Cupio Dissolvi



This chapter examines debilitating, incurable wounds haunting figures in Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House (1919), Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies (1930), and Harold Acton’s Peonies and Ponies (1941). Each of these texts is profoundly animated by the losses of war but curiously and consistently avoids acknowledging war at all until the very final moments. The primary focus of this analysis is the disconcerting demonstration made by these texts that life was permanently unsettled, and that primordial cycles of growth, reproduction, and newness were completed shattered. At the centre of Shaw’s, Waugh’s, and Acton’s works are figures who have been cut off from the life force and are hoping for redemption before the world is transformed once more.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SurreyGuildfordUK

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