Agenda ’19

Notes and Swearies
Blasphemy and Obscene Language

24-10-2019

Under the title "Gateways to the First World War", the In Flanders Fields Museum and the University of Kent (School of History) present a series of eight seminars on Thursday evening, free and open to all.

The four lectures in Ieper are scheduled at 7.15pm and take place in the reading room of the In Flanders Fields Museum, Sint-Maartensplein 3.
Information: kenniscentrum@ieper.be

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Notes and Swearies
Blasphemy and Obscene Language in soldiers’ speech and song, 1914-1919
Professor Mark Connelly (University of Kent)

British veterans of the First World War often commented on the obscene language and blasphemy they experienced in the army. This talk will examine the extent to which this reputation was deserved. It will also seek to explore how and why soldiers turned to swearing and obscene language as a way of expressing their feelings. It will ask to what extent the original, pre-war regulars taught their volunteer and conscript comrades to swear, or whether it might even have been the other way round, and whether soldiers managed their language and imagery so suit different audiences.
(Warning: lots of swearing in this talk!)