Charting the Crimean War: Contexts, Nationhood, Afterlives
The Crimean War (1853–56) is much more culturally significant than its popular mythologies suggest. Now remembered mainly for the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Lady with the Lamp, the war is a pivotal moment in the history of modern warfare seen as both the last of the old wars and first of the new. The first total war, it inaugurated new forms of weaponry, tactics, communication, war reporting, military medicine, and new attitudes towards soldiers. The issue provides a number of new perspectives on these features of the war as it played out in the British, French, and Russian imagination. Contributors mediate the vexed issue of medical provision for the British and Russian armies; sensitivities around Britain’s military alliance with France; royal and poetic interventions into the welfare of the British soldier; the religious, commercial, and emotional investment in soldier-heroes like Captain Hedley Vicars and the Light Brigade; the memorialization of the final action of the war, the fall of Sebastopol; and, finally, the war’s continuing cultural and geopolitical relevance. Incorporating statistical analysis, journalism, photography, objects, art, film, and literature, this issue of 19 makes a case for the conflict’s wide-ranging significance.
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