Jill Lepore on the Connection Between War and Narrative
Something I’ve been thinking about:
“Words about war are often lies. False reports, rumors, deceptions. One nation’s propaganda may be its enemy’s profanity: truth in war is relative (which is not to say that some kinds of killing aren’t worse than others).
“To say that war cultivates language is not to ignore what else war does: war kills. Indeed, it is the central claim of this book that wounds and words–the injuries and their interpretation–cannot be separated, that acts of war generate acts of narration, and that both types of acts are often joined in a common purpose: defining the geographical, political, cultural, and sometimes racial and national boundaries between peoples.”
From The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity (Knopf, 1998)