Hunt Tooley’s Sabbatical Lecture “From Mametz Wood to 100 Aker Wood: Trenches, Trauma, and the Great War Legacy of Children’s Literature” will take place on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in the Wright Campus Center. A reception will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Gallery, with the lecture following at 5:00 p.m. in Mabee Hall.
We often associate the battle trauma of World War I with the “Lost Generation,” authors and artists who eloquently depicted the dehumanizing nature of the war in the twenties and thirties. But my talk focuses on another set of authors who suffered exactly the same experience in the Great War, the founders of a great deal of modern children’s literature. From A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) to H. A. Rey (Curious George), these authors seem to have taken a very different approach to the “narrativization” of war traumas to build fictional worlds where sympathy, helpfulness, honor, and creativity prevailed. In the talk, I will explore this apparent paradox in part by drawing on modern psychological and literary scholarship devoted to trauma, narrative, memory, and resilience.