Pat Barker: Life Class

(2188 words)

Pat Barker’s most recent novel, Life Class (2007), is in many ways a neat culmination of her current body of work. The novel returns to the Great War, the site of Barker’s greatest commercial success, the Regeneration trilogy (1991-95), but it also picks up the concern of her early work with twentieth-century working-class life and the struggles of gender and sexuality; perhaps most powerfully, it engages with and develops her later ideas about the role of art and of the artist in the face of trauma, and in particular, war. This juxtaposition of art and war may be seen to form the crux of her latest novel. The life class of Barker’s text is not only a site for the study of the human body, but of the …

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Gildersleeve, Jessica. "Life Class". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 April 2008
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]