pared in the end to be defeated and brokennup by life, which is the inevitable pricenof fastening one’s love upon other individuals.”nThis, as Samuel Hynes hasnpointed out, is a good description of whatnOrwell himself did as a member of welteringnhumanity and not as a saint, whichnhe was not.nAt the same time this remarkable passagenreveals why George Orwell, like E.B.nWhite, was always the member of a partynof one who lived in a time of fear butnwho was not too cowed to speak out.nFor that unfaltering courage we owe himna continuing and unpayable debt, butnMichael Shelden has made a handsomenpayment toward that account.nGeorge Core is editor of the SewaneenReview.nA Myth Imaginednby Frank BrownlownA War Imagined: The First WorldnWar and English Culturenhy Samuel HynesnNew York: Atheneum; 514 pp., $29.95nHow quickly living tradition turnsninto history. The Great War ofn1914-18.has almost entirely receded fromnmemory. Very few of that generationnare alive to tell their stories, and as forntheir children, they have their own war,nthe Second World War, to occupy andnpuzzle their memories. In the mindsnof the young people of our own day thentwo wars merge into one vaguely apprehendednrumor of violence.nNo doubt this is why, about twentynyears ago, the First World War begannto be a subject for historians and critics.nThe battlefields of the Western Frontnproved to be rich fields for scholarship.nAs a result, there is no shortage of information,nopinion, and interpretationnof that war, but it is almost entirely bookderived.nThe complexities of experiencednmemory have given place to thenrather simple conventions of the researchernand writer.nSamuel Hynes’ A War Imagined is ancultural history of England during the warnof 1914-18 and the years immediately afternit. The focus is chiefly upon literature,nwith some attention to painting, drawing,nsculpture, and cinema, and even a littlento music. The range of material coverednis wide. For instance, comment upon thenpopular writers John Buchan, DornfordnYates, “Sapper,” and Warwick Deepingnprovides a surprising context for a referencento Lady Chatterley’s Lover, followednin turn by a discussion of-the state ofnwomen’s rights after the war. A book sonencyclopedically compiled is bound to includenfamiliar material, but it is equallynsure to include things that will be interestingnas well as new for almost everyone.nTo give a few examples from my ownnreading of the book, I had not knownnthat G.R. Nevinson was so powerfulna draftsman, or that Sir William Orpennhad such a strong vein of satire in him. Innow want to see more of Orpen’s pictures,nand to read his memoirs as well. Hynesnhas also made me curious about the warnmemoirs of Golonel Repington. To judgenfrom the quotations, he was an interestingnman as well as a very good writer.nAnd then there are the piquant detailsnthat any book as fat as this .shouldnsupply: I am delighted to learn thatnIVIalcolm Sargent, a notorious womanizer,nshould have conducted the BritishnWomen’s Symphony Orchestra.nHynes’s book is not all fun and discovery,nhowever. There is a thesis organizingnits materials and directing its narrativenof the war’s influence on Englishnculture. It is a familiar, even a conventionalnone:nA generation of innocent youngnmen, their heads full of high abstractionsnlike Honour, Glory, andnEngland, went off to war to makenthe world safe for democracy.nThey were slaughtered in stupidnbattles planned by stupid generals.nThose who survived werenshocked, disillusioned, and embitterednby their war experiences,nand saw that their real enemiesnwere not the Germans, but thenold men at home who had lied tonthem. They rejected the values ofnthe society that had sent them tonwar, and in doing so separatedntheir own generation from thenpast and from their cultural inheritance.nHynes repeatedly describes this thesisnas a myth, a word which suggests that henmight not think it tme, but he hedges byndefining myth as “not a falsification of reality,nbut an imaginative version of it.” Fornall that, his use of the thesis suggestsnthat he believes it. He continually repeatsnthe idea that the war caused “a gap inntime,” a “radical discontinuity” with thenpast, which he finds exemplified by all thenmajor work of the period, and much ofnthe minor. For instance, he praises Pound’sn”Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” and the “HellnGantos” of 1925 very highly, the firstnas an elegy for a dead civilization, the secondnas an Inferno representing postwarnEngland. He believes that Pound finallyntook the war seriously because, “It confirmednthe corruption of English culture.”nIn these and other passages onendetects a note of agreement betweennHynes and his authors. When he writes,n”Hell was England-after-war—the ruinnthat Masterman saw, that Montague saw,nthat Lawrence saw, and that they all hated,”nit is apparent that, at least for thentime being and for the purpose of writingnhis book, he agrees with them.nLIBERAL ARTS-n— ~J^ 1r^nPRISONS AND AIDSnAn Indiana prison inmate filed a lawsuit that would “forcenthe state to provide prisoners with condoms,” the ChicagonTribune reported last February. Arthur Squires, a convictednburglar and sex offender, fears the effect “a high rate ofnhomosexual activity” will have on the spread of AIDS.nA spokesman for Westville prison said providing condomsnwould contradict existing policy that prohibits “the type ofnactivity that spreads the AIDS virus.”nnnJUNE 1992/39n