Gilbert Keith Chesterton considered himself first and foremost a journalist. However, he was a prolific writer contributing to most literary genres. Today he is mainly remembered for the creation of the Catholic priest come amateur detective Father Brown. Middle-aged at the beginning of the war he spent his war service at the War Propaganda Bureau, for which he wrote several pamphlets. Chesterton’s war poetry does not describe the conditions of the trenches. His epic poem ‘Lepanto’ recounts one of the last great sea battles of the crusades, the allegorical meaning of which caught the mood of the times as the country came to understand the impact of the war. His poem ‘The Wife of Flanders’ is a moving account of the loss and devastation brought by war and is much anthologised in collections of war poetry.
- Article by:
- Santanu Das
- Representation and memory
Dr Santanu Das considers how the examination of war poetry has changed and looks beyond typical British trench lyric to explore the variety of poetic responses.