The purpose of Literary Themes for Students: War and Peace (LTSWP) is to provide readers with an overview of literary works that explore a specific theme. Poetry, plays, short stories, novels, and nonfiction that addresses the theme in some capacity is analyzed, and the reader discovers how that theme has been treated in literature across time and culture. Literary Themes for Students: War and Peace include "classic" war literature often used in the classroom curriculum, as well as more contemporary accounts of war and peace and works by minority, international, and female writers.
These volumes begin with three overview essays that introduce the theme of war and peace in literature, dividing it by geography and culture into American literature, British literature, and world literature. These essays are followed by nine sub-essays, which break these themes down further into subthemes that reflect recurring ideas in the literature of war and peace. Sub-essays examine particular titles that exemplify the subthemes and track how that subtheme has developed over time.
Each work is treated in a separate entry. These entries include an introduction to the work and the work's author; a plot summary, to help readers understand the action and story of the work; an analysis of themes that relate to the subjects of war and peace, to provide readers with a multifaceted look at the complexity of war literature; and a section on important historical and cultural events that shaped the author and the work, as well as events that affect the plot or characters in the work.
Additionally, readers are presented with a critical overview discussing how the work was initially received by critics and how the work is presently viewed. Accompanying the critical overview is an excerpt from a previously published critical essay discussing the work's relation to the theme of war and peace. For further analysis and enjoyment, an extended list of media adaptations is also included, as well as a list of poems, short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction that further address the theme of war and peace, and allow students to continue their study of this theme.
Each chapter focuses on the ways that an entry relates to the theme of war and peace. Each entry heading includes the author's name, the title of the work being discussed, and the year it was published. The following sections are included in the discussion of each entry:
In addition, each entry includes the following sidebars, set apart from the rest of the text:
Each entry may have several illustrations, including photos of the author, depictions of key elements of the plot, stills from film adaptations, and/or historical photos of the war or battle discussed in the entry.
Nine sub-essays discuss various subthemes of war and peace literature: heroes and leaders, violence and brutality, women and war, survival, terrorism, oppression and genocide, utopia and utopian ideals, revolution and revolt, and antiwar protest. Each sub-essay addresses approximately a dozen works that deal directly with the subtheme, and discusses how treatment of that theme has changed over time.
A Media Adaptation list compiles nearly one hundred films, plays, television series, and other media that deal with the subjects of war and peace. The adaptations are organized by subtheme for easy access.
September 13, 2010