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Rewards of Wonder
Edited by George Walter
Categories: 20th Century, War writings
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (140 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2000)
Ivor Gurney (1890-1937) was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the most promising poets and composers of his generation. In September 1922, however, he was certified insane and committed to a mental asylum. he remained there until his death, forgotten by all but a handful of friends and supporters.
Gurney did not stop writing. Rewards of Wonder, begun in 1921 and completed in 1924, was the first of several volumes of poetry that he composed in the City of London Mental Hospital. His central theme is moments of powerful epiphany. His landscaped include his native shire, London at various periods, and the battlefields of the western front. He arranged the poems into a unified volume, the only one of his later works to cross the boundary between madness and sanity: it provides valuable insights into his illness and his abiding sanity, rooted in memory and a sense of England.
J.C.Squire championed Rewards of Wonder, printing some of the poems in the London Mercury while Gurney was still alive. Later editors have chosen from it, too, but this is the first time the book has appeared in its entirety, in the form Gurney wished. More than half the 102 poems included have not been published before. The poems are accompanied by valuable supporting material, including maps of Gurney's Cotswolds, France and London.
A Note on the Text
Rewards of Wonder: Poems of Cotswold, France, London
Texts Cited and Further Reading
Index of Titles and First Lines
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