In the opening section of these related studies of modern literature, Bernard Bergonzi considers the poetry and fiction of two World Wars, including discussions of Wilfred Owen, Richard Aldington’s Death of a Hero, Pat Barker’s Regeneration, and the poetry of the Desert War of the 1940s. The second section deals with a number of prominent twentieth-century authors. Among other subjects, it looks at Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier as a novel anticipating the Great War, the treatment of memory in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and aspects of the poetry of T.S. Eliot, responding to arguments about its anti-semitism. The final section is on Catholic writers, from Hopkins and Chesterton to Graham Greene and David Lodge. The book continues Bergonzi’s extensive career as a critic and literary historian of the modern period, and takes a fresh look at the subjects of some of the earlier books, such as Hopkins, Eliot, Wells, and the literature of war.
Table of Contents
Contents: Writers and War: Regeneration: Pat Barker’s trilogy; Poets’ novels: Richard Aldington and H.D.; The Great War and modern criticism; Poetry of the Desert War; Drummond Allison, 1921-43; Roy Fuller in wartime; Modern Masters: Fresh Wells; Fiction and history: Ford’s The Good Soldier; Aldous Huxley and Aunt Mary; Eliot’s cities; Eliot, Julius and the Jews; Time and memory in Nineteen Eighty-Four; Catholics: Hopkins the Englishman; Hopkins, tradition and the individual talent; The other Mrs Ward; Chesterton’s first novel; David Jones and the idea of Art; Graham Greene at eighty; A conversation with David Lodge; Index.
’For those who feel acutely the stultifying staleness of so much modern literary criticism, Bernard Bergonzi’s new book will arrive as a breath of fresh air...Professor Bergonzi...exhibits a masterful control of his subject and an ability to cut through the cant of modern literary fads with a firm but gentle touch...War Poets and Other Subjects confirms Bergonzi’s place at the forefront of literary criticism.’ The Tablet ’What is cheering about this entertaining collection is that every carefully argued piece implies faith in the continued existence of the alert "general reader", worth talking to and talking with.’ The Spectator ’Readers who value this sort of criticism as much as I do should fight their way through the obstacles and get hold of a copy.’ PN Review.