The first world war and its influence on british poetry

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THE FIRST WORLD WAR AND ITS
INFLUENCE ON BRITISH POETRY

LÍNGUA INGLESA IV - COMUNICAÇÃO ESCRITA
TÓPICOS DA POESIA
MORNING
When we think about the First World War, (1914 - 1918), the images that come to our minds are the images of death, fear and pessimism. People do not remember that during these years art and literature were not forgotten, they continued to be produced.In those four years, however, the artists were influenced by the war atmosphere and, because of that, their paintings, books, essays, poems are normally dark, gloomy. We can say that all these works reflected what was going on into the world, and because of this, it is very important to study the literary and artistic productions of the war period.
In terms of literature we can see thatpoets and writers criticised the war through their poems, tales and essays. Richard Harding Davis, (1914), for example, in his article The Germans in Brussels criticises the monstrous engine that the First World War was. He says that it is the most efficient organisation of the world, but, unfortunately, its purpose is only death. It removes all soldiers’ individuality, and makes each man a cog ina machine.
Laurence Binyon also criticises the war in his works. In this fragment of poem he says that the war “stole” the lives of young people:

“ They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
Laurence BinyonSo, through these examples we can see that the First World War was not only important in historical terms, but also in literary terms.
My main objective in this paper is to show people the literary production, (in poetry), in England during the First World War. I will study not only the Historical background of England before the World War and the changes that it provoked inthe country, but also the most important poets of that period. I want to analyse the relationship between these poets and the World War, how their poems were influenced by themes like death, pessimism and war.
I would like to show the reader the tone of poetry during the World War, the language used by war poets and the most important themes developed by them.
The method which Iam going to develop in this paper consists not only of analysing some poems written during the Great War, but of making a historical background of England before the conflict. Such work is very important because in order to understand the literary production of Britain, it is essential to understand the political, social and economic scenarios.
As it is impossible to show and analyse allpoetry written during the war, I will focus my attention on the two most representative war poets: Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.
This does not mean, however, that the other poets will be forgotten, because I intend to mention all the important names of British poetry during the First World War.
In order to better illustrate the tone of the poetry written in the period 1914- 1918, I would like to analyse two poems of each chosen poet, not only in their content but also in their form.

THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR
(1914 - 1918)

The twentieth century was marked by wars and, because of that, many historians called it “The Age of Catastrophe”.
In 1914, there had been no major war for a century because, before this date, no war had involvedso many countries as the First World War had. It involved all major powers and, indeed, all European states, except Spain, the Netherlands, the three Scandinavian countries and Switzerland. And, for the first time in History, troops from the world overseas were sent to fight and work outside their own regions.
The First World War began in 1914 as an European war between the “Triple...
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