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Bodies of war: disabilities and heroism in the First World War

Atkin, Rhian 2018. Bodies of war: disabilities and heroism in the First World War. Journal of Lusophone Studies 3 (1) , pp. 11-34. 10.21471/jls.v3i1.207

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In the present article, I analyze discourses of masculinity and the male body associated with Portugal’s involvement in World War I. I examine these from three perspectives: the national military body; medical and political discussion of disabled bodies; and soldiers’ stories about their own experiences. I draw on the popular press, published memoirs, and government and institutional documents to examine the fluid and shifting accounts of masculinity, disability, and heroism during and just after the war. I argue that representations of heroism in this context are directly linked to the male body; furthermore, they are both variable and constructed to serve specific ideological or personal purposes. More broadly, I conclude that the body in war and disabled by war comes to stand for Portugal’s experiences as a nation at the Western Front, and in the process makes invisible the individual bodies of men who fought for their country.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Publisher: American Portuguese Studies Association (APSA)
ISSN: 2469-4800
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 August 2019
Date of Acceptance: 30 May 2018
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 15:15

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