1914-1918: The Cultural Front

27 March 2014 | by D.J. Taylor


Five months before the anniversary itself, Radio 4’s coverage of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War has begun to explore some of its non-military byways. If the final instalment of Francine Stock’s ­excellent three-parter on artistic and cultural reactions to the conflict (Kandinsky, Khaki and Kisses, 22 March) had a drawback, it lay in some of the juxtapositions hinted at by the title. This was a very large subject, as central to the commissioning policy of the average war-era women’s magazine as to a Vorticist manifesto: how to give both of them their due?What followed, consequently, was a cultural enquiry built on tremendous shifts of emphasis. On the one hand, Stock was interested in the direct popular response, observable in the glut of music-h

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