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Expert Panel: They Never Spoke About It


2 December 2017 14:00 - 16:00


Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road
Kent BR3 3BX

The familiar sentence, ‘They were in the war, but never spoke about it’, reminds us how often those who served in the First World War as soldiers or nurses were unwilling to share their experience. Three experts who specialise in the language, literature and material culture of war discuss life in the trenches and on the Home Front, social propaganda, popular fiction, the effects of shell shock and the silence engendered by trauma.

Christine Hallett is Professor of Nursing History at the University of Manchester. She is the author of Containing Trauma; Nursing Work in the First World War, Nurse Writers of the First World War, and Veiled Warriors; Allied Nurses of the First World War.

Jane Potter is Senior Lecturer in Publishing, Oxford Brookes University, and the author of a major biography of Wilfred Owen, and Boys in Khaki, Girls in Print, an examination of the role of writing by women during the First World War. She is the co-editor of the Penguin book, Three Poets of the First World War.

Julian Walker is the author of several books on the English Language, including Trench Talk and Words of the First World War, written with Peter Doyle. He is co-ordinator of the ‘Languages and the First World War’ project and his Words and the First World War, a survey of slang, and how people managed communication during the conflict, is published this autumn.

There will be a book signing following the event. Please bring cash or cheque if you wish to purchase a book.