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Grant number: FA-233025-16

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FA-233025-16

Elizabeth Outka
University of Richmond (Richmond, VA 23173-0001)

Raising the Dead: War, Plague, Magic, Modernism

A book-length study of the literary response to the flu pandemic of 1918-1919.

*Raising the Dead* investigates a modernist mystery: why does the 1918-19 flu pandemic, which killed as many as 100 million people (far more than WWI), seem to make so few appearances in British and American literature of the period? My project explores how the flu became a shadow trauma to the war, amplifying the horror of that conflict, infusing its way into the mourning and the literature of the post-war period, and yet also changing the calculus of risk and blame between the home front and the front line. I recover how the war and the flu together fueled an obsession with the resurrection of the material (and not just the spiritual) body. As corpses flooded the world, writers, filmmakers, religious leaders, spiritualists, and magicians began to believe in or imagine ways the body might return. Recovering the flu’s role in this obsession shifts our understanding of the interwar period and demands a rereading modernist texts as familiar as *The Waste Land* and *Mrs. Dalloway.*

Project fields:
American Literature; British Literature; Cultural History

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 6/30/2017