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date: 15 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter explores a varied body of First World War writing—from the poetry of Owen, Rosenberg, and Thomas to the nursing memoirs of Borden and Bagnold, to the short stories of civilian writers such as D. H. Lawrence and Claire Goll—through the trope of the hand. Going back to the Victorian and Decadent obsession with hands, it traces through close investigative readings the wartime lives and intensities of meaning of the hand—as symbol, signifier, archival trace, or sentient flesh—in trenches, hospitals, and private rooms. Testimony, trauma, agency, sexuality, pain, resilience, resistance, vulnerability, violation, and tenderness are ideas that surface in this chapter as it explores how our selves are made and unmade through the most intimate and communicative of body parts.

Keywords: First World War, testimony, sexuality, trauma, Wilfred Owen, D. H. Lawrence, nursing

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