Archives, Paratexts and Life Writing in the First World War
Hannah Tweed’s chapter, ‘Archives, Paratexts and Life Writing in the First World War’, focuses on critically neglected female nurse-writers from the First World War, and their implicit audiences. Concentrating on Canadian diarists Alice Lighthall and Claire Gass, Tweed suggests that the epitext and peritext were central to the diarists’ writing process and are subsequently key to reader engagement with these narratives. Tweed argues that the paratext of these diaries demonstrates the contemporary archiving and historiography of the authors’ experience, and supports their claims to authoritative writing—as military historians, medical practitioners, and as women operating within male-dominated environments. She presents Gass and Lighthall as self-conscious archivists, evident in the form, function, and interaction of the paratextual detail within their diaries.
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