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Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Tim Kendall
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The First World War produced an extraordinary flowering of poetic talent, poets whose words commemorate the conflict more personally and as enduringly as monuments in stone. Lines such as 'What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?' and 'They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old' have come to express the feelings of a nation about the horrors and aftermath of war. This new anthology provides a definitive record of the achievements of the Great War poets. As well
as offering generous selections from the celebrated soldier-poets, including Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, and Ivor Gurney, it also incorporates less well-known writing by civilian and women poets. Music hall and trench songs provide a further lyrical perspective on the War. A
general introduction charts the history of the war poets' reception and challenges prevailing myths about the war poets' progress from idealism to bitterness. The work of each poet is prefaced with a biographical account that sets the poems in their historical context.

Although the War has now passed out of living memory, its haunting of our language and culture has not been exorcised. Its poetry survives because it continues to speak to and about us.

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What makes this anthology invaluable is the attention to detail. Not only is there an acutely perceptive general introduction, but all the poets - including the often misunderstood Rupert Brooke - receive a sympathetic and well judge individual introduction, together with a wealth of biographical and bibliographical information. (Agenda, N. S. Thompson)

Kendall's introductory essay is a thoughtful contribution to the history of the war poetry. With the political point scoring that will dominate the major part of the media and political debate [during] the centenary, Kendall's collection reminds us of the human cost of that conflict, and of any conflict. (The Use of English, Anil Malhotra)

Kendall's judicious selections, and his concise and useful introductions to each of the chosen poets, suggest that his anthology will become a standard work (Sean O'Brien, The Times Literary Supplement)

The Oxford University Press anthology The Poetry of the First World War, edited by Tim Kendall, offers a counterweight to this year's public commemorations and it is a superb selection. (David Collard, Times Literary Supplement)

Superb anthology. (Mail on Sunday)

A superb, unbeatable collection (Bel Mooney, Daily Mail)

The best poetry collection I read brilliantly edited, with illuminating notes. (Jerard Bretts, the guardian)

This is a thoroughly well produced anthology of powerful and fascinating poems. (Sheenagh Pugh)

This is much the best selection yet made ... Kendall selects brilliantly. (Peter McDonald, Times Literary Supplement)

As a student-friendly definition of the Great War canon, and as a piece of meticulous scholarship, this one will be hard to beat. (George Simmers, Great War Fiction)

This is a book worthy of any bookshelf. (Evil Cyclist's Blog)

Superb. (Weekly Standard)

This is a wonderful resource, with a useful critical introduction and many poems by both canonical and non-canonical writers that are not commonly included. I particularly like the fact that the volume is structured by author rather than thematically or chronologically, as it takes student readers in particular away from a simplistic perception of First World War poetry as evolving from naive patriotism to disillusionment. (Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus, Northumbria University)

About the Author

Tim Kendall has taught at the universities of Oxford, Newcastle, and Bristol before becoming Professor and Head of English at the University of Exeter. His publications include Modern English War Poetry (OUP, 2006), and The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry (ed.) (OUP, 2007), and he is writing the VSI on War Poetry (forthcoming, 2014). He is also co-editor of the Complete Literary Works of Ivor Gurney, (forthcoming, OUP).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 906 KB
  • Print Length: 357 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199581444
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (25 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FF7IG5O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tim Kendall was born in Plymouth in 1970. After graduating from Christ Church, Oxford, he studied for a D.Phil on Northern Irish poetry, then held posts in Oxford, Newcastle and Bristol. He joined Exeter as Professor of English Literature in 2006, and became Head of Department in 2009.

His principal area of research is twentieth-century poetry, on which he has published a number of monographs. His latest book is Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (Oxford University Press, October 2013), and he will be presenting an hour-long documentary for BBC 4 to be broadcast in 2014 titled Ivor Gurney: The Poet Who Loved the War.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, informative, expert 26 Dec. 2013
By Sheenagh Pugh VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very scholarly, thorough anthology by a man who knows his subject unusually well, as any regular reader of his blog "War Poets" will be aware. The introductory notes to each poet, and the notes on poems at the back, are very full and informative; the chronology of the war years is helpful and though there's no index of poets, it can be argued that this is not really necessary; there aren't that many represented and the table of contents suffices.

This is because, as Kendall states in the introduction, he has concentrated on the "most important" poets who come within his remit of "poetry related to the War by poets from Britain and Ireland who lived through part or all of it". ("Most important", of course, is a judgement open to debate, but we'll come to that later.) This is almost the polar opposite of the approach taken by Vivien Noakes's "Voices of Silence" anthology, which concentrated on lesser-known voices to give a wider overview of the response to the war than might emerge from the well-known Sassoon-Owen-Rosenberg axis. Nonetheless the two have some principles in common. Noakes's anthology included several women; Kendall's prioritising of poetic quality does not, commendably, lead him to ignore, as some anthologists have done, the contribution of female poets who did after all live through the war as much as men did (indeed sometimes serving as nurses at the front) and whose take on it is both equally relevant and, in several cases, badly underrated by critics.

The real difference between the two seems to me that Noakes is primarily interested in what poetry of the time reveals about people's experience of, and response to, the war, while Kendall is more concerned with what effect the war had on English poetry.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent modern anthology of WW1 poetry 1 Oct. 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
With the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war next year, there are multitudes of books already being published about that conflict. The poetry of the war is available in many anthologies but what makes this one different and worth reading is its modern and inclusive take on the canon of WW1 poetry, and its brief but intelligent introduction.

The cover which eschews all those poppies and silhouetted officers in sepia tints announces its contemporary stance: while the canonical Sassoon, Owen, Graves et al. are here, this also offers selections from women who also, of course, served in France. The women poets here are especially interesting for the ambiguity of their responses to war: they experienced both the trauma of conflict and the secret excitement of adventure, liberated from the gendered confines of Edwardian England.

The last section adds in trench-songs and music-hall ballads, giving us a sense of the way in which popular culture responded to the war alongside some of the more literary reactions.

Kendall's introduction is succinct and sadly too brief, but opens up some of the ways in which modern scholars have nuanced readings of WW1 poetry, interrogating some of the well-worn myths about it. So this is an excellent new anthology that approaches this body of literature with some freshness without losing what is valuable in the `traditional' - highly recommended, even if you've read other collections of this verse.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be THE anthology 23 Dec. 2013
By Simon Tavener VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I spent much of my youth studying the poetry of the First World War. I somehow managed 5 years of it - including O and A Levels!

Our A level set text was 'Up the Line to Death' - which for many years has been the go-to anthology for the subject. It is a very thorough and well-structured but this new collection rivals it - and, to my mind, surpasses it.

It is more selective in the verse presented - with many lesser-known writers getting some welcome attention. This is particularly the case for the female poets who were very often overlooked at this time.

I particularly enjoyed the section of popular songs (a good number of which will be familiar to anyone who knows 'Oh What a Lovely War') but what really sets this apart is the excellent biographically essays that accompany the poems.

This really is a book that anyone with an interest in poetry of the early 20th Century should own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent anthology 9 Dec. 2013
By J. H. Bretts VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are so many anthologies of First World War poetry to choose from. Why go for this one?

There are a number of reasons:

1. Tim Kendall provides an illuminating introduction, biographical information on each poet and excellent notes on the poems themselves, which are presented in authoritative versions. Without being overwhelming and academic the notes really help explain some of the references that might be lost on today's reader.

2. All the major poets are well represented but there are less known women and civilian poets included as well.

3. Some other anthologies only include poems written during the war. This one goes further , finding space for some moving post-war reflections by Edmund Blunden and others.

4. There are some wonderfully poignant music hall song lyrics as well.

Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars War - who needs it?
That so much sadness, melancholia, hope for better times, despair, humour, regret - can come out of the horror of war drives home what a terrible mistake it is to think that the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by bal of balham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great primer - but where's Alun?
I missed the First World poets at school and have often thought about filling in the gaps. This book was a great way of doing exactly that, featuring all the names I associated... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful collection
This collection of WW1 poetry features work from a range of people - from well-known poets and soldiers like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, to civilian and female poets. Read more
Published 6 months ago by AR
3.0 out of 5 stars Another year, another anthology of First World War poetry
Tim Kendall's 2013 Poetry of the First World War is certainly a useful anthology, but more as an introductory volume rather than for those more well versed in its subject. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Trevor Willsmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Moving poetry, limited accompanying notes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strange Hells
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent selection well presented
Timed no doubt to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 this is an excellent collection of World War One poetry. Read more
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It was quite a coincidence that this book arrived the day after I had seen the stage adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' 'Birdsong'. Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Passing Bells
Review of Poetry of the First World War – An Anthology edited by Tim Kendall – Oxford World’s Classics OUP 2014

This looks like the definitive anthology of British and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Withnail67
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