About the BookThere is a strong tradition of women’s poetry written in response to the events of the First World War. Many of these poems depict direct experience of the processes of war, including making weapons, nursing the wounded, the loss of brothers, sons, or lovers in the trenches, by women who were on active service in the battle areas as well as by women involved in the war effort at home. The range of this poetry is very wide.
From elegiac renderings and articulation of diverse forms of work experience on the one hand, to the political rhetoric of pre-war suffrage, patriotism, pacifism, and propaganda on the other, poems written by women during the years of the war provide an absorbing literary and socio-political study of the time.
By critically exploring diverse forms of women’s poetry, including jingles, lyrics and parodies of contemporary popular culture and working-class poetry, this book not only broadens the horizons of earlier bibliographical and critical research, but also vindicates the unique cultural relevance of such renderings in a war-torn society.
While some women poets used traditional forms of expression, others challenged such conventional allegiance to fashion a poetic discourse and critique the patriarchal ideology of violence and war. While aesthetics serve as a yardstick for critical evaluation in certain cases, in others, socio-political and historical documentation affirms the validity of chronicling these testimonies in verse. In assimilating women’s response, while critically examining the pastoral theme in Great War poetry, this book 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.
As an ancillary course of reference, largely to broaden, enhance and elucidate the scope of critical discussion, the book traces verbal and visual affinities, by correlating discussions on pastoral in war poetry with contemporary war paintings, exploring the pastoral motif in visual art.
The students, teachers and researchers in English literature, especially those interested in the feminist, cultural or literary history of the Great War would find this book useful. The researchers and students of gender studies may also find it beneficial.About the Author/sDr. Argha Banerjee is currently the Dean of Arts and on the faculty of the Department of English, St Xavier’s College (Autonomous) Kolkata, West Bengal, India under Calcutta University. He completed his D.Phil in English Literature from the Department of English, Sussex University, U.K. in 2007, as a Commonwealth Research Scholar from India. The Charles Wallace Award in 2012 further aided his post-doctoral research work at various archives in the U.K. that ultimately facilitated the completion of this new book on women’s poetic response to the First World War. Besides making several conference presentations at home and abroad, he has made several contributions to various literary journals including Keats and Shelley Review and Working with English among several others. His earlier published books on literary criticism include Female Voices in Keats’s Poetry; and Poetry of the First World War: A Critical Evaluation.