Atkinson, Joanna Mary (1978)
English poetry of the First World War and its critical and public reception.
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While other researchers have sought to put poetry of the First World War into perspective in the general context of twentieth century verse, it is proposed that this study will focus principally on the contemporary response - of readers, reviewers and critics - to this remarkable poetic efflorescence between the years 1914 and 1918. A general survey of the situation in English poetry on the threshold of the War is initially presented, taking into account the reading public's expectation of poetry and the current critical dicta pertaining to the composition of verse˙ The three subsequent chapters examine in some detail the different types of War Poetry - Georgian-influenced, Imagist-inclined, non-combatant - in con-junction with analysis of the particular readership to which each appealed and the response of reviewers to the different modes, while the final chapter traces the evolution of certain themes characteristic of First World War Poetry, such as the changing concept of sacrifice and the development of the important camaraderie-motif. The brief Epilogue which completes the study assesses the overall response of readers, reviewers and literary critics of the time to First World War Poetry, and briefly evaluates the extent to which such verse contributed to the formulation of a 'new poetic' in the decades after 1918.
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Institution: University of London, Royal Holloway College (United Kingdom).