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Civilians and War in Europe, 1618–1815$
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Erica Charters, Eve Rosenhaft, and Hannah Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846317118

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317699

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Conflicted Identities: Soldiers, Civilians and the Representation of War

Conflicted Identities: Soldiers, Civilians and the Representation of War

(p.147) 10 Conflicted Identities: Soldiers, Civilians and the Representation of War
Civilians and War in Europe, 1618–1815

Philip Shaw

Liverpool University Press

In his painting The Dead Soldier, Joseph Wright of Derby highlights the complex relationship between civilians and soldiers during the war. The painting, which was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in May 1789, a few weeks before the French Revolution broke out, shows a dead British soldier, his grieving wife, and their child. In this image, not only were the legal, political, and social distinctions between civilians and combatants shown, but also the effects of war on ordinary men, women, and children. In the process, Wright prompts some reflections on the relations between war, critical debate, and the nature of citizenship. In a sense, The Dead Soldier may be seen as an anti-war painting.

Keywords:   Joseph Wright, anti-war painting, Dead Soldier, war, civilians, soldiers, citizenship

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