Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931 by Susan Kingsley Kent

By Susan Kingsley Kent

This publication examines the impression of collective trauma coming up out of the good warfare at the politics of the Nineteen Twenties in Britain. Aftershocks experiences how meanings of shellshock and imagery featuring the traumatized psyche as shattered contributed to Britons understandings in their political selves within the Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed outstanding violence opposed to these considered as un-English.

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The sexual disruption these women represented produced acute anxiety in the postwar years. The new electorate, comprised of newly emancipated women and, seemingly, of frightening, angry, out of work demobilized soldiers, alarmed a good part of society. Conservatives, for whom property qualifications had served as guarantors of political responsibility, recognized that their traditional strategies would not survive the postwar political world of a mass electorate, necessitating the cultivation of a more broadly based constituency.

Pronounced fatigue, lassitude, depression, sleeplessness, hallucinations, emotional lability, and even dissociation accompanied the physical debilitation of the disease. Dr G. ” They cited a study that asserted that influenza, “of all the infectious diseases . . ” The Lancet declared in December 1918 that “the ‘higher centres’ [of the nervous system] suffer chiefly. ”26 Ivy Compton-Burnett came down with the flu in the summer of 1918 and was discovered by mere chance lying unconscious on the floor of her flat.

Possessed of and by a shattered psyche and lacking control over both his bodily and mental capacities, the postwar masculine archetype, whose attributes should be extended to include women, was reflected in Lacan’s conception of the true self as an irretrievable, inaccessible other. Where Freud posited that subjects attain a unified, if fraught, identity through the process of oedipal conflict, Lacan’s theory of how the individual arrives at a sense of selfhood involved the 28 Aftershocks infant perceiving himself [sic] in a mirror.

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