France in World War I in The Town (Location)

Location Key: 
Display Label: 
Europe in World War I
Map Icon: 
Authority : 
Text (when unambiguous)

The pan-European landscape of the World War I era appears in the novel in a number of different places and ways. Gavin Stevens earns a doctorate from Heidelberg University, in Germany, just before the War begins. At one point he planned to volunteer "as a stretcher bearer with the German army," but on his way back to the U.S. through "Amsterdam," he "admitted to himself that the Germany he could have loved that well had died somewhere between the Liege and Namur forts and the year 1848" (109). Germany conquered both these Belgian forts in the early stages of the war. 1848 is a significant date in the creation of a unified Germany. Gavin instead chooses to serve with the French as a stretcher-bearer working with the American Field Service "just behind Verdun" - the scene of protracted fighting during 1916 (110). After being wounded there, and spending some time at home, Gavin returns to France with the Y.M.C.A., accompanied by Montgomery Ward Snopes were in charge of a canteen at a "little town" Chalons (120). Snopes manages to turn the operation into a brothel, and when Gavin dismisses him, he sets up "that-ere new canteen" in Paris, with "more and more entertaining ladies" (121). Before returning to the U.S., Snopes acquires a collection of pornographic images in Paris as well. On a more heroic note, the Sartoris twins, Bayard and John, "go to England into the Royal Flying Corps" (110); the story of their service over the skies in France is told in several other texts. And a company of soldiers raised in Yoknapatawpha by Jackson McLendon serves with the American Expeditionary Force, which went to France in 1917.

Site of Event
Combat Zone