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Scars Upon My Heart: Women's Poetry and Verse of the First World War [Paperback]

Catherine Reilly
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

2 Feb 2006

Your battle wounds are scars upon my heart' wrote Vera Brittain in a poem to her beloved brother, four days before he died in June 1918. The rediscovery of TESTAMENT OF YOUTH has reminded a new generation of the bitter sufferings of women as well as men in the terrible madness of the First World War. This, the first anthology of women war poets for over sixty years, will come as a surprise to many. It shows, for example, that women were writing protest poetry before Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, and that the view of 'the women at home', ignorant and idealistic, was quite false.

Many of these poems come out of direct experiences of nursing the victims of trench warfare, or the pain of lovers, brothers, sons lost. Poets include: Nancy Cunard, Rose Macaulay, Charlotte Mew, Alice Meynell, Edith Nesbit, Edith Sitwell, Marie Stopes, Katharine Tynan. Here, as elsewhere, 'the poetry is in the pity' - a moving record of women's experience of war.


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Scars Upon My Heart: Women's Poetry and Verse of the First World War + Journey's End (Penguin Modern Classics) + Regeneration (Regeneration Trilogy)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (2 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844082253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844082254
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

A diverse and moving collection of women's poetry and verse of the First World War.

About the Author

Catherine Reilly was born in Stretford and educated in Manchester, held an M.Litt. from Oxford University and was a specialist on the poetry of the two world wars. She died, aged 80, in September 2005.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry's Forgotten Voices 29 Feb 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A long overdue anthology of women's poetry from a time that seemed for along while, to belong exclusively to the more famous and tragic male war poets. This collection is a poignant answer to Wilfred Owen's condemnation of women as almost extraneous to the horror taking place around them. There are poems which reflect loss and the fear of loss. Poems by nurses and VAD's about the terrible injuries they treat and witness. Poems which are valid social statements by women working in munitions factories and as clippies. Poems by mothers, sisters, sweethearts and wives. The overwhelming feeling of being part of Vera Britain's 'lost generation', and the bitterness of losing their own claim on the future through the loss of their menfolk. Most of these poems are moving, some of them truly heart-wrenching. This book is a treasured member of my library and the inspiration for hours of searching through dusty poetry sections of second-hand bookshops for the forgotten women poets of this time.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This anthology is the result of the bibliographical work of its editor, Catherine Reilly, who discovered no less than 532 published women war poets existed for the FWW period. Here we have an attempt to make up for the incredible lack of women's war poetry in the majority of the mainstream anthologies (most of which are edited by men). For those interested in women's poetry, or poetry of the FWW period this anthology is worth having - it conveys some of the range of poetic expressions of the FWW experience by women, and shows that some women poets at least (such as Rose Macaulay and Carola Oman) did have a good idea of what the FWW was like for those on active service, contrary to the accusations levelled at women by 'trench' poets such as Owen, Sassoon and Rosenberg. I recommend it strongly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best anthology of Womens poetry from the War 12 July 2009
By Laura
Format:Paperback
You get a real sense of what the War was like through Womens eyes from this anthology. I brought it for my A-Level in English Literature and whilst only a few of the poems were of any use to me, i enjoyed reading all of them. Honestly,i found poetry quite difficult so it took me a while to 'figure out' some of them but it was useful to be able to reference different types of Women's poetry for essay writing, annoyingly it never came up in the real exam!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars poetry by women in wartime 11 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although some of the poems are quite florid, they are a product of the Victorian and Edwardian age which they represented; there are some gems among the poems which are more concise and appeal more because they aren't wordy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanted the womens point of view to WW1. 28 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am hoping to use this book as a starting point to a Commemorative Embroidery project for the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War
in 2014.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful reading 4 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely collection of war-time poetry and useful if researching women and the war effort. It reflects a cross section of attitudes towards war-time events and some poems are very moving.
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