Mike Canoy

Recent CS Grad from WWU

[email protected]

CSCI 491: Dulce et Decorum est

A blog for Senior Project 1 about sonnets and trenches

Enlist Now Rupert Brooke Charles Sorley Edward Thomas Isaac Rosenberg Wilfred Owen Pro Patria Mori

Enlist Now

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Lord Kitchener Wants You, one of the most famous recruitment campaigns of the Great War and inspired later imitations with Uncle Sam and Smokey Bear. Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Your King & Country Need You

A dead Archduke, tension from colonial issues, Balkan wars, and Belgian independence has lead to His Majesty requesting you to join the British Army in fighting against the Germans. By the end of the Great War, almost 1 out of 4 men in the United Kingdom will have joined the British Army. Half volunteers, half conscripted. [1] Of these men were a number of Britain's poets. In the trenches, they documented their experiences in their art and were published in newspapers back home as the war marched on. Their work, a preservation and expression of the patriotism, death, home, disillusionment, and horrors found during this war. [2]

Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

These poems come about in a changing world. Queen Victoria passed away 13 years ago, and with her, an era of restraint, classes, and eminence of British dominance. [3] The past decade of King Edward VII's reign has seen shifting politics as liberal parties gain standing in what had been conservative houses of British government. There's a growing awareness of the condition's of women and the working class as suffragists and laborers enter more into the political discourse. The Empire is still powerful trading empire, but the economies of the United States and Germany are growing rapidly. British elite are often choosing travel and leisure over entrepreneurship. [4] Art is shifting from an interest in the romantic and classic to the natural forms in Art Nouveau, becoming known as whiplash for dramatic wavelike curves. [5] Impressionism from France and had integrated into British art, but Modernism like Cubism from France, Futurism from Italy, and Expressionism from Germany are controversial. [6] Photography is starting to be taken as art, but much of what exhibited is American. [7] Fashion moved from tight-lacing, thin-waist figure, to a S-bend figure and pigeon chest, and then to early brassieres and girdles instead of corsets, straighter silhouettes, sportswear, and tweed suits. [8] Technology has brought about new forms of rapid and mass transit. Louis Blériot had crossed the channel by air. [9] Olympic-class ocean liners have been built, and suffered a tragic disaster. [10] Herbert Austin had started producing thousands of British automobiles. [11]

Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Yet, this changing world and new century will be violently upturned shortly. 70 million military personal will fight a war defined by attrition in trenches, genocide, industrial mobilization, and poison gas. Many of the nations involved will have dramatic revolutions afterwards. Concepts like "crimes against humanity" and international organizations focused on peace by collective security will come about. [12] A new generation will come of age. Between two American novelists, Gertrude Stein will tell Ernest Hemingway, "All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation..." This disoriented and hopelessness of a Lost Generation is told in the art of those left standing after the war. People scared by death and warfare, pessimistic of the world. [13] The people in this war are in a moment of vivid, violent, and aggressive change for the world. 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians will die over the next 4 years. Among the 800,000 British military casualties will be many of Britain's poets. Mostly young men lost to a miserable war. They write first hand of the drastic and deadly transition into the modern world. Some wrote of the honor and glory in war, others described the terrifying reality. In the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey, there are 16 poets memorialized who severed in the Great War, inscribed with the Wilfred Owen quote "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." The following posts on this blog will examine these poets and their poems from the Western Front. [14]

Rupert Brooke - Died April 23, 1915 (Age 27) [15]
Charles Sorley - Died October 13, 1915 (Age 20) [16]
Edward Thomas - Died April 9, 1917 (Age 39) [17]
Isaac Rosenberg - Died April 1, 1918 (Age 27) [18]
Wilfred Owen - Died November 4, 1918 (Age 25) [19]

For King & Country.