Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Final Exam—Am. Lit. 1918: The Doughboy's Contribution to American Literature

The American experience on the battlefields of Europe had a tremendous influence on the nation's literature for the rest of the 20th century. Name these literary notables from the AEF.  (Answers below, but don't peek. BTW, Hemingway was not a Doughboy, and Fitzgerald never made it to the battlefields, so I did not include them in this quiz. MH)

Back from the Fight, Townsend 


1. He served as an artillery officer with the 4th Artillery Brigade, 4th Division. He would later create the detective Mr. Moto and write satirical novels about the upper crust, including the award-winning The Late George Apley.

2. Another Doughboy artillery officer, he would win three Pulitzer Prizes for poetry and a play about Job, and would serve as Librarian of Congress.

3. A sergeant staffer on Stars and Stripes, he was already an established drama critic before the war and, later, when he was nationally known, his unique personality inspired one of America's greatest comedies, The Man Who Came to Dinner.

4. Wounded while serving with the 28th Pennsylvania Division in the Second Battle of the Marne, he wrote one of the greatest Doughboy memoirs, Toward the Flame. Then he dedicated himself to writing historical novels, most famously, the best-selling Anthony Adverse .

5. This sergeant with the 79th Division, who participated in the capture of Montfaucon, later became one of the founders of "hard-boiled" American fiction with such works as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity.

6. What about those Marines?! For some reason the Marine Brigade of the 2nd Division produced at least four notable authors of memoirs, novels, and plays about the AEF at war.

a. After losing a leg at Belleau Wood, he turned to writing. He collaborated on a famous play about the Yanks at war, What Price Glory?, and later wrote an anecdotal but comprehensive history of the American experience in World War I, The Doughboys.

 b. His innovative novel, Company K, includes the Unknown Soldier as a character. 

c. His novel, Through the Wheat, chronicles the psychological destruction of a young Marine.

d. A career Marine who was awarded the Navy Cross in the Great War, he chronicled the intensity of combat on the Western Front in Fix Bayonets!

7. A pioneering neurosurgeon who served with the British and American Medical Services, he wrote a great memoir of the war, From a Surgeon's Journal, and was later an award-winning biographer.

8. This authorial team were both veterans of the Lafayette Flying Corps and the U.S. Air  Service. Their most famous collaboration was the Bounty trilogy.


1. John P. Marquand

2. Archibald MacLeish

3. Alexander Wolcott

4. Hervey Allen

5. James M. Cain

6a. Laurence Stallings

6b. William March Campbell

6c. Thomas Boyd

6d. John W. Thomason

7. Harvey Cushing

8. James Norman Hall and  Charles Nordhoff

Source:  The Journal of the World War I Historical Society