As we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, this timely reissue, first published in 1991, evaluates the function of poetry in wartime Europe, arguing that war poetry must be understood as a social as well as a literary phenomenon.
As well as locating the work of well-known French, English and German war poets in a European context, Elizabeth Marsland discusses lesser-known poetry of the war years, including poems by women and the neglected tradition of civilian protest through poetry. Identifying shared characteristics as well as the unique features of each nation’s poetry, The Nation’s Cause affords new insight into the relationship between nationalism and the social attitudes that determined the conduct of war.
1. They all write poetry: The Poems and their Context 2. Heilig Vaterland: Nationalism and National Image 3. We Serve You Best: The Promoting of Mass Heroism 4. Cruel Thy Sword: The War Against Words 5. Laissez-les Donce Dormir: Protest Against the Heroic Ethic 6. A Few Alone: Readers, Non-Readers and Protest 7. Men Would Gather Sense: Non-Propagandist Poetry of Combatants 8. Relics for the Present: Poems and History