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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Little magazines and Canadian war poetry 1939-1945; with some reference to poetry of the first World War Meis, Joanne

Abstract

While English First World War poetry moved from extolling the Victorian versions of chivalric values to the "debunking" realism of some of the soldier poets, Canadian First World War poetry failed to exhibit any such development. Canadian First World War poets write a colonial interpretation of what the English inspirational war poets produced, and they did not express any disillusionment with the military-religious dogma of the war. During the Second World War, some Canadian poets produced poetry of a similar type to that which they wrote celebrating the first. But the war years saw the development of a group of young "modernist" poets who followed up the first modernist movement of the Montreal group and New Provinces, and when these poets wrote about war, the idealization of the conflict was not among their aims. Thus in Canadian war poetry the split between idealization of war and its realistic appraisal does not occur until the Second World War. The realistic appraisal of war on the part of the new poets takes many directions, but their poetry holds in common a refusal to accept any idealized version of the conflict.

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