The missing of the Somme

Geoff Dyer

Book - 2011

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Subjects
Published
New York : Vintage Books 2011, c1994.
Language
English
Item Description
Originally published: London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994.
Physical Description
xiii, 157 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. 147-151) and index.
ISBN
9780307742971
0307742970
Main Author
Geoff Dyer (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Noted for his sharp criticism (Out of Sheer Rage was a National Book Critics Circle finalist) and inventive fiction (e.g., Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi), the London-based Dyer wrote this reflection on World War I in 1994, but it has never been published here. Not your standard history, it's "about mourning and memory, about how the Great War has been represented," said the Guardian—and it will appeal to readers interested in looking beyond the facts to the meaning and consequences of war in general. [Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

This instant classic—first published in 1994 and now available in the U.S.—by acclaimed British author Dyer (Otherwise Known as the Human Condition) presents an extended "meditation" on the Great War's contemporary and historical meanings. Dyer was one of the first to interpret war in the context of the quest for "memory and meaning" made familiar by Jay Winter and David Gregory. For the British, "the war helped to preserve the past even as it destroyed it," and provided a caesura between a stable past and an uncertain future. Dyer supports his point with an impressive survey of poems, letters, memoirs, and novels, combined with a perceptive analysis of British war memorials, and utilizing extensive citations. He concludes with an elegiac description of a peaceful, isolated Somme battlefield: "where terrible violence has taken place the earth will sometimes generate an equal and opposite sense of peace." Ironically, Dyer's contribution to making the Great War part of the Matter of Britain also helped transform the Somme into a center of tourism and pilgrimage, vulgar but vital. (July) [Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A U.S. release of a classic memoir by the author of Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It weighs the significance of World War I as it is reflected in memories, works of art, cemeteries and traditions that illuminate humanity's understanding of and relationship to the conflict. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Weighs the significance of World War I as it is reflected in memories, works of art, cemeteries, and traditions that illuminate humanity's understanding of and relationship to the conflict.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The Missing of the Somme is part travelogue, part meditation on remembrance—and completely, unabashedly, unlike any other book about the First World War. Through visits to battlefields and memorials, Geoff Dyer examines the way that photographs and film, poetry and prose determined—sometimes in advance of the events described—the way we would think about and remember the war. With his characteristic originality and insight, Dyer untangles and reconstructs the network of myth and memory that illuminates our understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The Missing of the Somme is part travelogue, part meditation on remembrance—and completely, unabashedly, unlike any other book about the First World War. Through visits to battlefields and memorials, Geoff Dyer examines the way that photographs and film, poetry and prose determined—sometimes in advance of the events described—the way we would think about and remember the war. With his characteristic originality and insight, Dyer untangles and reconstructs the network of myth and memory that illuminates our understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War.