Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Alan Bishop




In the years 1929 and 1930, a plethora of 'anti-war' novels was published. Three such novels were Richard Aldington's Death of a Hero, Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, and Charles Yale Harrison's Generals Die in Bed.

In 1916, Aldington enlisted in the British Army as a private, saw active combat, and emerged from the war with a captain's commission. Death of a Hero, which is based on Aldington; s war experience, was published in 1929, and achieved immense popular success. It appeared at a point in Aldington's career when he was already well known and highly regarded as a poet and critic. The novel stands as an important historical as well as literary document, and has been favourably and justifiably compared with Erich Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, and with Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

A Farewell to Arms was published in 1929, and in that year became the best selling novel in America. It is Hemingway's second novel, and many critics regard it as his best work. Originally intended to be a short story, its completed first draft ran to 650 manuscript pages. The novel is based on Hemingway's experiences in Italy during the First World War, in which he served as a Red Cross ambulance driver on the Italian front, and was wounded by an Austrian trench mortar on July 8, 1918.

Charles Yale Harrison was a private in the Canadian Army, and fought in France and Belgium with the Royal Montreal Regiment until he was wounded during the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918. Generals Die in Bed was published in 1930 in England, after being rejected by several American publishers. However, it received international acclaim; a Spanish edition appeared in 1930 and French and Russian translations were released in 1931.

McMaster University Library