Q) For convenience, perhaps, we divide the study of texts into subject areas, so that we group together the different ways in which we communicate with others. We group together the study of the use of words – in poetry, prose or plays – and call it the study of literature. You will be able to think of other subject areas, of course. Perhaps you might already be thinking about how you would classify the study of war memorials. Was it history? Art history? Architecture? Jot down your answer now.
YS ) The classification of war memorials as a specific subject type is not simple, these public structures straddle many groupings. They can be seen as either architecture or art or both, despite their solemn nature, many war memorials are appealing in their artistry. As texts, they are a public record of those, often from either a specific locale at home, or a specific battleground, who have died. It can be argued that war memorials both glorify death in war, and protest the same. They are historic documents, art and architecture, protest and veneration in one.
If you found this difficult, so did I! If all the war memorials were buildings, or sculptured monuments, we could label the study of them reasonably easily – as architecture. But that would be to say that all memorials take a certain form, which is clearly not the case. What we can say for certain is that the losses, particularly of the First World War, were commemorated in most towns and villages of many participating nations – in tangible, structural form. However, as you may already have decided, memorials can take written, and artistic, form through the use of a variety of media; and it seemed to us that we can, through extending our use of the theme, introduce you to two subject groups of texts – art and literature.