The poets as heroes

The poets as heroes

When is military force justified? Can you be against war without considering yourself a pacifist? Usually it is historians and politicians who ask these questions, but poets also ask them. World War One poets Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon brought new layers of understanding to these important questions.

At Marianopolis in November, current and former students are participating in a World War I poetry event, as the College views that war through a variety of perspectives. As part of the commemoration, Professor Paul Malott is discussing the prose writings of the two well-known poets, touching upon their eventual perception that their “younger selves” had rebelled somewhat immaturely against their military and political leaders.

“By comparing their war journals and poems with their later memoirs, we can gain valuable perspective on the moral trenches we continue to navigate in 2015,” says Professor Malott, who has a doctorate in Philosophy from Dalhousie University and is an expert in 20th Century British Literature. He teaches such courses as “Sounding Off: Representations of Popular Music in Literature” and “Rogues and Rebels: Novels of Non-conformity.”

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