Anzac, Literary Genre and Memory


Because of their textual brevity, poems and short stories can be written (and sometimes published) closer in time to the events which prompted them than the novel; and they often achieve first publication in some form of journalism (newspaper, magazine--or more recently, radio or television) rather than as a book. The First World War was a more exclusively 'literary' war than those which have followed and the prose sketch or short prose narrative (often accompanied by line drawings) had a special role in the building of images or myths of this war in its various theatres of operation. It would be mistaken to consider all such publications ephemeral, though their histories are chequered. Literary texts about war seldom offer a direct transcription of experience, however much they may imply that they do. Often, consciously or unconsciously, authors shape material according to generic conventions, ranging from the solemn art of the elegiac poem to the boys' adventure story or the romance novel.

The full text of this essay is available to ALS subscribers

Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.

Published 1 October 1996 in Volume 17 No. 4. Subjects: Australian war literature, War literature, World War I.

Cite as: Bennett, Bruce. ‘Anzac, Literary Genre and Memory.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 17, no. 4, 1996, doi: 10.20314/als.fa8917b734.