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Letters of Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas

Edited by Desmond Graham

Cover Picture of Letters of Keith Douglas
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857544 77 0
Categories: 20th Century, War writings
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2000
216 x 135 x 29 mm
386 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • My object (and I don't give a damn about my duty as a poet) is to write true things, significant things in words each of which works for its place in a line. My rhythms, which you find enervated, are carefully chosen to enable the poems to be read as significant speech: I see no reason to be either musical or sonorous about things at present.

    Keith Douglas (1920-44) loved his country. He also had an insatiable hunger for experience. When World War II began he enlisted: to fight, and to read history from within its turbulence. As with the poets of the First World War, his art was tried, tempered - and curtailed. His letters tell the story of a man fully engaged by his art and his age.

    The chief elements in his character were a sense of 'the manly' and a love for creative activity: rugby, OTC, and fine poetry at the age of fourteen. He attended Christ's Hospital, Sussex, following in the footsteps of Coleridge. He went up to Blunden's Oxford in 1938, then to war. He courted action in the Desert Campaign and was injured by a land mine. Soon, he returned to active service. All the time he was writing letters. He was killed in the Allied invasion of Normandy.

    A letter from 1943 declares: 'The soldiers have not found anything new to say. Their experience they will not forget easily and it seems to me that the whole body of English war poetry of this war, civil and military, will be created after the war is over.' He foresees Edwin Morgan, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Geoffrey Hill.
    Introduction
    Acknowledgements
    Recipients of letters
    Chronology
    Sources
    Abbreviations


    The Letters
    1925-1931
    1931-1938
    1938-1939
    1939-1940
    1940-1941
    1941-1942
    1942-1943
    1944

    Appendix A: Two autobiographical fragments

    Appendix B: An essay: 'Poets in This War'

    Appendix C: Three short stories
    'Death of a Horse'
    'Giuseppe'
    'The Little Red Mouth'

    Index
    Keith Douglas
    Keith Douglas (1920-1944) attended Christ's Hospital School, Sussex, following in the footsteps of Coleridge and Lamb. He went up to Oxford in 1938, then to war. In the Desert Campaign he was injured by a land mine but soon returned to active service. All the time he was writing letters and ... read more
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