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Although Death of a Hero ranks among the most potent pieces of antiwar fiction ever published, it is so much more than that. Bitterly recollecting the bourgeois complacency, hypocrisy, and ill—founded patriotism of the nation in which he spent his youth, Aldington mounts a scalding critique of prewar social values—values that, he suggests, were not swept aside by the war but actually helped to make the global catastrophe inevitable. As war gradually approaches, Winterbourne finds himself perpetually at odds with the world around him. A boy of artistic talents, he has been born to parents wholly incapable of understanding his gifts.

Just as his youthful humanity begins to flourish, he is sent to a school that seems bent on destroying his noblest instincts and blunting his most delicate perceptions. Seeking love, he falls under the influence of two women—Elizabeth, whom he marries, and Fanny, whom he takes as a mistress—who are driven by carnal passions and selfish desires that he can only partly comprehend. What finally awaits him, however, is a still less comprehensible destiny: Acerbic, merciless, and sometimes despairing in its anger, Death of a Hero does more than chronicle the literal death of its protagonist.

With frightening and unerring precision, it dissects the process by which a war can reduce a brave and decent man into a shattered walking ghost. It tells of how an innocent spirit is gradually coarsened and corrupted by a philistine society. Stained with the guilt of a society founded on lies, cursed with the brutality that continually reasserts itself in the human heart, George Winterbourne dies not once but perpetually, and his world dies with him.

Death of a Hero

Around the edges of this dark and brooding work, faint hopes for redemption arise, emerging from the resilient beauty of nature, the equally resilient courage of men, and the recurrent ecstasy of new love. Born Edward Godfree Aldington in Portsmouth, England, in , Richard Aldington spent his early adulthood in the heart of the nascent Modernist literary movement. He married fellow poet H.

Hilda Doolittle in and, with her, pioneered the school of poetry that Ezra Pound named Imagism. He was, at various times, a close associate of T.


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Aldington also had a significant friendship—and, later, a savage falling out with future Nobel laureate T. Aldington joined the British Army in and served as an officer in the storied Royal Sussex Regiment. The couple eventually separated.

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Still on friendly terms, they divorced in Is he right about this? How, if at all, is the novel stylistically reminiscent of jazz? What may have motivated Aldington to give away his ending? Did he make the right artistic choice? In effect, Aldington tells his story twice: Apart from their length, in what important ways do these two tellings differ?


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Why do you think Aldington chose this organization for his book? Although it is best known as an antiwar novel, Death of a Hero is approximately two thirds complete before George Winterbourne joins the army. Discuss these relationships in terms of their love, passion, and morality, or lack thereof. What aspects of life in these schools particularly enrage him? Richard Aldington was a founding poet of the Imagist movement and a novelist who conveyed the horror of war through his written works such as Death of a Hero.

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He was also known for his work as a translator,… More about Richard Aldington. The quality of writing about the war should rank this novel among the classics about World War I warfare and even for all time. About Richard Aldington Richard Aldington was a founding poet of the Imagist movement and a novelist who conveyed the horror of war through his written works such as Death of a Hero. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Praise "[ Death of a Hero ] takes its place among the half dozen superb stories of the war that will not let men forget.

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