Facially wounded servicemen were perhaps the ultimate victims of the First World War. They became walking reminders of the conflict and their experiences reveal the impact of the war not only on the combatants but also on European societies at large. This book explores for the first time the individual and collective significance of facially disfigured First World War combatants in France, Germany and Great Britain. The analysis undertaken in this book uncovers how the wounded perceived and presented themselves and how they were perceived and represented by others. Artistic and literary representations are considered, along with initiatives carried out by hospitals, the government and the combatants’ fellow countrymen. With an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, this study illuminates our understanding of how the combatant and the onlooker made sense of the experience and the memory of the war. ; This book explores for the first time the individual and collective significance of First World War facially disfigured combatants, with a special focus on France, Germany and Great Britain. It illuminates our understanding of how the combatant and the onlooker made sense of the experience and the memory of the war. ; Contents: Gueules Cassées: The Face of War – The Soldiers’ Journey: From the Front to Civilian Life – Hospitals as Transitional Spaces – Facing the World: Economic and Social Reintegration – Shaping a Collective Identity – The Faces of War: Visual Representations of Facially Injured Soldiers – Describing the ‘Unspeakable’? Gueules Cassées in Literature.
«These "broken-faced" veterans [...] have remained relatively overlooked despite the enormous body of scholarly and popular works on the First World War, even amid the current intensification of interest around the war' s centenary. [...] Marjorie Gehrhardt has redressed this imbalance with The Men with Broken Faces, the first serious historical study of gueules cassees in Britain, France and Germany, a book which lies at the intersection of medical , social and cultural history.»
(Paul Lerner, Times Literary Supplement, July 2016)
«Analysis, information and reflections such as these make Gehrhardt’s book extremely valuable [...]»
(Leo van Bergen, Medicine, Conflict and Survival 2016)
«The interdisciplinary and transnational scope of [the author’s] research deserves special attention. If not an easy reading, it is a fascinating one, interesting for historians as well as cultural and literary scholars.»
(Anna Branach-Kallas, Anglica 25/1 2016)
Marjorie Gehrhardt is Lecturer in French Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading. She completed her PhD in French Studies at the University of Exeter in 2014 and subsequently worked as a researcher on the EU-funded project 1914FACES2014. Her research focuses on war and its representations in twentieth-century Western Europe, with a particular interest in the reintegration of veterans and the role of charities in wartime.