Wilfred Owen is the poet of pity, the voice of the soldier maimed, blinded, traumatised and killed, not just in the Great War, but in all wars since, so resonant has his message become. Although he saw only five of his poems published in his lifetime, he left behind a portfolio of poetry and letters that created a powerful legacy.
This generously illustrated book tells the story of Wilfred Owen's life and work anew, from his birth in 1893 until his death one week before the Armistice on 4 November 1918. It chronicles Owen's journey from a romantic youth, steeped in the poetry of Keats, to mature soldier awakened to the horrors of the Western Front. Drawing on rich archival material such as personal books, artefacts, family photographs and numerous manuscripts, the volume takes a fresh look at Owen's apprenticeship and eventual mastery of poetry, giving a comprehensive view of the relationship between his lived experience and his writing.
Those already familiar with or well-versed in Owen's work will find new material in this book, and those coming to Owen for the first time will enjoy a well researched, yet accessible, illustrated introduction to one of the twentieth century's greatest poets.
Jane Potter is a senior lecturer and researcher at Oxford Brookes University. She is the author of Boys in Khaki, Girls in Print: Women's Literary Responses to the Great War, 1914-1918 and The Selected Letters of Wilfred Owen. Jon Stallworthy is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Oxford, as well as poet and literary critic. He has edited several anthologies and is particularly known for his work on war poetry.
Foreword Preface 1. 1893-1910 Childhood and young adulthood: Oswestry, Birkenhead, Shrewsbury 2. 1911-1915 The search for a profession: Dunsden, Bordeaux, The Pyrenees, Merignac 3. 1915-1916 Enlistment and training: London, Romford, Aldershot 4. 1917 Active Service and shell shock: The Somme and Craiglockhart 5. 1918 The last year: Ripon and France 6. Owen's Afterlife: Publication, critical reception, canonization Notes Bibliography List of poems Picture Credits Index