Chapter

Denis Argent: Between the acts

James Hinton

in Nine Wartime Lives

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199574667
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574667.003.0008
Denis Argent: Between the acts

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This chapter focuses on wartime diarist Denis Argent. Denis, a young journalist, was twenty-two when war broke out. Registered as a conscientious objector, he was conscripted into the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC). Ineligible for officers' training as a member of the NCC, Denis cultivated a staunchly ‘other ranks’ attitude, and his friendships spanned what was often a gulf separating middle-class from working-class pacifists. Unlike most accounts of Second World War conscientious objection, written by convinced pacifists, Argent's diaries describe the breakdown of pacifist convictions in the face of the Nazi threat. Conscription disrupted both his career plans and his love life, and he experienced the war as a time ‘between the acts’, as he put it borrowing the title from Virginia Woolf's last novel: ‘as if what I call myself was still floating unattached, and didn't settle’.

Keywords: wartime diaries; diarists; Second World War; Denis Argent; pacifists; conscription

Chapter.  7225 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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