Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Writing the Radio WarLiterature, Politics and the BBC, 1939-1945$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ian Whittington

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474413596

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474413596.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

Versions of Neutrality: Denis Johnston’s War Reports

Versions of Neutrality: Denis Johnston’s War Reports

Chapter:
(p.117) Chapter 4 Versions of Neutrality: Denis Johnston’s War Reports
Source:
Writing the Radio War
Author(s):

Ian Whittington

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474413596.003.0005

As his job with the BBC News Division took him from the deserts of Egypt, through Italy, to the gates of Buchenwald, Irish playwright Denis Johnston struggled with a multiply determined neutrality which inhered partly in his role of war correspondent, and partly in circumstances specific to his own life. In particular, Johnston sought to balance the ideal of journalistic objectivity with the need to convey the emotional horrors of the struggle, all while serving as a politically neutral Protestant Irishman within a semi-autonomous British broadcaster. Johnston’s position as a neutral mediator was intensified by the development of newly compact recording technologies which allowed him to record actuality broadcasts, commentary, and interviews in the field—in a sense, to allow the war to speak for itself. For all these traces of immediacy, after the war Johnston would frame his experience in a heavily embellished and fantastical memoir, Nine Rivers from Jordan (1953). By weaving together Johnston’s war broadcasts, his journals, and his memoir, this chapter illustrates how journalistic objectivity and literary experiment existed in productive tension during the war; at the same time, Johnston’s postwar response to the atrocities of the holocaust reveal a journalist shaken by the moral vacuum revealed in wartime Europe.

Keywords:   Johnston, Denis, War Correspondents, War Report, Holocaust, Buchenwald, Objectivity, Ireland, Recording technology, Nine Rivers from Jordan

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.