Writing war: Owen, Spender, poetic forms and concerns for a world in turmoil

Esther Sanchez-Pardo


There is a significant shift in the literary treatment of war between the trench poets and the subsequent generation of British poets, an understandable one given their very different experience and investment in the war itself. This paper discusses a selection of poems from Wilfred Owen’s (1893–1918) and from Stephen Spender’s (1909–1995) oeuvres as products of their different historical moments in order to reflect upon crucial transformations in poetic forms—especially the elegy—and concerns in the interwar period, a time open to the violent and chaotic experiences that a turbulent history was producing.


War poetry; Wilfred Owen; Stephen Spender; Great War poets; 1930s generation; elegy

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