College of Arts and Sciences
World War I, Hero, Britain, Modernism, Pre-Raphaelite, Tolkien, Art, Literature
Arts and Humanities
Hobson, Madelynn, "The Death of the Knight: The Relationship between British Heroic Art and Literary Tradition to the First World War" (2022). Senior Honors Theses. 1159.
Art and literature are tools that can be used to gauge the mood of a particular time. Paintings, poetry, and other works hold clues which tell popular opinions and ideals of the era. Leading up to World War I, British art and literature defined the heroic figure as one who resembled the chivalrous knight of days gone by. Warriors were to be virtuous and fight for the vulnerable, upholding peace through their God-given quests. During and after the war, however, British art and literature painted the warrior to be a bleak, even disfigured and incomplete, character. The Great War's severity was a shock that drained the romanticism of the hero from the British mind.