The Return of the Soldier
Set during World War I on an isolated country estate just outside London, Rebecca West’s haunting novel The Return of the Soldier follows Chris Baldry, a shell-shocked captain suffering from amnesia, as he makes a bittersweet homecoming to the three women who have helped shape his life. Will the devoted wife he can no longer recollect, the favorite cousin he remembers only as a childhood friend, and the poor innkeeper’s daughter he once courted leave Chris to languish in a safe, dreamy past—or will they help him recover his memory so that he can return to the front? The answer is revealed through a heartwrenching, unexpected sacrifice.
The PEP Reading Group will discuss Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier as part of its Spring 2019 series. This semester’s series will explore literature of World War One in order to recognize and remember the recent one-hundred-year anniversary of the end of that conflict.
Led by WashU faculty, the Prison Education Project Reading Group (est. 2014) convenes each semester in the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center to consider a series of texts. Designed to sharpen participants’ reading and critical thinking skills, increase expose to significant and interesting texts, and to promote an intellectual environment within MECC, the Reading Group also builds up the skills needed for participants to become successful applicants to the Prison Education Project.
Image: Käthe Kollwitz, The Volunteers, Plate 2, War, 1921/22, woodcut, Kn 173 © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln
Book Description: Penguin Books