The Theatre of War

Marius Kwint reveals long-standing connections between the military and thespian worlds.

It is often assumed that the strangely theatrical quality of public life in general, and of warfare in particular, is peculiar to our media-saturated post-modernity. However, a strong relationship between military affairs and the more theatrical aspects of the arts – including the so-called ‘visual’ arts – is long established in European culture, as it probably is in many others. And not merely in the generalised sense of armies displaying their lethal powers through parades, snappy uniforms and in the oft-quoted ‘terrible beauty’ of war itself. The arts have long been valued for their ability to impose distinct and graphic lines on the fog of actual battle, and give a commemorative human shape to metaphysical notions such as nation, morality, destiny and history.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.