Edmund Blunden

Undertones of War
  • Undertones of War

  • In what is one of the finest autobiographies to come out of the First World War, the distinguished poet Edmund Blunden records his experiences as an infantry subaltern in France and Flanders. Blunden took part in the disastrous battles of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele, describing the latter as 'murder, not only to the troops, but to their singing faiths and hopes'. In his compassionate yet unsentimental prose, he tells of the heroism and despair found among the officers. Blunden's poems show how he found hope in the natural landscape; the only thing that survives the terrible betrayal enacted in the Flanders fields.

The poet and critic Edmund Blunden was born in Yalding, Kent in 1896. He studied at Oxford, was professor of English literature at Tokyo from 1924-7 and fellow of Merton College, Oxford from 1931. He joined the staff of 'The Times Literary Supplement' in 1943, and from 1953 lectured at the University of Hong Kong. From1966-8 he was professor of poetry at Oxford.

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