Birmingham War Studies

Keeping with our multi-disciplined nature, here is an essay by English Literature student Dawn Redman.

Wilfred Owen grew in stature posthumously, to become the most widely recognised spokesperson for his generation of First World War poets. Initially published by contemporary poet and mentor, Seigfried Sassoon together with editor Edith Sitwell, his work drew withering condemnation, analysis and critical support in the years that followed his death. The lexicon of commentaries, stretch from the immediate post-war years, to the writings of the twenty-first century Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, confirming the equality and continued relevance, of both the poet and the critique. The secondary sources reviewed will therefore span some ninety years.

In a cruel irony that paralleled Owen’s realist verse, he was unable to secure publication in his own lifetime. The poet’s work contrasted sharply with the more valedictory, jingoistic clarion of war, viewed in the work of Brooke and…

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