By Professor of English Bernard Bergonzi
Whilst this article was once first released in 1965, it provided radical views at the poetry, fiction and autobiographical writing of global warfare I. It mapped a space of literature which is still tough and painfully clean regardless of later carnage within the twentieth century, demanding a result of caliber of the writers who served, and since attitudes altered so essentially in the course of its 4 tense years.
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Additional info for Heroes’ Twilight: a Study of the Literature of the Great War
And which has been so praised, I find (with the exception of that beginning "These hearts were woven of human joys and cares, Washed marvellously with sorrow" which is not about himself) overpraised. He is far too obsessed with his own sacrifice, regarding the going to war of himself (and others) as a highly intense, remarkable and sacrificial exploit, whereas it is merely the conduct demanded of him (and others) by the tum of circumstances, where non-compliance with this demand would have made life intolerable.
As he shows, no matter how remote and old-fashioned the Georgians may seem now, at the time they regarded themselves, and were regarded, as somewhat revolutionary. Their comparative bluntness of language, and liking for 'ordinary', unpretentious subjects, was not to everyone's taste; and Brooke found himself in a good deal of trouble over one of his early poems, 'A Channel Passage', which deals with love and sea-sickness in a self-consciously brutal fashion: Do I forget you? Retchings twist and tie me, Old meat, good meals, brown gobbets, up I throw.
There is an unresolved conflict between a subjective lyric impulse, not at all sure of its language, and the assumed decorum of patriotic utterance. As Mr. ' A similar criticism was made soon after the poems were published by a younger and better poet than Brooke, Charles Hamilton Sodey, who was killed in October 1915 at the age of twenty. In a letter of April 1915 Sodey observed: I saw Rupert Brooke's death in The Morning Post. The Morning Post, which has always hitherto disapproved of him, is now loud in his praises because he had conformed to their stupid axiom of literary criticism that the only stuff of poetry is violent physical experience, by dying on active service.