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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Irish poetry of World War I has received relatively little attention, in part due to the misguided notion that war poetry in general is little more than ‘a vulgar...version of history’. W. B. Yeats did not help matters when he declared his ‘distaste for certain poems written in the midst of the Great War’. While Yeats did not so much object to ‘war poetry’, it did not appeal to his personal aesthetic. Two books on Irish poetry of World War I are Fran Brearton's The Great War in Irish Poetry (2000) and Jim Haughey's The First World War in Irish Poetry (2002). Patriotism was the most recurrent theme in the popular war poetry written throughout Europe between 1914 and 1918. Ireland's war poets such as Francis Ledwidge not only embraced the popular pro- and anti-war sentiments that characterised the ‘generic British response’, but also shared the same sense of ‘idealisation, abstraction, [and] remoteness from reality’ as their German counterparts.

Keywords: Ireland, war poetry, World War I, Francis Ledwidge, patriotism, Irish Poetry, First World War, war poets, W. B. Yeats

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