About the BookBibliographical research in poetry composed in and around the years of the First World War reveals that hundreds of British men (both civilians and combatants) and women wrote thousands of poems encompassing a wide gamut of themes. From psychologically complex elegiac renderings and articulation of diverse forms of work experience on the one hand, to the chronicling of trench and combat experience on the other, these poems provide an absorbing literary and socio-political study of the times of the war.
To present a comprehensive critical scrutiny of the poetry of the First World War, the six chapters in this volume have been carefully composed. The first chapter explores the mood of the early years of the war by closely analysing the war sonnets of Rupert Brooke. The second chapter analyses the influence of John Keats on the poets of the First World War, especially on the verse of Wilfred Owen. The violent war frequently forced people to revise their faith and religious sensibility of the pre-war years. The third chapter of the book closely analyses Wilfred Owen’s war poetry, gradually tracing the evolution of a new religious sensibility during the course of the war.
The fourth and fifth chapters of this critical study concentrate exclusively on women’s poetic contribution during the years of the war. The first of these two chapters explores the complex psychodynamics of women’s grief, while the succeeding chapter analyses how war poetry chronicles female work experience during the war. The sixth and final chapter of the book integrates and combines both the male and female experience in war verse by closely analysing the pastoral motif in poems composed between 1914 and 1918. In assimilating women’s response, while critically examining the pastoral theme in Great War poetry (in the final chapter of this book) this study initiates and advocates the idea of an integrated critical approach in exploration of broad themes of war poetry. Thereby, it discards the earlier male centred and one-dimensional approach, undertaken by prior critics of war poetry.
The book shall add immense value to the critical studies in poetry, particularly that of the First World War period. It shall be useful to the students and teachers of English literature, especially poetry, and researchers in this field.About the Author/sArgha Banerjee, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English, St Xavier’s College, Kolkata. He completed his B.A. (English Honours), M.A. and subsequently M.Phil. in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He was a Commonwealth Research Scholar at the Department of English, University of Sussex, United Kingdom (2004-06) where he wrote his D.Phil thesis on poetry of the First World War. Dr. Banerjee has made several conference/seminar presentations both in India and abroad. His publications include Songs of the Soul—A Book of Poems (Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 2001) and Female Voices in Keats’s Poetry (New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers, 2002). Besides these, he has made several contributions to various peer reviewed academic journals both at national and international levels. Besides academic writing he is also an occasional contributor of features and poems to various Kolkata-based English dailies. His primary research interests are in Romantic & Twentieth Century English Literature and Indian Writing in English—areas which he has been teaching as a full time faculty member of the Department of English, St Xavier’s College, since 1999 and also as a guest faculty member at the Postgraduate level at the Department of English, Jadavpur University (2001-03) and more recently at Presidency College (Postgraduate Courses) Kolkata, (2007-10).