A conference on the subject of growing up during the Great War will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University on November 6th to 7th this year.
I’m very happy about this because I got the email yesterday to say that they are going to let me give my paper on the Magnet comics during the war.
This is a talk I’ve wanted to give for a long while. I’ll argue that while some other boys’ papers gave unthinking support to the war effort, and encouraged readers to indulge their prejudices and wallow in the ‘pleasure culture of war’, the Magnet behaved much more like the more thoughtful kinds of adult fiction, weighing the demands of war against the civilised conventions established in peacetime.
I’ve got the paper pretty well worked out already, but shall definitely be spending quite a bit of time over the next four months further exploring the careers of Harry Wharton, Coker of the Fifth, Vernon-Smith the Bounder, and of course Huree Ramset Jam Singh, the dusky nabob of Bhanipur…
The conference website is at https://www.hssr.mmu.ac.uk/mcrh/ww1/beingyoung/