The early twentieth century is usually remembered as an era of rising nationalism and military hostility, culminating in the disaster of the First World War. Yet it was marked also by a vigorous campaign against war, a movement that called into question the authority of the nation-state. This book explores the role of artists and writers in the formation of a modern, secular peace movement in Britain, and the impact of ideas about “positive peace” on their artistic practice. From Grace Brockington’s meticulous study emerges a rich and interconnected world of Hellenistic dance, symbolist stage design, marionettes, and book illustration, produced in conscious opposition to the values of an increasingly regimented and militaristic society, and radically different from existing narratives of British wartime culture.
Above the Battlefield is written by Grace Brockington, Lecturer in History of Art, University of Bristol.