The 'our' in Mary Borden's preface is also a footnote to history, stressing female presence and communality within the forbidden zone.
The shattered male body is a central concern during and after the war years. What differing claims do the women make upon this body and how do they write it-with their own bodies responding, recoiling or rarefied-in their texts? I shall argue for the importance of the tremulous, private body of the young female nurse as a way of knowing and representing historical trauma.
I write with full awareness that this is only one of the many narratives of the war.
Borden would boldly lay claim to bodily knowledge, traditionally associated with the male experience of the war.
I think that woman, myself, must have been in a trance, or under some horrible spell. Her feet are lumps of fire, her face is clammy, her apron is splashed with blood; but she moves ceaselessly about with bright burning eyes and handles the dreadful wreckage of men as if in a dream. She does not seem to notice the wounds or the blood.
Foul odours, foul words, foul matter swirled round his, and always there was that terror in his eyes, and the sweat pouring down his body that was greenish now as if covered with slime.
they were all deformed, and certainly their deformity was the deformity of the war.
It is one's duty to look at the paper. It is one's duty to look at the man. It is one's duty to find out where he has come from and where he is going.
The coats of the little men who come out of the boxes are too big for them; their rifles with the bayonets too heavy.
They know, not only everything that is contained in it, but all the rest that can never be written.