Anthem for Doomed Youth: Twelve Soldier Poets of the First World War Hardcover – 24 Oct 2002
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'Celebrate[s] not just the strength but the variousness of Great War poetry.' -- Times Literary Supplement, December 6, 2002
'Movingly blends selections of poetry with commentary and documents.' -- Boyd Tonkin, The Independent, November 9, 2002
'Tells again the story of young Britons whose response to their experience on the Western Front has become a crucial part of our 'myth' of the Great War.' -- Robert McCrum, Guardian, November 9, 2002
A haunting portrait of twelve 'war poets'See all Product description
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Not so. The poems are carefully selected, the short biographies thorough and sensitive. In this book, the dedicated fan will be delighted to find images of the poets' original manuscripts and scribbled corrections. Particularly charming is an early draft of Owen's untouchable classic, 'Anthem For Doomed Youth', complete with Sassoon's pencilled corrections. One can almost see the two of them battling over the paper, Owen submitting reverently to Sassoon's 'lordly dictums about poetry'.
And such is the nature of this book; the poets seem almost to step out of the pages, living reminders of those dreadful days that are 'too terrible to remember, too important to forget'. The famous faces are there - and this quite literally; the discerning female reader cannot help but catch her breath over the Byronically devastating photographs of such aesthetic giants as Brooke and Sassoon, sympathetically shot in a chiaroscuro of shadow and light. But then, there are the others: Rosenburg, Sorley; equally splendid poets who have, for some reason, not flourished in their fame in the same way that Sassoon, Owen and Brooke have done.
The book may begin with Brooke, the idealistic, almost-a-soldier-poet whose patriotic whimsy contrasts so fiercely with Sassoon's harsh realism, but it leads us into a No Man's Land of men who do not deserve to be forgotten, 'the legions that have suffered and are dust.'