Alice Kelly

Alice Kelly is Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Sussex. She is the author of Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) and a critical edition of Edith Wharton’s First World War reportage, Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), as well as academic and public essays on modernist and First World War literature.


COVID, Commemoration, and Cultural Memory

In a striking moment in Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address in January 2021, the new head of state asked the nation to join him “in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those we lost this past year to the pandemic.” This was, he told the millions watching worldwide, his “first act as President.” It was a moment unprecedented in Inaugural Addresses. Biden, in both personally gracious and canny political terms, recognized the need for a moment of collective mourning and remembrance, a small act of commemoration as a necessary part of moving forward as a nation.