The martial literature of the eighteenth century shows an increasing preoccupation with atrocity. By the middle decades of the century, writers imagining war routinely include narratives in which cruel enemy soldiers brutally mistreat and kill innocent civilians. The development reflects an affective ethical attitude towards war, according to which individual actors are responsible for its effects as well as leaders. It combines sympathy and moral outrage with a strong desire for retribution.
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John Richardson; Atrocity in Mid Eighteenth-Century War Literature. Eighteenth-Century Life 1 April 2009; 33 (2): 92–114. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-2008-047
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