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King of the Woods: Frazer's "Dying God," Christ, and the WWI Soldier in David Jones's In Parenthesis (1937)

Frontispiece to Jones's In Parenthesis (1937, National Museum of Wales)
Frontispiece to Jones's In Parenthesis (1937, National Museum of Wales)

The call for Christ-like "sacrifice" in the recruitment tactics and memorialization of the First World War often had a ring of hypocrisy in the midst and in the aftermath of that dreadful conflict. It was subsequently ironized by many poets and artists of the period. But the poet and painter David Jones (1895-1974) complicates the image of Christ in the First World War in his 1937 poetic writing In Parenthesis by making an immediate comparison between the WWI soldier and certain pre-Christian sacrificial figures discussed in James Frazer's The Golden Bough (1890-1940). 


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Dr Anna Svendsen

Anna Svendsen is a researcher and university instructor based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. She is also the Associate Director of the David Jones Research Center in Takoma Park, Maryland, and a co-director of the David Jones Digital Archive project overseen by the Center.


Frontispiece image ©Trustees of the David Jones Estate