War & Literature

The pace and scope of changing technological and social trends can obscure the enduring truth that war remains a human endeavor. The discipline of English Literature examines this truth through the literary and artistic expressions provoked by war, promoting a deeper knowledge of others, of oneself, and of war’s nature.

Dr. Elizabeth Samet’s Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

With kaleidoscopic, trenchant, path-breaking insights, Elizabeth Samet has produced the most ambitious edition of Ulysses Grant’s Memoirs yet published. 133 years after its 1885 publication by Mark Twain, Elizabeth Samet has annotated this lavish edition of Grant’s landmark memoir and expands the Civil War backdrop against which this monumental American life is typically read. No previous edition combines such a sweep of historical and cultural contexts with the literary authority that Dr. Samet, an English professor obsessed with Grant for decades, brings to the table.

Leadership: Essential Writings by our Greatest Thinkers

Dr. Elizabeth Samet edited this anthology to illuminate how literature can build character and foster critical-thinking skills for future leaders in business, law, politics, medicine, and beyond. Samet’s general introduction, “A Crisis of Leadership,” her section introductions, and discussion guides encourage critical thinking and classroom discussion. Samet draws on wide-ranging essays, from Thucydides and Virgil to Herman Melville and George Orwell to Rosanna Warren and Martin Luther King Jr. Click here to view the edited anthology.

Sites of Irony, Sites of Sincerity: Toni Morrison’s Sula in Modern Memory

The memory of the First World War has largely been created by white, middle-class, Wordsworth-quoting officer-poets. Paul Fussell, in his influential book, The Great War and Modern Memory, canonized those interpretations, privileging the view of a privileged few. Yet, in Sula, Toni Morrison complicates this history of the war’s memory by writing the experience of Black veterans returning to unsupported, and even targeted, Black communities. In this study, I examine Sula’s place in the Great War canon, demonstrating how diversity in authorship unveils diversity in experience. For more information, contact CPT Josh Roling at joshua.roling@westpoint.edu.

Literature, Memory, and the First World War

In September, 2014, The Department of English and Philosophy and the Department of History brought together a diverse selection of experts from over fifty institutions and eight nations to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the “war to end all wars.” The initiation of trench warfare in 1914 was not only an impetus for a revolution in military affairs. The effects of the World War and the stalemate in the trenches went well beyond the arts of warfare to spur developments in medicine, psychology, sociology, engineering, literature, and art – to name only a few.

Beauty is the Beginning of Terror

To commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I, Thornwillow Press, in association with cadets and faculty from the United States Military Academy at West Point, is deeply honored to publish a letterpress, hand-bound, limited edition anthology of poems and excerpts by writers who experienced the war from all sides of the conflict. Click here to view the edited anthology.