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Language and Life Narrativisation in WW2 memoirs: a stylistic perspective

I am currently researching into the nature, functions and significance of British Army WW2 memoirs, focusing specifically on selected lengthy, European theatre, and Prisoner of War personal, written and yet non-commercially published accounts. I investigate links between such memoirs’ style and meaning-making, whilst adding to our knowledge of the great diversity of contributions made by British and non-British personnel in the British Army during WW2. Since ‘[i]n her hour of need, Britain had called upon the services of her dominions and imperial territories to help prosecute the war’ (Moore and Fedorowich, 1996: 9), colonized men’s British Army services require attention. It is the services of one such colonized man I look to for my pilot study; I engage in stylistic analysis of the Greek language WW2 memoir of my grandfather, Cyprus Regiment sergeant Phylactis Aristokleous, examining his story-telling technique, and interrogating the relationship between experience, memory, life narrativisation, identity and story-tellability. I draw connections between children’s literature and war memoirs, and address/problematize matters such as whether everything happens for a reason, and whether everything is a learning experience of sorts. It is here that I highlight, and explain, a narrative pattern which allows heroization to emerge: disnarration. I also address speech reporting, and focus on Aristokleous’ use of foreign languages in his memoir. I propose he word-for-word remembered things said in these foreign languages especially as this was a period of his life where he used said languages the most. I also highlight that Greek proverbial use seems particularly helpful to Aristokleous’ memoirising and its tellability/evaluation. The wider research positions his memoir in the context of wider British Army WW2 memoir literature, by studying a further 11 neglected (English language) comparable memoirs held in Leeds’ Second World War Experience Centre and the University of Leeds’ WW2 Liddle special collection.