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Words to End All Wars: A Performance of World War I Writing

I went for a walk alone through the forest this morning. The weather was so glorious. Now I can see why you, my dear Robert, walk alone into the forest as often as you can from where you are stationed. When I left for my walk, I saw a sergeant standing at our kitchen window with the cook. I said as a joke that that wasn’t allowed. He said, “Shooting people dead for three years isn’t allowed either.”--Letter from Anna Pöhland, Wife of German SoldierIn this centenary year of the outbreak of World War I, historians and journalist are searching for ways to frame that cataclysmic event so that we can appreciate how unprecedented and consequential it was--for world political history, for the birth of modern culture, and for humankind's lapsed trust in its own rationality. There is no question that World War I was a traumatic event. But, we can't begin to understand its meaning without getting closer to the inner lives of those who experienced it, to their ideals, their convictions, their hopes, and their fears. These inner lives are preserved for us in the massive amount of writing that came out of the War, not just the published work of poets and novelists, but also in the thousands of letters, diaries, notebooks, and memoirs of officers, infantry, and those on the home fronts.In this dramating reading, actors will perform selections both written in English and translated from German and French, by writers including Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, Ernst Jünger, Erich Maria Remarque, Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Rosenberg, Vera Brittain, Sylvia Pankhurst, and dozens of unknown writers whose letters and diaries tell a more intimate story of men and women caught in the violent stalemate of war. The performance will be directed by Stanford Repertory Theater Artistic Director Rush Rehm with musical accompaniment.



Friday, January 23, 2015. 08:00 PM


Memorial Hall, Pigott Theater


Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford Repertory Theater, TAPS, and Peace and Justice Initiative




Free; no registration required. Limited seating, and no late seating.
Event is January 23rd and January 24th.