Wilfred Owen: This material is in the Public Domain.
Edmund Blunden: © Estate of Edmund Blunden. Published under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Licence.
Wilfred Owen, who is best known for works such as ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ and ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, wrote the majority of his war poetry between 1917 and 1918 before he was killed on patrol on 4 November 1918. Only five poems were published during his lifetime. Owen’s friend and mentor Siegfried Sassoon edited the first collection of his poetry in 1920, with assistance from Edith Sitwell.
In 1931 First World War poet Edmund Blunden edited a new and second collection, titled The Poems of Wilfred Owen. It includes poems published for the first time; Blunden compiled the work directly from Owen’s manuscript. Blunden’s editor’s notes, shown here, provide insights such as alternative versions found in the manuscript. Blunden also contributed a memoir which became an important source for later critics and biographers of Owen.
With Sassoon, Blunden contributed to sealing Owen’s reputation as a major war poet. In particular, Blunden’s edition brought new public and critical attention to Owen’s work.