A Stout Heart Crushes Ill Luck Materialism British

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��[CONCEPT, Vol. XXXVI (2013)]2012 Graduate Research Prize Essay“A Stout HearCrushes IllLuck?”: Materialism, British Masculinity, The Western Front, and the Changing Meaning of Luck in the Latenineteenth and Earlytwentieth CenturyWilliam L. GayHistoryIn 1854, Samuel Smiles wrote of luck

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�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;produced the seminal work othe culturalmemory of the war, The Great War and Modern MemoryDespite featuring a title that would seem to betray a transnational approach, Fussell concentrated solely upon the British war experienceWhile Fussell addressedthe memoryof the war, he omits a deep critical analysis of superstition in the trenches. While Fussell asserted that the intellectual world of the trenches was “a plethora of very unmodern superstitions, talismans, wonders, miracles, relics, legends, and rumors,he failed to pursue a deeper analysis.While Fussell primarily looks back to the war as a cultural watershed, destroying the tradition of the nineteenth century and beginning a new cultural paradigm, other historians saw the war as possessing explicit cultural continuities. In Sites of Memory, Sites of MourningJay Winters assertsthat the cultural change seen throughout the war had finite continuities,and methods of mourning and remembranceespeciallythat werepossessed of deepeated cultural practice. While Winterdid not analyze superstition, it is within the framework of nuanced cultural change both preceding, during, and following the warthat luck must be consideredOnly anthropologists addressed superstition inwar. In Landscapes of the Western FrontBritish anthropologist Ross J. Wilson provided a briefdiscussionof British soldiers and luck. According to Wilson,soldiers subscribed to notions of a metaphysical, nonreligious belief system on the battlefieldFightingmen recognized an interrelationship between “risk and luck, qualities which the soldiers would recognizeas paramount in their lives at the front.”However, soldiers’interpretation of luckseemed tobe drawn from the war itself. To Wilson, belief in luck had no cultural forerunners but was treated as an isolated development in the war.Wilson, like those before him, failed to provide a cultural context to demonstrate the evolution of these paramount qualities.This examination will go beyond the limited discussions provided by historians, literary critics, and material anthropologists by exploring the cultural and intellectual currents under whichluck changed from the midnineteenth through the First World War into the twentieth centuryIn this process, this study delineates a nuanced understanding of luck much different from the fatalism or dismissal found in other academic works. Luck, as with superstition, was not a product of the First World WarRather, luck in wartime fit a larger narrative of change in superstition, science, and masculinity.Sources for the three major discussions contained herein drawupon a wide range of sources. The firssectionevaluating luckin the nineteenth and earlytwentieth century, relies on popular literature, encyclopedias, and circulating magazinesto illustrate a cognizant reorganization of luck from an occult force to a personally controlled attribute. Thesecond section, considering luck during the war, relies primarily upon collections of letters written during the war, personal

Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), 115Paul Fussell, Great War and Modern Memory, 115.Jay Winters, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 1Ross J. Wilson, Landscapes of the Western Front: Materiality during the Great War(New York: Routledge, 2012).Wilson, Landscapes of the Western Front, 160
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;journals, and personal memoirswritten between 1919 and 1921before the acute pessimism of the warpervaded most soldiers’ publicationslthough many were publisheddecades after their authors’ deaths. The third section considers postwar memoirs, documentary fiction, and popular literature after the war in an attempt to chart the discontinuities and continuities of wartime derstandings of luck through midcentury.As the frontline experience was particularly masculine, this study follows the conception of luck formulated through masculinity.Masculinity, particularly middle class masculinity as will be shown, directly inflenced the formulation of luck. This argument will therefore follow middle class men, as these individuals experienced a particularly traumatic and wellrecorded change in the meanings of luck.It is now possible to return to Napier’s definition of superstitionAs a scientist, Napier subscribed to scientific reductionism and scientific materialism, ideologies rising to prominencein the wakeof the revolutions of 1848An alternative to the emotional, new humanism of the 1830s and 1840s, science offered the promise of an objective view of the worldScience could provide the explanation not just for the natural order of things, but for the basis of society built upon and existing in the natural world. This ethos directedintellectuals to focus their inquiry on the stuff of things, the matter of the universe, and to reduce phenomena into their material componentsThe success of biological and physical sciences in explaining the world prompted the study of society in scientific termsAnthropology,sociology, and psychology, all of which rose to prominence the end of the nineteenth century viewedluck, as a subsidiary component of superstition, as antiquatedBy producinga large number of studies of superstition or folk lore, cial scientists undermined oldconceptionof luck and endorsed new interpretations.uperstition predominantly remained only in festival, literature, andphilosophy.10James Napier embodied the union of science and societyHis study of Scottish superstition in Folk Lore, or Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland within This Century, channeled popularintellectual fashions by cataloging superstitions either contemporaneously practiced by the rural or newlyurban poor, or those rituals practiced within living memoryWhile Napier denies a modern significance to superstition, he is quick to point out that the current age is the last opportunity in which the old, agrarian beliefs of the previous generations could be captured. Napier wrote, “Among the better educated classes it may be said much of the superstitions of former times have passed away, and as education is extended they will more and more become eradicated.”11Through education, scienceeliminated unfounded superstition by providing new

This is not to say that women had no part in the reformulation of luck. Indeed, most major changes in masculinity result from shifts in femininity. J.W. Burrows, The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 18481914(New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,2000), 4James Napier, Folk Lore, or Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland within this Century(Paisley: Alex Gardener, 1879), vi.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;causationo longer did luck dictate the outcome of events.Similar examinationof superstition and folklore followedNapier’s workIn 1895, English author and economist William Hurrell Maddock published Studies of Contemporary Superstition12Maddock criticized uperstitionobservingthatthe rejection of rational scientific or social scientific evidence was simply ignorantScience provided the ultimateanswer, and superstition simply led weak minds astray.13Between 1888 and 1903, Cora Linn Danielsfellow of the Royal Artistic Society, and C.M. Stevans, and a professor of psychology respectively, catalogued the extant superstitions of the United States and United Kingdom inThe Encyclopedia of Superstition, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences14Over a similar period, British lawyer William Carew Hazlitt published his own individual study, Faiths and Folklore: A DictionaryHazlitt treated superstition as rural relics, and archaic inventions now superseded by modern explanation.15Across all collections, the message was simple. Superstitionand luck with itwere deemed outmoded methods of explaining the world.solatingluck apart from superstitionwasa difficult endeavorAmerican education specialist Fletcher Bascom Dresslar captured the conclusions of previous studies concisely in “Superstition and Education.Using the example of bad luck, Dresslar stated that:Even in cases where natural loss would follow an act, or any combination of events, the term “bad luck” is not used synonymously with loss but some occult additional punishment or providence is includedFor example, “It is bad luck to lose a glove.Now no one would deny that it is bad luck to lose a glove, when bad luck and loss are synonymous termsBut bad luck here means moreIt portends some external force acting against the loser16Dresslar demonstrated the sharp divisionbetween the luck of folklore and superstition and luck of anew, scientific ageIn contemporary usage, luck was often associated with chance, convenience,or inconvenience, but folkloreand superstition indicated good or bad luck as abnormal reward or punishment resulting from one particular actionThus while inconveniences or tragedies might be labeled as bad luck in passing,true luck was unsolicitedreward or punishment for seemingly innocuous events.y cataloguing, analysis, and reduction of the unknown into starkly scientific terms, ocial scientists dismantled the old concept of luck. Through increasing economic opportunity, changingmasculine identities, and free education, luck becamean actiondriven conceptWhile

William Hurrell Maddock, Studies of Contemporary Superstition(London: Ward & Downey Limited, 1895).Maddock, Contemporary Superstition, iiiCora Linn Daniels and C.M. Stevans, The Encyclopedia of Superstition, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences: A Comprehensive Library of Human Belief and Practices in the Mysteries of Life(Chicago: J.H. Yewdale & Sons, 1903).William Carew Hazlitt, Faith and Folklores: A Dictionary(London: Reeves & Turner, 1905). Hazlitt would later collect popular proverbs in use in the British Isles.Fletcher Bascom Dresslar, “Superstition and Education,Education5, no. 1 (July 15, 1907): 161.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;individuals previously coaxed mysterious external powers for aid,eformulation eventually placed agency solelywith the individual, and dismissed the existence of innate, metahysical, and metareligious power.asculinity was integral in the creation of a new luck. Victorian and Edwardian society demanded specific beliefs and behavior from men.However,these demands mutated considerably as the century progressedAt midcentury, en expected to be caretakers of the familyand controllers of the householdCultural practice demanded they protect and provide for the familyMen could guarantee protection physically, by literally defending the family from harm, but more likely, it would be the maintenance of innocence in female and young male members of the familyMen exerted control by limiting the corrupting influences in the home and by doing so, claimed illicit subjects such as sex, politics, and business to be theirs aloneThis was an exercise in control, as well as a reinforcement of prerogative17Wealth made the male role easierBy moving their families into wealthier neighborhoods, particularly away from the slums, middleclass men marginalized the distastefuinfluence of the lower and working class. ealthconsequentlybecame theprimary determinate of man.18As John Tosh wrote, “The distinction of status and wealth to be found in the middle class were greater than either in the lower class upper class.”19By controllinga wellfunded and wellrunhousehold, men fulfilled their selfdeclared role asprotectorproviderWealth allowed men to represent the family in a positive manner outside the home and protect the family from perceived harmand,at the sae timecontrolthe actions of those within the houshold20In demanding menprovide and accumulate wealth, British masculinity formed a cult of actionBeing manly meant proactive and aggressive pursuit of goals, including advancement in profession and societyTo Victorian and Edwardian society, men had to control their environment even outside the homeBending circumstance toone’s advantage was an essential mark of manliness21Writing in 1913 for the Rotarian, the official magazine of Rotary International, M.E. Garrison, a salesman,connected the stress of providing with the newconcept of luckHe wrote: Never trust to luck, there is no such thing, generally speaking, as luckBad luck is bad management and good luck is good managementI have seen many fail who trusted to luck instead of pluckNever let a prospective customer or a competitive salesman discourage you, remembering that all things yield to the will of the determined salesman who had confidence and courage.22

John Tosh, A Man’s Place: Masculinity in the Middleclass Home in Victorian Britain(New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 8Tosh, A Man’s Place, 2127.Ibid., 13.Ibid., 67id.Garrison, “The Salesman,” The Rotarian3, no. 12 (Aug., 1913): 49.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;Garrison’s comments provide a window into the new conception of luck in the context of masculinityThe cult of action and concept of domestic masculinity is constant throughoutForemost, Garrison declares that male action shouldrcome any challenge and succeedOverall, Garrison calls for an aggressive form of masculinityinformed by far more than an emphasis on proactiveand domestic dominance.23An increasingly aggressive form of masculinityexpositedin Garrison’s writing, was prompted bythe growth nationalism and imperialismDebates no longer centered on the compassionate and charitable Muscular Christianity, but on the ambiguously defined concept of Social DarwinismThe harstenants of Social Darwinism superimposed the concepts of evolution articulated by Spencer and Darwinonto society and politicsJust as nature would only allow “the survival of the fittest,” Social Darwinism argued that human society should only allow those best suited for successachieveBy the century’s enanyshortcomings in life were interpreted asthe fault of the individual.24Faulting the individual, rather than the social environment or culture,affectedthe interpretation of luckFor those subscribing to Social Darwinism, those believing in luck were simply lethargic and apathetic individualsTheir position in life was dictatedby bad luckhad only themselves to blameIn Lord Jim,Joseph Conrad’s eponymous protagonistobserved fellow English patients in a hospitalHe stated:They talked everlastingly of turns of luck: how soandso got charge ofa boat on the coast of Chinaa soft thing; how this one had an easy billet in Japan somewhere, and that one was doing well in the Siamese navy; and in all they saidin their actions, in their looks, in their purposecould be detected the soft spot, the place of decay, to laze softly through existence.25Conrad affirmed the notion that those believing in luck lacked the motivation necessary to succeedWaiting fortheoccult was far easierthanactively pursuing goals, meaninghose believing luck could catapulta man to success belied not only ignorance but alsolethargy.hose who found themselves in adverse situationcould only blame themselves for acting incorrectlyIn his 1905 work, The Soul of London, Ford Maddox Hueffer, later Ford Maddox Ford to avoid association with Germany in the First World War,described the failure of a cobbler, Tockson, to launch a successful literary careerWhile Tockson had the talent to createpoetry, his personal shortcomings led his career to stagnate and, as a result, led to bitter pessimism and selfdefeatismTo Ford, Tockson clearly lacked luck, which he defined as “the knack of selfadvertisement.”26In addition to reading a middleclass interpretation onto the life

J.A. Mangan, “Social Darwinism and Upperclass Education in Late Victorian and Edwardian England,” in Manliness and Morality: Masculinity in Britain and America, 1800, ed. J.A.Mangan and James Walvin (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), 139.J.W. Burrows, The Crisis of Reason96; J.A. Mangan, “Social Darwinism,” 137Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim: A Romance(London: McClure, Phillips, & Co., 1900), 10Ford Maddox Hueffer, The Soul of London: A Survey of the Modern City(London: Alston Rivers, 1905), 147.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;of a working class individual, a specialty of Victorian and Edwardian middle class, Ford demonstrated that an individual’s actions should dictate successAs Tockson did not engage himself in selfpromotion, he could not possibly confront the milieu of modern publishingand advance in his passionMenwho could not make their way in the world lacked a key component of masculinityThey became marked as inferior, and were rendered puerile andeffeminate.27Controlwas a key component of imperialism and nationalismmperialism demanded that men maintain their domestic paternalism, their ability to control, abroadhe maintenance of empire became a ritualistic celebration of the nationNationalism, and the celebration of the state, endorsed aggressive masculinities informed by and informingimperialismNationalism demanded that citizens defend and sacrifice for their countryMen alone could pay the ultimate sacrifice and defend the country to the death in military conflictNowherewas this more evident in the construction of the heroic soldiermale in the 1880s and 1890sWords like duty, honor, and sacrificetook on a near holy auraThese ideas, based on an idealized and ultimatelerroneous idea of war,were the exclusive province of men.28Schools inculcated young men in the tenants of masculinity through their curricula, focusing increasingly on the classics and competitionThrough readings of ancient Latin texts and sports, thestate reinforced an aggressive notion of masculinity thatrecalled military dutyCicero, Caesar, Horace, and Virgil were standard reading in public schools29In 1913, the commander the Royal Military Academy had the words of Horace inscribed in the chapel: “Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori.”30The same texts also lent another personally deterministic factor to luckIn the widely readAeneid, Virgil’s antagonistTurnus, declared“Fortune favors the bold.”31Seneca wrote that luck is the confluence of opportunity and personal planning. Despite the Roman conception of luck as a deity, these texts provided ideas thatsupported luck as driven by action. Educators across Britain read this as an endorsement of ck served from personal diligenceand proactivity32Sport alsoreinforced masculinity by equating sort with warBoth attempted to achieve victory on “the field” ina physically demanding contestWar, like sport, had rules defined by theinternationalcommunity through a series of, famously at TheHague in 1899By demarcating rules for armed conflict, the international community also reinforced the concept of war as sportandthus reemphasized war, likesportas strictly masculine endeavorsIt is not

Mangan, “Social Darwinism,” 149Joanna Bourke, An Intimate History of Killing: Faceface Killing in TwentiethCentury Warfare(New York: BasicBooks, 1999), 49; Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 271John M. MacKenzie, “The Imperial Pioneer and the British Masculine Stereotype in Late Victorian and Edwardian Times,” in Manliness and Morality, ed. J.A. Mangan and James Walvin (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), 17677, 181; J.A. Mangan, “Social Darwinism,” 141Horace, Odes3.2.13; Royal Military Academy, The Memorial Chapel, Sandhurst(Sandhurst: Ministry of Defense/Royal Military Academy, 1961), 13; Francis Law, A Man at Arms: Memoirs of Two World Wars(London: Collins, 1983), 43Virgil, Aeneid, 10.284.Mackenzie, “Imperial Pioneer,” 181
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;surprising that British men entering the First World War saw conflict as simply “playing the game.33On the eve of the First World War, masculinity consisted of a strong but questioned set of principlesMen were expected to be domestic protectors, providers, and willing to sacrifice for the needs of empire and countryThey could make these physical sacrifices by extending economic control or on the field of play, be that on a rugbyor football pitch, or the battlefield.Collectively, the new manhad worked alongside scientific rationalism to dismiss the emotive, natural luck of the Romantic period in favor of scientific explanation of the worldAt the same time, these new explanations demanded that men control their own surrounding, including their economic circumstancesLuck, reshaped into a qualityexplained by personal agency, would be tested by the First World War.The reality of modern, industrial warfare shattered the preconceptions with which young men entered the conflictYoung British soldiers volunteering for the war imagined the war basupon previous colonial warsexcusing the fiasco of the Boer Warthe ideaof the imperial soldierhero, and popular war novelsReality proved much different34Monk Gibbon, an upper middleass Irish Lieutenant in the 31Divisional Train and later pacifist and poet, wrote in his postwar memoir, Inglorious Soldierthatthe mengoing to war“had not visualized it as a continent slowly bleeding to death in the mud.”35The war’s method was entirely unanticipatedNew weaponry and measures to counteract new technology denied the essential male valuesin Victorian and Edwardian society. The very way armies waged war on the Western Front undermined the manner and theconstructs of masculinity.In the aftermath of their defeat at the Battle of the Marne, the German Armybegan digging elaborate trenchesintended to hold the advantageous chalky ridgelinesagainst the advancing French and BritishEntrenchment proved successfulThe Allied advancestalled, and dug in opposite the GermansThe new warfare followed new rules, proving incorrect the longheld belief that tactical and strategicadvantage lay with the attacking forceArtillery proved to be the only avenue available to “soften up” enemydefenses enough to gain ground, and the only counter measure toartillery, ironically, wasartilleryThe war became a conflict of longrange bombardment, wherein armies attempted to silence the opposing artillery, disrupt the enemy trench network, and take the bombarded trenches with infantryThis was far from the heroic war envisioned by most menInstead, this war silenced agency, causality, and

Fussell, Great War and Modern Memory29; J.A. Mangan, “Games Field and Battlefield: A Romantic Alliance in Verse and the Creation of Militaristic Masculinity,” in Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity, ed. Timothy J.L. Chandler and Jon Nauright (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1996), 143Joanna Bourke, Intimate HistoryMonk Gibbon, Inglorious Soldier(London: Hutchinson & Co., 1968), 1.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;individualism.36The trademarktactic of trench warfare, the artillery barrageterrifiedsoldiersand robbed them of these closely held tenants of prewar masculinityGone was the soldier’s ability to control his surroundings. Instead, infantrynow confronted an enemy thatwas a “poor sport.” As the masculine imperative demanded that men meet their opposition on equal terms, high explosivefired from afartroubled soldiers deeply. Captain Rowland Fielding, an English middleclass career officer in the Cold Stream Guards, wrote to hiswife about German bombardmentssaying,“I confess the sensation is far from comfortableYou hear the shell from the moment it leaves the howitzer, and you can have no idea of thelong time it takes to come, or of the weird scream it makes in doing so.”37At Ypres in 1917, Francis R. Bion, commander of a tank in the 5Tank Battalion, experienced a fierce barrage beforegoing forwardHe recorded his anxieties later in his diary:By this time,a general bombardment had developed, and in the silence of the tank we could hear the shells screaming overhead from our own guns, and bursting near from theirs. The shelling was simply one continual roarYour own guns sounded a sharp crackbehindYou could, of course, distinguish nothingYou simply had the deep roar of the guns, which was continuous and imposed on that was the shrill whistle of the shells passing overheadjust as if it was the wind whistling in a gigantic keyholeOne very big German shell that burst near us could be distinguished above the restIt sounded like an express train coming through a tunnela gradually increasing roar as it came nearerThen a deafening crash. As the nearer shells burst, the tank used to sway alittle and shudderThis was very beastly as one had previously felt that a tank was the sort of pinnacle of solidityIt seemed as if you were all alone in a huge passage with great doors slamming all aroundI can think of no way of describing it.38he explosions Bion described, much stronger than anything most soldiers previously witnessed, further devalued the physical strength prized in men. The terrifying power and intensity of ombardments were unmistakable. Unable to move, unable to act to save their lives or the lives of comrades, soldiers simply waited, listening for the shell that might fall close enough to maim or kill them.Death rained daily from the sky, and seemingly nothing a soldier could do prevented its effects.The prospect was maddening to soldiers preconditioned by society to view war as a sport, and valuing control over their own surroundingsSoldiersdesired nothing more than to know a human enemy rather than depersonalized explosionsAfter a shell fragmentstruck one of his men in the somach, Rowland Fielding aided in his evacuation, writing that he “helped them to lift [the wounded man] on to a stretcherBut, as he lay, he muttered plaintively, ‘Oh if I could

John Keegan, The First World War(New York: Vintage), 178Fielding to Edith Fielding, Cuinchy, May 8, 1915, in WarLetters to a Wife: France and Flanders, 1919, ed. Jonathan Walker (Staplehurst: Spellmount, 2001), 4.Francis R. Bion, War Memoirs, 1917, ed. Francesca Bion (London: Karnac Books, 1997), 30.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;only come across the man that did that.”39Edward Campion Vaughthe 1/8 Warwickshire Regiment, proffered similar complaintsWriting in his diary on the Somme during AugustVaughn divulged, “It was a very different attack than what I had imagined: terror and death coming from far away seemed much more ghastly than a hail of fire from people whom we could see and with whom we could come to grips.”40The threat of wounding prompted morepanic than the threat ofdeath. If severely mutilated, men could quickly fail in their domestic and social duties. Thoseseverely wounded lacked the prized possessions of masculinity: physical strength and the ability to control and provide. Without the full use of their bodiesby missing an arm or leg or losing visionmany men could not provide for themselves or their families, maintain successful households, or protect thinnocence of family members. High explosives quite literally exploded masculinity.The war, as soldiers witnessed, was unjust. What had been delineated by treaty and conference, replete with rules for conduct and equipment, dissolved into a random and violent, but confusingly stagnantwar. The threat to masculinity left soldierswithout the toolsto understand their environment through either preconceived notions of waror through the waysociety conditioned them to act and think.41Some men took solace in religion, but others found the unforgiving nature of the battlefield incommensurable with the notion of a compassionate Christian GodThe clashsaw many soldiers suffer intense religious doubt, yet few completely rejected the trappings of faithMost simply could not attribute causality on the battlefield to a supposedly benevolent and paternalistic deityUnable to attribute agency to either theindividual or God, soldiers attempted to find new causality on the battlefielduck came to explain the seemingly random, faceless violence around them.42By attaching agency to luck, soldiers attempted to explain the battlefield around themWhile anthropologists contend that war luck was intensely fatalistic, luckhad many more facetsLuck was a personal and group attribute, possibly featuring aterial and ritual components. At times luck took on the trappings of spiritualism, and became the universal dictatorof events on the battlefield. Other interpretations of luck disavowedpersonal causality. To some soldiers, personal agency remained strong, but luck remained a useful tool for describing events outside the control of the individual.In most instances, soldiers carried a noncategorical interpretation of luck. Luck could hold all or some of these properties forindividual soldiersand remained extremely dependent on the individual throughout the war43To some soldiers, luck was innately personalhile individuals could not control their own

Fielding to Edith Fielding, France, 31 March 1918,War Letters to a Wife, 167.Edward Campion Vaughn, Some Desperate Glory: The Diary of a Young Officer, 1917(London: Frederick Warner, 1982), 199. Joanna Bourke, Dismembering the Male(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 3175; Jessica Meyer, Men of War:.Richard Schweitzer, The Cross and the Trenches: Religious Faith and Doubt among British and American Great War Soldiers(Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003), 195Wilson, Landscapes of the Western Front, 162
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;exposure to violence, their luck could stave off mutilation or deathPersonal luck could be goodor bad and often remained mysterious until the individual was exposed to dangerIn 1914, before departing for the frontline, M. Aldrich, a British attach√© at serving in France with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914, overheard the soldier Georges, expressing the mystery of luck, saying “ifI have the luck to come backso much better.”44hers had very exactunderstandings of luck. A Second Lieutenant wrote of his young cousinconvalescing in England after a miraculous recovery from a wound, thatif he should have to go on active service again I feel that his invariable good luck will bring him through.”45Ironically, Townsend did not have good luckHe died only days after recording his opinionYet his thoughts indicate the permanency ofluck perceivedin some soldiersFor those who escaped repeated narrow escapesthere could be no other explanation for their uncanny survivals in a world devoid of personal agency.uck explained why particular units or soldiers suffered horrific fates and othersdid not. For Rowland Fielding, Luck explained how he could survive four years but the young newcomer, Sergeant MajorMcGrath perishedWhen an artillery shell killed the new Sergeant Major assigned to his command as soon as he reached thefiringline, Captain Rowland Fielding, thenfour year veteran of the wardescribed the death in a letter to his wifewrote“McGrath arrived the day after I returned from leave, and within half an hour of his reaching the firsttrench, was lying dead, a heavy trench mortarbomb having fallen upon him and two others, and wounding two moreNow is that not a case of hard luck chasing a man, when you consider how long others of us last?46Only luck gave Fielding an explanationforhis ownsurvival. Through ritual and talisman, some menattempted to control or harness luckBy taking specific actions or collecting items with special sentimental attachment, soldiers attempted to reinforce their good luck and stave off injury or deathCommon dictates advisedsoldiers always to wear their helmetsSoldiers might alsoritually kisstheirequipment, predominantly their helmet, rifle, and rank or unit insignia, before going into battleKissing letters remained a popular prebattle routine. Successfully navigating combat after engaging in ritual reinforced this behaviorSurvival provided proof of actions’ luckgiving properties.47Talismans or good luck charms remained popular throughout the war. Lieutenant Charles Murray Child of the Gloucester Regiment carried a fourleaf clover for several days before sending it home to his family, hoping it would continue to give good luck.Other soldiers collected ammunition, weapons, andshell fragments or nose caps. The behavior, as historians like Joanna Bourke demonstrated, became commonplace during the war. Picking up good luck charms from the battlefield had an added meaning: by acknowledging the death of others,

M. Aldrich, A Hill Top on the Marne, being letters written between 3 June and 8 September, 1914(Boston: HoughtonMifflin, 1915), 66.Houseman, Letters of Fallen EnglishmanFielding to Edith Fielding, Curragh Camp, 14 December, 1916, War Letters to a WifeStanley Spencer’s Great War Diary, 19151918: A Personal Account of Active Service on the Western Front, ed. Terry Spencer (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2008), 10607; Bourke, History of Killing, 29; Wilson, Landscapes of the Western Front, 152
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;soldiers in some small measure acknowledged their ability tosurvive, their own good luck. These talismans were physical reminders of their own survival as well as talismans intended to bring good luck.48Somesoldiertook less conventional methods to acquiring good luck charms and entered the war with items intended to grant the bearer good luckFrederick Palmer, an Army war correspondent recalled the good luck of Private Charles Steward, a newly arrived clerk’s sonBeing shot through the stomach the way he was, all the doctors agreed Charlie [Pvt. Steward] would dieIt was like Charlie to disagree withthemHe always has his point viewhe is getting wellCharlie came out to the war with the packing case which had been used by his grandfather, who was an officer in the Crimean WarHe said that would bring him luck.49The conveyance of good luck charms to the battlefield illustrates continuities betweenoccult luck and causal luckTherefore,while science could provide new answers for the cause of existing phenomena, war appeared to be a situation, whichremained outside the ability of the individual to control. Luck could also be confused with religion, acquiring the vague trappings of spiritualismYet spiritualism it was not. While spiritualism in the war denied death, luck, in contrast,explained why some men died and others survived. Soldiers experiencing religious crises coopted luck to provide similar emotional support on the battlefieldIndeed, many soldiers referred to luck as aambient force dictating events on the battlefield ratherthan as a personal attribute.This aspect of luck not only presented luck in semirelgiousterms but also completely detachedpersonal agency from the battlefieldhe war’s denial ofpersonal agencyand causationpermitted luck as an acceptable excuse50John Jackson, rail clerk and particularly pious infantryman in the 1/79Highlanders frequented church servieven of other denominationsandcame to refer to luck as a pervasive, presiding over the battlefieldIn many ways, this closely aligned with faith, complete with a sense of trust in luck and complete with personification of luck51Coming under fire, Jackson and a companion took coverWhen the bombardment failedabate, the pair “decided to rush from hole to hole one at a time and trust to luck.52Later, Johnson would put his faith in luck againFixing wire in No Man’s Land, the unarmed Jackson spotted several shadowy figures moving toward his positionHe believed, “To try and run for it would have revealed my presence, and it seemed like asking to be shot, so I decided to stand my ground, and trust to

Laurence Houseman, ed., War Letters of Fallen Englishmen(New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1930), 76; A Month at the Front(Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2006), 4647; Joanna Bourke, History of KillingFrederick Palmer, My Year of the Great War(New York: Dodd, Mead,& Co., 1915), 356.Richard Schweitzer, The Cross and the Trenches, 14; Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of MourningJohn Jackson, Private 12768: Memoir of a Tommy(Stroud, GL: Tempus, 2004), 1JacksoPrivate 12768, 131.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;luck.53In both instances, Jackson remained unscathedTo the pious Jackson, luck took on almost an aura of the divineLuck could spare or condemn men just as faith could, but was everpresentand demanded trust in order to work.Luck could now explain shortcomings, such as forgetting equipmentWhile watching a group of West Indians divide rations, the ruined square Jackson stood in came under attackOne shell buried the West Indians under a cascade of bricks, and Johnson attempted to helpWriting in his journal later, Johnson recalled,“Unluckily for me, I was not even carrying my gashelmet, though even if I had been, it is doubtful if I should have had time to adjust it, and before I was halfway across to the niggers [West Indians] a gas shell from ‘Jerry’ dropped in the square, and I got enough gas to knock me down senseless.”54By employing luck, Jackson marginalized his own responsibilityHis injury was certainly not his own faultIt was simply poor luck that he forgot hislifesaving equipmentWhen Houston Woodward, a mechanic and exinfantrymen, attemptto repair the inner workings of an aircraft, he used luck to divest blame from himself for the mangling of some of the machine, saying, “I never broke a machine, not even a wirewas very anxious to keep up the record, but here was the whole appareila wreckNobody said anything, for it was impossibleto avoid, just rotten, hard luck.”55Some things on the battlefield just occurred without causation and without blame.Nevertheless,some soldiers did attribute blameTo these men, luck did not explain personal action, but rather only explained what an individual could not controlAccording an officerinterviewed by author Henry Newbolt,the soldier “noticed that many of our few casualties during these days have been due to sheer folly on the part of individuals; but to be sniped is rotten luck.”56The anonymous officer’s interpretation of luck represented a stronger grounding in the luck popularized in middleclass culture through the latter portion of the nineteenth and earlytwentieth centuriesThe solider acknowledged the existence of a metaphysical force, but limited the effects of this force to events beyond immediate personal controlFor this soldier, the individual could minimize the chances of injury but in the event a man was killed or wounded, the method lay beyond personal control.Through the war, luck clearly accumulated new and nuanced meaningsAlmost all uses of luck attempted to explain causality on the battlefieDuring the war, the modern and reductionist approach to luck, clad in masculinity, remained with some soldiersOthers, however, departed from the middleclass interpretation of luck as a personal product, instead using luck in a variety of ways to understand the brutality of industrialized warfareThe postwar years continued to show this wide divide.III

Ibid., 133.Ibid.Houston Woodward, A Year for France: The War Letters of Houston Woodward(New Haven, CT: Yale Publishing, 1919), 177. Appraeil, meaning a mechanical device in French, became a universal British term for any selfpropelled war machinetank, plane, or automobile . Henry Newbolt, Tales of the Great War(London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1917), 23.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ; &#x/MCI; 1 ;&#x/MCI; 1 ;The postwar world showed a sharp divide in the concept of luck. To many soldiers returning home, reassuming control of their civilian lives changed their interpretation of luck back to force dictated by personal abilityWhile many soldiers reflected on the miraculous nature of their survival, many isolated the battlefield as a geographic and ideological unit. Preparing to return home from France sometime in January, 1919, Rowland Fielding wroteto his wife that, with the warover, hecould leave the past four years behind him, and return home to be a fatherto his two young girlsThe impetus to leave the war behind suggested that soldiers left luck, like many other beliefs and behaviors specific to the war zone, behind in Flanders.57riters who did not experience the war appeared not to have picked up the soldier’s more nuanced conception of luck. In 1922, Joseph Conrad, a figure who never traversed the battlefield, discussed luck through the main character of The Rescue, Thomas Lingard. In an epiphany considering the sea, Lingard established luck as a fallacy, saying the sea “had lulled him into lief in himself, his strength, his luck and suddenly, by its complicity in fatal accident, it had brought him face to face with a difficulty that looked like the beginning of the disaster.”58To Lingard, the sea, something truly uncontrollable, established what he believed was personal luck as a fallacy. In comparisonwith the realities ofthe world, luck had no place. For Conrad, an individual’s rationality and attention to detail continued to determine luck. Luck, however, provideda key continuity through the war years. While some tolerated the memory of the war stoically, others came to terms with the experience by recording their experiences. n the postwar decades, war time luckwasmanifested in the documentaryfiction, memoirs, and fictional works written by war survivors. These authors’ writings would immortalize wartime luck.Beginning with Edmund Blunden’s memoir, Undertones of War(1928), postwar memoirists and authors of war documentaryfiction carried anintense memory of luckFor Blunden,ck lay in materiality and trophytaking. Throughout the war, Blunden collected pickelhaubes, thefamous pointed helmet worn by the German army duringthe first two years of the warot only did these helmetssignifyhis participation in the warand provide convenient presents for his sweetheartbut in his own mind bestowed short periods of luckon him. Trophies from the battlefield indicated survival and superiority. By surviving battle and collecting trophies, Blunden established himself as the betterman.59Other authors attempted to reclaim agency against the luck of the battlefield. In Goodbye to All That, a literary memoir much like Blunden’s Undertones of War, Robert Graves described one soldier attempting to take advantage of luck by acquiring a “Blighty,” a wound sending him back to Britain to convalesce. Graves described a soldier in his squad who surreptitiously raised his hand above the parapet.When no enemy shot him, the soldier then raised his arm, then

Fielding to Edith Fielding, France, January 1919, War Letters to a WifeJosepeh Conrad, The Rescue: A Romance of the Shallows(New York: Doubleday, Page, & Co., 1922), Edmund Blunden, The Undertones of War(New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1965), 14344; Bourke, Intimate History
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;shoulder. Frustrated, he stood up whereupon he was promptly shot through the head. Through Graveslengthy description, he acknowledges personal qualities of luck, but also the futility of ombat. Graves himself resolved to tempt his luck and risk exposure to danger in order to return home. gave up his plan when his luck appeared too poor to survive a wound.60Similarly, author and literary critic Monk Gibbon, a member of the Irish Rifles during the ar, recalled a similar impetus to eliminate the bad luck of serving in the trenches. He removed his helmet and continued his duties, in defiance of popular superstition, until his commanding officer “noticed its absence and ordered me to makeuse of it. probablyknew what was in my thoughts. A “blighty” from one of those bullets would be as good a way out of my luck as any.”61In the“reign of unreason,” as Gibbon named the war, nothing but luck, abstract and inexact, provided a suitable explanation for the terrible and random events occurring ceaselessly about soldiers.62The war went further, and found a home beyond the postwar memoir and documentary fiction. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, magic mimicked wartime conceptions of luck. Tolkien, a lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers during the war, experienced luck firsthand. Following the war, he attributed luck with saving his life. Inexplicably falling severelyill on the last day of June in 1916, Tolkien was invalided to the rear the day before the omme Offensive began. The next,day nearly threequarters of his unit became casualties. The inability to explain wartime events was manifested in Tolkien’s fantasynovels. Unlike previous portrayals of magic popularized in the prewar years, Tolkien imagined magic as an innate force providing causalityand special powersInside Tolkien’s Middleearth, events occur not but individual items imbued with unique and ambient powerslike the good luck charms from the warbut reinforced from Tolkien’s own preoccupation with German and Celtic folkloreMagic not only explains the power of some items, including the titular ring, but also explains chance meetings and miraculous escapes from harm. Through magic, Tolkien integrated the conceptions of luck familiar to him from the battlefields of his youth63Wartime luck, as Tolkien’s popular fantasy trilogy shows, remained throughthetwentieth century. This luck, however,wasfarremoved from the luck envisioned at the turnthecentury. Following the failed revolutionof 1848, the rise of scientific materialism provided new causation for evenpreviously attributed to luck. Furthermore, social sciences’ incessant aloging dissected and devalued superstition as a trait of a bygone age. The result, incorporated into schools across Britain,blended with masculinity and Social Darwinism, and remolded luck into a function of a man’s control, diligence, proactivity, and, above all, his manliness. The First World War, particularly the emasculating experience of Western Front, reshaped soldier’s definitions of luck. The new understanding varied among soldiers. To someluck was a personal attribute. Others viewed luck as group attribute or an ambient force silently directing

Robert Graves, Goodbye to All Thated. (London:Cassell, 1958), 93Monk Gibbon, Inglorious Soldier(London: Hutchinson & Co., 1968), 252.Gibbon, Inglorious SoldierStratford Caldecott, The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision behind The Lord of the Rings (New York: Cross Roads, 2005),
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;events on the battlefield. While not all soldiers divorced agency from the individual, luck remained a widespreadalbeit variable way of explaining and ordering the random and faceless violence on the battlefield.Following the war, many soldiers left the new notions of luck in the trenches, and preferred insteadto reconstruct their postwar lives in the fashion resembling their prewar lives. While authors who never set foot on the battlefield carriethe turnthecenturydefinition of luck through the war, soldierauthors returning home wrotewartimeluck intheir memoirs and novels. These works, integrated into the British cultural mythology of the war, remain alasting talisman of the warfor good luck or for ill.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;BibliographyAldrich, M. A Hill Top on the Marne, being Letters Written between 3 June and 8 September, . Boston: HoughtonMifflin, 1915.Bion, Francis R. War Memoirs, 1917. Edited by Francesca Bion. London: Karnac Books, Blunden, Edmund.Undertones of War. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1965.Bourke, Joanna. Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain, and the Great War. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1996.An Intimate History of Killing: Faceface Killing in TwentiethCentury Warfare. New York: Basic Books, 1999.Burrows, J.W. The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.Caldecott, Stratford. The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision behindThe Lord of the Rings. New York: Cross Roads, 2005.Chandler, Timothy J.L., and Jon Nauright. Making Men: Rugby and Masculine IdentityPortland, OR: Frank Cass, 1996.Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim: A Romance. London: McClure, Phillips, & Co., 1900.The Rescue: A Romance of the Shallows. New York: Doubleday, Page, & Co., 1922.Daniels, Cora Linn, and C.M. Stevans. The Encyclopedia of Superstition, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences: A Comprehensive Library of Human Belief and Practices in the Mysteries of Life. Chicago: J.H. Yewdale & Sons, 1903.Dresslar, Fletcher Bascom. “Superstion and Education.Education5, no. 1 (July 15, 1907):1Fielding, Rowland. War Letters to a Wife: France and Flanders, 1915. Edited by Jonathan Walker. Staplehurst: Spellmount, 2001.Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.Garrison, M. E. “The Salesman.” The Rotarian3, no. 12 (Aug., 1913): 49Gibbon, Monk. Inglorious Soldier. London: Huchinson & Co., 196Graves, Robert. Goodbye to All Thatnded. London: Cassell, 1958.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;Hazlitt, William Carew. Faith and Folklores: A Dictionary. London: Reeves & Turner, 1905.Hobsbawm, Eric. Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.Hueffer, Ford Maddox. The Soul of London: A Survey of the Modern City. London: Alston Rivers, 1905.Jackson, John. Private 12768: Memoir of a Tommy. Stroud, GL: Tempus, 2004.Keegan, John. The First World WarNew York: Vintage, 1998.Law, Francis. A Man at Arms: Memoirs of Two World Wars. London: Collins, 1983.MacKenzie, John M. “The Imperial Pioneer and the British Masculine Stereotype in Late Victorian and Edwardian Times.” In Manliness and Morality: Masculinity in Britain and America, 1800, edited by J.A. Mangan and James Walvin, 176198. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987.Maddock, William Hurrell. Studies of Contemporary Superstition. London: Ward & Downey Limited, 1895.Mangan, J.A. “Social Darwinism and Upperclass Education in Late Victorian and Edwardian England.” In Manliness and Morality: Masculinity in Britain and America, 1800edited by J.A. Mangan and James Walvin, 135159. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987._____. “Games Field and Battlefield: A Romantic Alliance in Verse and the Creation of Militaristic Masculinity.” In Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity, edited by Timothy J.L. Chandler and Jon Nauright, 14057. Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1996.., and James Walvin, eds. Manliness and Morality: Masculinity in Britain and America, . Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987.Napier, James. Folk Lore, or Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland within this CenturyPaisley: Alex Gardener, 1879.Newbolt, Henry. Tales of the Great War. London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1917.Palmer, Frederick. My Year of the Great War. New York: Dodd, Mead,& Co., 1915.Royal Military Academy. The Memorial Chapel, Sandhurst. Sandhurst: Ministry of Defense/Royal Military Academy, 1961.Schweitzer, Richard. The Cross and the Trenches: Religious Faith and Doubt among British and American Great War Soldiers. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.
�� &#x/MCI; 0 ;&#x/MCI; 0 ;Smiles, Samuel. Selfhelpdited byRalph Lytton Bower. New York: American Book Company, 1904.Stanley Spencer’s Great War Diary, 19151918: A Personal Account of Active Service on the Western Front. Edited by Terry Spencer. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, Vaughn, Edward Campion. Some Desperate Glory: The Diary of a Young Officer, 1917London: Frederick Warner, 1982.Wilson, Ross J. Landscapes of the Western Front: Materiality during the Great War. New York: Routledge, 2012.Winters, Jay M. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.Woodward, Houston. A Year for France: The War Letters of Houston Woodward. New Haven, CT: Yale Publishing, 1919.

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