Literary Precedents for The Return of the Soldier

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Certainly West's theme of man returning from war has many antecedents. From Homer's The Iliad (1050-850 B.C.) and The Odyssey (1050-850 B.C.), to the Bible, to Shakespeare's history plays, this theme has been explored in depth. And this theme continues to fascinate writers, perhaps because of its application to Americans' recent experiences in the Vietnam War. But West's novel was one of the first to deal with the effects of the First World War. Published in 1918, the novel appeared just as the war was ending and was fresh in mind. Perhaps it is fair to say that West's novel set precedent; for many novels, such as John Dos Passos's Three Soldiers (1921), Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (1926), and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (1925), would be concerned with West's theme.

Yet what lies behind West's novel is the influence of Henry James. West's prose at...

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This section contains 216 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy The Return of the Soldier Short Guide
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The Return of the Soldier from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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