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The Propinquity Of Place: Home, Landscape And Soldier Poets Of The First World War

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Chapter Summary

Throughout the Great War and after, the notion of comforting sensuous antidotes, usually recollections of a pastoral home, was assumed to have a rightful place alongside depictions of the ?bloody drama?. These purposeful memories of home were differentiated from ?loftier?, more abstract, expressions of patriotism. Nevertheless, an intimate relationship arose between a precisely depicted still-tranquil ?home? and a reticent or private expression of patriotism, which was derived from the propinquity of place. This chapter suggests that, within the poetic discourse of the rural, natural and historic landscape, there was much specificity and variation in which localities was known and remembered for their particularities as well as imaginatively constructed. Consequently, it is salutary to emphasise the continuing relevance of premodern cultural formation to the study of the First World War. Soldier poets often conveyed home centred ideas in ways that challenge modernist conceptualisations of war experience deep into the war.

Keywords: First World War; landscape; pastoral home; patriotism; premodern cultural formation; soldier poets



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