtime Welsh labour activist, denouncing “all the muck, the rubbish, and the refuse of the Continent and other places” that were “drift[ing] into this country,” identified virtually all aliens as bolshevists and accused them of inciting workers to down tools. “We can well understand why there have been so many strikes and so much trouble and agitation,” he declared. MP R. Carter echoed his charges, claiming that the unrest that at present is prevailing in this country has a very great deal to do, to my mind, with the alien enemy.

23 Barracks became converted to sick rooms overnight, hospitals became so overrun with patients that they had to turn new arrivals away. Nurses and doctors could not handle the unprecedented numbers of cases; undertakers could not fill the orders for caskets that came streaming in nor gravediggers handle the volume requesting their services. The epidemic took on the countenance of Britain’s battlefield enemy. For some, the war was incorporated in their hallucinations stemming from the disease. ” For others, the war served as an obvious metaphor.

It’s all in the books, he adds, offering an explanation for the widespread adoption of the mind in pieces as archetypal interwar subject. Lord Peter himself had been “blown up and buried in a shell-hole” in 1918, returning home with “a bad nervous breakdown, lasting, on and off, for two years. After that, he set himself up in a flat in Piccadilly . . ” He turned to detective work for distraction, but the occupation served rather to exacerbate his mental condition. As his Britons’ Shattered Psyche 27 uncle observed, “Peter’s intellect pulled him one way and his nerves another, till I began to be afraid they would pull him to pieces.

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