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Modern English War Poetry$
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Tim Kendall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562022.001.0001

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In Pursuit of Spring: Edward Thomas and Charlotte Mew

In Pursuit of Spring: Edward Thomas and Charlotte Mew

(p.65) 4 In Pursuit of Spring: Edward Thomas and Charlotte Mew
Modern English War Poetry

Tim Kendall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the war poetry of Edward Thomas and Charlotte Mew. Although there is no evidence that Thomas and Mew ever met, or that they read each other's work, they converge towards the same destination. Thomas wants literature to ‘make words of such a spirit, and arrange them in such a manner, that they will do all that a speaker can do by innumerable gestures and their innumerable shades, by tone and pitch of voice, by speed, by pauses, by all that he is and all that he will become’. Mew in her dramatic monologues aims to capture the ‘cri de Coeur’ of her personae, according to the success of which ‘one either has or has not the person’, and she singles out for praise those examples in literature where ‘one has not only the cry but also the gesture and the accent’. Both poets seek to free poetry from its rhetorical paraphernalia, wanting to return it to its origins in the human voice.

Keywords:   war poetry, Edward Thomas, Charlotte Mew, war poets

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