Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Dramatic Representation of Trench Space as an ‘Experiential Ruin’ in R.C. Sherriff’s Journey’s End and Sean O’Casey’s The Silver Tassie

Jonathan Patterson

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2018.31.05

Abstract

Physical forms of ruin and psychological forms of ruination is an area within spatial theory that will enhance literary studies, especially literature of the First World War. The literary representation of the trench as a ruined space is a predominant feature of literature that emerges from the Great War. Among the different genres, it is drama that is ideally poised to offer a critique of the way both physical and psychological ruin can be depicted on the stage. Both R.C. Sherriff’s Journey’s End and Sean O’Casey’s The Silver Tassie consciously depict trench space as a site of embodied trauma for soldiers who experienced trench warfare and, consequently, trench space functions as an ‘experiential ruin.’ This ‘embodied exchange’ emphasizes the relationship between the battlefield (or cite of trauma) and the actual war-related trauma itself. Both Sherriff and O’Casey have created plays that show the decaying landscape and decaying psyche as inseparable victims to the devastation of the First World War.

Keywords

Spatial theory; ruins; embodiment; ecology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2018.31.05

Copyright (c) 2018 Jonathan Patterson

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