I’ve received a coulpe of emails recently, from people involved in WW1 creative projects. I pass on the info without knowing much about either.
Russell Cruse alerts me that his novella The Circling Song has just been published. The summary is intriguing:
Private Lawrence sees the world differently from those around him. Unfortunately, those around him are the British Army. To Dr. Pennyworth, Private Henry Lawrence appears to be just another wounded soldier but slowly he begins to realise that Lawrence experiences the world in a unique and inexplicable manner. From the chaos of The Great War, Lawrence begins to create order. And Physics is struggling to keep up. Pennyworth and Dr. Caroline Charteris, a Cambridge mathematician, widowed by the war, work together to unlock the mysterious mind of Henry Lawrence and to determine how he intends to use it. Then, they must decide whether to assist him or stop him. The story of Henry Lawrence is told here through the correspondence, private papers and published works of those who knew him.
If that sounds interesting, the Kindle version will only set you back £1.02.
From America, a film-maker, Maxine Pugh, tells me that she is planning a short movie about the Christmas Truce, and is looking for backers. You can read all about the project on the KickStarter website. I’d never come across sites like that before.
I don’t think I’ll invest because (apart from being a bit stingy) I don’t much like the woozy title Flanders Field Miracle, and I think it may be playing fast and loose with history. one of the stills used in the trailer is definitely not from 1914.
My reading of the Truce is that it was professional soldiers taking a day off and treating each other with respect, letting the dead be buried, and so on.
Most recent treatments (like C. A. Duffy’s) pile on the pathos, and use the event as an argument for pacifism. How many of the original participants would have wanted that?
There was a French film a while back, and Duffy’s poem, and several radio and TV versions. It’s becoming almost as well-used as a popular signifier of WW1 as the executions for desertion.
There’s an appeal, obviously, in the contrast between relentless war and the few snatched hours of peace, but I can’t help wondering whether there isn’t something else happening as well. Could there be, maybe, a touch of nostalgia for the days when we had an enemy who celebrated Christmas just as we did, and was able to share a convivial bottle of schnapps with us?