Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Pearl James

Second Advisor

Dr. Jordan Brower


Industrialization in 19th-Century America yielded a regrettable by-product: the modernization of warfare. Mass armies, technological innovation, and unprecedented rates of industrial productivity prompted the creation of machines designed to inspire fear, increase destructive capability, and inflict mass-death. The modernization of warfare altered forever the way war was experienced and represented literarily. Authors who attempted to represent the Civil and Spanish-American Wars, as well as World War I, articulated modernized warfare with a disillusionment which stems from the tragically dehumanizing effects of mechanical violence on an industrial scale. Myth, Mockery, & Misery argues that as far back as 1862, romantic idealization no longer seemed a tenable strategy for representing warfare— even in fiction. An examination the Civil War poetry of Herman Melville, Stephen Crane’s Spanish-American War sketches, and Ellen N. La Motte’s World War I memoir, not only pushes the advent of American disillusionment narratives further back on the historical timeline, but in so doing, evinces an aesthetical shift – or evolution – of disillusionment concurrent with the modernization of warfare.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)