On Thursday 30th March, Emma Butcher (Hull) will be talking to us on ‘Children Writing War in the Nineteenth Century’. Refreshments will be served at 5pm, with the paper to start at quarter past. We are in room MB3202 (Minevra Building).



Please find Emma’s abstract below:

The focus on children and war throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century is integral to our understanding of war’s brutalities and its wider cultural impact. Currently, the media’s fixation on suffering children in the wake of the recent Syria crisis is central to our engagement with military issues that may not have otherwise affected the British public. Going back, the most famous child writer of the twentieth century, Anne Frank, still remains a significant example of how the world can conceptualise the horrors of war through one child’s voice.

This paper will expand the field of ‘children and war’ by focusing on the child writer and reader in the long nineteenth century. A number of British literature’s most famous Victorian writers, such as the Brontës and George Eliot, wrote war literature in their childhood. They consumed periodicals, recorded information and invented stories that sought to process military events of the contemporary age, which ranged from the Napoleonic Wars up until the Boer War. By introducing the stories, letters and diaries of children, I will seek to introduce the child’s perspective as an important alternative history of war.Biography

Emma Butcher is an AHRC-funded Ph.D researcher at the University of Hull, working on the The Brontës and war. She is one of the BBC’s ‘Next Generation Thinkers’. In 2015, she co-curated a major exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage. She has written for The Guardian and also appeared in the BBC2 documentary Being the Brontës.