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World War I in American Fiction

An Anthology of Short Stories

Literature & Literary Criticism


DescriptionOvershadowed by the so-called Good War that followed, the Great War—the First World War—captured the imagination of American writers both while the conflict was underway and during the decades that followed. As these authors struggled and, at times, fought with one another to define the war’s elusive meaning, they produced a body of short fiction astonishing in its range of styles and themes.

Some of the richest of these short stories, originally published in long-forgotten magazines and books, have remained lost—until now. The first collection of its kind, World War I in American Fiction brings together 26 stories to present a fuller picture of the war’s immediate impact on American culture and its subsequent, deeply contested memory. The volume features canonical authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Katherine Anne Porter, and Edith Wharton alongside writers who deserve a wider readership, such as Thomas Boyd, Kay Boyle, Claude McKay, and Laurence Stallings. The stories highlight the lingering effects of the war on veterans, women, and African Americans, and they take the reader from the contested skies over the Western Front to the influenza-ravaged American home front. An extensive introduction places the stories in their historical and literary  context.

Published in the centennial year of the war’s outbreak and designed to serve as an invaluable resource for students and teachers alike, World War I in American Fiction opens a new window on the conflict that remade America and the world.

EditorsScott D. Emmert is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin–Fox Valley. He is the coeditor (with Michael Cocchiarale) of Upon Further Review: Sports in American Literature and Critical Insights: American Sports Fiction and is the author of Loaded Fictions: Social Critique in the Twentieth-Century Western.

Steven Trout is a professor and chair of the Department of English at the University of South Alabama. His scholarship on the First World War in American literature and culture includes On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919–1941, American Prose Writers of World War I: A Documentary Volume, and Memorial Fictions: Willa Cather and the First World War. Trout is coeditor of War + Ink: New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and Writings (The Kent State University Press, 2013).