Using extensive data - mostly gleaned from the National Archives - this book examines the way in which British widows of servicemen who died in the First World War were represented in society and by themselves, exploring the intertwining discourses of social welfare, national identity, and morality that can be identified in these texts.
Focusing on two widows, the book encourages their individual stories to emerge and gives a voice to an otherwise forgotten group of women whose stories have been lost under the literary tomes of middle-class writers such as Vera Brittain and May Wedderburn Cannon. The discussion is further informed by a wider reading of 300 other such files, which allows wider observations to be made about the nature of the discourses examined, and offers the most complete possible picture for such data.
Offering a streamlined adaptation of the Discourse-Historical Approach to critical discourse analysis, Discourses Surrounding British Widows of the First World War demonstrates how this model of analysis can be used to investigate a large body of data from a wide variety of sources, covering a long period of time. As such it will be useful to all scholars in their analysis of historical corpa.