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Modern English War Poetry
Tim Kendall's study offers the fullest account to date of a tradition of modern English war poetry. Stretching from the Boer War to the present day, it focuses on many of the twentieth-century's finest poets - combatants and non-combatants alike - and considers how they address the ethical challenges of making art out of violence. Poetry, we are often told, makes nothing happen. But war makes poetry happen: the war poet cannot regret, and must exalt at, even the most
appalling experiences. Modern English War Poetry not only assesses the problematic relationship between war and its poets, it also encourages an urgent reconsideration of the modern poetry canon and the (too often marginalised) position of war poetry within it. The aesthetic and ethical values on
which canonical judgements have been based are carefully scrutinized via a detailed analysis of individual poets. The poets discussed include Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Wilfred Owen, Charlotte Mew, Edward Thomas, Ivor Gurney, W. H. Auden, Keith Douglas, Ted Hughes, and Geoffrey Hill.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
As a critic unafraid to have opinions...Kendall is unsentimental in discriminating between the strengths and weaknesses of his men. * Jeremy Noel-Tod, TLS * ...a well-written and clearly argued account... * The Hardy Society Journal * an ambitious and powerful book... * James Bridges, The Ivor Gurney Society Journal * ...a valuable contribution to poetry criticism. tout court...enlightening and well-written survey * PN review * Simultaneously brilliant, wide-ranging and troubling * The Hardy Review * This is a feisty book; argumentative, enjoyable and I imagine deliberately contentious...Kendall's assertions and arguments...are complex, detailed, forceful, often persuasive...It moves away from the conventional, argues its case with detail and rigour and delights as much as annoys...this book will become the starting point for many a fruitful discussion. * R.K.R.Thornton, Friends of the Dymock Poets Newsletter * Teachers and scholars of modern British poetry will learn a good deal from Kendall...Kendall's comments on both form and content are also penetrating and useful... his discussion of the unique power and problems inherent in war poetry which will give this book a long shelf life... * Stephen E. Tabachnick, English Literature in Transition: 1880-1920 * Kendall's glosses, his gatherings from correspondence, memoir and criticism, his own judgements, urgings and insistences, and the energy of those convictions and his prose are most often impressive. * Steven Isenberg, Essays in Criticism * ...a feisty book, argumentative and enjoyable... * R. K. R. Thornton MLR *