Katherine Ebury

Katherine Ebury is Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, currently working on an AHRC-funded project about modern literature, psychoanalysis, and the death penalty. Her previous publications include Modernism and Cosmology and Joyce’s Non-Fiction Writings, as well as a range of articles and chapters on modernism and science including astronomy, racial science and eugenics, and vivisection.


Diagnosing Shell Shock in Literary Representations of the Military Death Penalty after World War I

This short essay examines how, in the immediate aftermath of World War I, a range of British publications inflected by the diagnostic logic of psychoanalysis helped to facilitate a cultural processing of the widespread use of the military death penalty. Freudian thought, transmitted by the work of the famous shell-shock doctor W. H. R. Rivers, influenced the representations of the military death penalty in an impressive array of popular texts from various genres, including A. P. Herbert’s novel The Secret Battle (1919), the Labour MP Ernest Thurtle’s testimony pamphlet Shootings at Dawn (1920), and A. D. Gristwood’s novella The Coward (1927).