Penguin Book of World War 1 Stories

Ref: C3125124

At each session we will read and discuss two stories from the The Penguin book of First World War Stories. These will include stories of war by combatants, support staff, and those on the home-front. There will be stories of memories of war, and stories that trace the historical impact of war. Prepare to be surprised, amused, entertained and drawn into unexpected acts of reflection, by writers familiar and not so well-remembered, from across all of the decades of the twentieth-century. We will consider how traditional, contemporary and modern approaches to story writing reflect the attitudes and values of their period, and of ours, using background information from the tutor, and our individual responses to the texts. In the first session we will discuss The Bowmen, by Arthur Machen (1st story) and Chanson Triste, by A. W. Wells (9th story).

Course aim

To read and discuss selected stories from the anthology of stories related to the First World War.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Compare and contrast approaches to story telling.
  • Identify some of the elements that make a short story successful.
  • Discuss the historical context of given short stories.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Each session will focus on two of the stories from the anthology. It would be useful to have read them in advance.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Please bring a copy of 'The Penguin book of First World War Stories' (Penguin Classics) ISBN-10: 0141442158

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Please read The Bowmen, by Arthur Machen (1st story) and Chanson Triste, by A. W. Wells (9th story) for discussion in the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course outline

Penguin Book of World War 1 Stories Course Outline

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.

Please call 0300 303 3464 to enquire about enrolling on this course.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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