Literature. “Humanistic Tradition” by Gloria Fiero


The book ‘Humanistic Tradition’ written by Gloria Fiero, discloses the development of literature world under the influence of World War I pressure; the author managed to illustrate the changing nature of the epoch reflected through the poems and fiction of the period. The analysis of the principal works of the period provides a vivid picture of war period atmosphere through the key elements centralized in the literature. The book investigates the peculiarities of World War basic themes highlighted by its authors, allowing feeling the pressure and impact of time events on the concepts of writings. The period of World War was reflected in the literary works through the language, style, concepts and manner of presentation based on personal experience disclosed by poets and novelists of that time, who strived to highlight the themes of Western civilization, patriotism, idealism and cultural transformations.

World War I Literature

The epoch of World War I appeared to be an influential step in the sphere of literature; the authors managed to be influenced by its shaping power being reflected in the life of 20th century. It is necessary to underline the fact that the poets tried to demonstrate the symbolism of war events through their works; they highlighted was as the symbolism of dying Western civilization. For example, T. Eliot, the author of the poem ‘The Waste Land’, 1922, managed to represent classical requiem for sterile and dry culture.

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers… (Fiero, 2002)

The violence and cruelty of war events were brightly illustrated in ‘The Second Coming’ written by William Butler Yeats. It is necessary to underline the fact that the author underlined the interaction of war and religious themes showing the Jesus’ second coming to the force of darkness world. The poem underlines the atmosphere and mood in Ireland symbolizing the consequences of war struggles.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle… (Fiero, 2002)

The period of World War I appeared to provide an inspiration to the development of fiction literature. One of the brightest figures of that time can be considered Ernest Hemingway, who managed to immortalize the Italian Allied offence through the novel ‘A Farewell to Arms’. It should be stressed that the author illustrated the desperate hope to the end of all wars put by the events of World War I; he focused on the study of disillusionment and armed combat futility testament. The analysis of Hemingway’s works gives an opportunity to feel his experience in war involvement through the described emotional and physical courage.

The authors of that period characterize the changing nature of was period being reflected through basic themes of its literature. Te novelists and poets tried to transform their usual themes into war symbolism being under the pressure of war changing nature. War fiction and novels disclose such themes as idealism, loss of innocence and patriotism; natural world destruction and combat shock are the central issues of many authors of post war period. Erich Maria Remarque is the author of the book ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’; this work is considered to be one of the greatest war novels disclosing brutal reality caused by poison gas and trench warfare.

Mist and the smoke of guns lie breast-high over the fields. (Fiero, 2002)

The examples of works analyzed above, demonstrate the shaping function of the World War I period which influenced the themes and style of writing of many authors of that time. It is necessary to underline the fact that the war left a print not only on the themes highlighted in the books, but also on the language style used by the authors. Thus, manufactured words were used to demonstrate the remarkable power obtained by warriors; special language was shown to underline the ideals, thoughts, actions and moods of the period.

Basic element of the World War I literature was considered to be Western culture; the works of that time reflected war itself and battles of Western Europe. It should be noted that the authors used a number of metaphorical illustrations of daily war horrors. The battles described in the poems and novels were aimed at underlining war experience received during the war events. For example, Margaret Cole managed to reflect the young soldier’s personal loss in the poem ‘The Veteran’; the author managed to show the influence of war events and experience on the physical state of the soldier. The literature of the World War I was formed under the pressure of social and cultural changes throughout the world.


The analysis of the war literature development on the basis of the book ‘Humanistic Tradition’ by Gloria Fiero gave an opportunity to evaluate the shaping role of the period. It should be stressed that the basic themes disclosed in the poems and novels of the time were impacted by personal experience of their authors. The book managed to show the works of the most prominent authors of the World War I period stressing the change of style, language and manner of writing under the time pressure. The literature world forms in accordance with social norms and standards development; so, the period of war, its dark and rude atmosphere left a print on the lives of million people and literature works they created and read.


Fiero, G. K. The Humanistic Tradition, Book 6: Modernism, Globalism, and the Information Age. McGraw-Hill Humanities. 2002.

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