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Guilty Knowledge, Guilty PleasureThe Dirty Art of Poetry$
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William Logan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166867

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166867.001.0001

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World War II Poetry, Reloaded

World War II Poetry, Reloaded

(p.171) World War II Poetry, Reloaded
Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure

William Logan

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores war poets and war poetry. In Britain, poetry was central to the Great War, with the poems of soldiers paying tribute to soldiers coming to embody the national spirit and commemorate the sacrifice. America, however, had entered the Great War too late for war poetry to develop. The best of the Great War poems were grim in a jaunty way. They were good all too often in the extremity of their subject, because of the mass graves surrounding the art, and because they were the work of amateur soldiers acting like professionals. In contrast, poetry in World War II was often bad with the added burden of sometimes assuming a naive idealism out of tune with the times, and if not with the times then with the soldiers.

Keywords:   war poets, war poetry, soldiers, World War I, World War II, Great War, Britain, America

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