Added: December 3, 2016 – Last updated: December 3, 2016


Author: Will(iam) McClelland

Title: "The Shape and the Violence"

Subtitle: Modernity and the Human Condition in Timothy Findley's The Wars

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, Concordia University

Advisor: Peter Webb

Year: 2010

Pages: v + 86pp.

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: Canadian History | Representations: Literary Texts / Timothy Findley; Types: Gang Rape, Same-Sex Rape; Victims: Men


Link: Spectrum Research Repository: Digital Repository of Concordia University (Free Access)


Abstract: »Through a close reading of Timothy Findley's 1977 novel The Wars this thesis explores the various ways in which modernity and the Great War (1914-1918) irrevocably altered the human condition. The seemingly instantaneous ubiquity of new technologies in the early twentieth-century (the mechanical, the electrical), mass production and the mass scaling of both industry and warfare changed life for everyone in the West. Commodification and mass consumption altered human relationships and behaviour, as did the arrival of the mechanical - especially in the form of the automobile - in the domestic sphere. The experience of time itself became corrupted, mutating the nature of sleep both at the front and at home while also accelerating personal relationships. Findley's novel also throws light upon the heightened fusion of sex and violence in the modem era. Most interesting, however, are the various human responses to modernity and the Great War which The Wars exhibits and the complex prognosis for humanity Findley delivers through a menagerie of fragile characters.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. iii)
  Acknowledgements (p. iv)
  Table of Contens (p. v)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapter One: 'What Were All These Fires': Mass Production, the Mechanical and Modern Warfare in The Wars (p. 5)
    A Gentler Age (p. 7)
    Wartime Capitalism (p. 12)
    Between A Car and a Soldier (p. 14)
    'What Were All These Fires' (p. 16)
    Where Big Guns Dance (p. 18)
  Chapter Two: 'No More Midnight': Time in The Wars (p. 20)
    Time in No Man's Land (p. 21)
    Time Beyond Tradition (p. 23)
    A Shattered Chronology (p. 27)
  Chapter Three: Sex, Death and Violence in The Wars (p. 29)
    Taffler: Violently Sexual, Sexually Violent (p. 32)
    Harris: Prophet of the Repressed Self in an Age of Horrors (p. 34)
    Violence, Repression and the Muddy Crater (p. 35)
    The Blue Scarf and the Failure of Harris's Prophetic Advice (p. 37)
    Raped By the Earth and Men (p. 40)
    'The Shape and the Violence' (p. 42)
  Chapter Four: 'To Clarify Who You Are': Responses to Modernity in The Wars (p. 45)
    Modernity Incarnate: A Look at Barbara d'Orsey (p. 49)
    Resisting the Modern Age (p. 56)
    'Towards the Dark': Modernity and Mrs. Ross (p. 58)
    Shades of Robert Ross: Captain Rodwell (p. 64)
  Conclusion: 'Being a Little Candle': The Response to the Modern Age in The Wars (p. 67)
  Works Cited and Bibliography (p. 81)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of Canada | Literature: Canadian literature | 20th-century Canadian writers: Timothy Findley / The Wars