The Hero and the Victim: Narratives of Criminality in Iraq War Fiction
289 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 15, 2020
"The Hero and the Victim: Narratives of Criminality in Iraq War Fiction" analyzes several works of literary fiction, and one popular memoir, by American authors about the U.S. military experience in the Iraq War from 2003 to 2011. In contrast to the emphasis of most ancient war literature on the figure of the warrior-as-hero, and the growing modern emphasis on the figure of the soldier-as-victim, Iraq War fiction reflects the troubled emergence of a new narrative template for war literature: the story of the ordinary soldier as a wrongdoer or even criminal. Iraq War fiction is haunted by depictions of moral injury and expressions of unresolved guilt. The dissertation argues that the emphasis on criminality in Iraq War fiction can be partly explained by the rise of moral cosmopolitanism and its blurring of the traditional conceptual lines between war and crime.
Keywords: Hero, Victim, War, Crime, Cosmopolitanism, Iraq War, Iraq War Literature, Vietnam War Literature, War Literature, International Humanitarian Law, Helen Benedict, Chris Kyle, Kevin Powers, Phil Klay, Roy Scranton, Nico Walker, Charles Taylor
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