War Poetry

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He wrote from his own experience, of war, humankind and nature. Beloved by his students worldwide, he was a scholar and teacher of English Literature. His long friendship with Siegfried Sassoon was born of their war experiences and sustained by their many shared interests including cricket, which was an enduring passion for them both. Through Sassoon he met Thomas Hardy, after the meeting Sassoon commented that Blunden had 'a good deal in common with old Hardy.' Like Sassoon and Robert Graves, Blunden also wrote of his war experiences, his account was titled Undertones of War. This classic recollection of the Great War does not over emphasise the horrors of armed conflict, but paints an immediate picture of what it must have been like through the use of Blunden's characteristic understatement.

Much of Blunden's work continues to be particularly relevant today. Some of the themes he explores through his poetry and writing include:
  • the environment and the relationship between man and nature. (For example the poem 'A Hong Kong House', from 'A Hong Kong House, Poems 1951-1961', Collins, 1962)

  • the dangerous relationship between man and war in which the urge for aggression can betray the desire for peace. (For example, 'A House in Festubert' from 'Overtones of War', edited by Martin Taylor, Duckworth, 1996)

  • the community spirit between soldiers during conflict. (For example, 'The Watchers' from 'Overtones of War', edited by Martin Taylor, Duckworth, 1996)

  • the importance of recognising the undertones and paradoxes of life in order to enhance our understanding of ourselves and our motivations as human beings. (For example, 'Values' from 'Overtones of War', edited by Martin Taylor, Duckworth, 1996)

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