This book examines the myriad identities and portrayals of Edith Cavell, as they have been constructed and handed down by propagandists, biographers and artists. Cavell was first introduced to the British public through a series of Foreign Office statements which claimed to establish the “facts” of her case. Her own voice, along with those of her family, colleagues and friends, were muted, as a monolithic image of a national heroine and martyr emerged. The book identifies two main areas of tension in her commemoration: firstly, the contrast between complexity of her own behaviour and motivations and the simplicity of the “Cavell Legend” that was constructed around her; and, secondly, the mismatch between the attempts of individuals and professional organisations to commemorate her life and work, and the public construction of a “heroine” who could be of value to the nation state.
- Department of History, English, Linguistics and Music - Professor of Nursing History
- School of Music, Humanities and Media
- Centre for Health Histories