Edmund Blunden, courtesy of The First World War Poetry Digital Archive © The Edmund Blunden Literary Estate

Daughter of First World War Poet Edmund Blunden to speak at Oxford

Posted on centenarynews.com on 09 February 2014
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Margi Blunden, daughter of the First World War poet Edmund Blunden, will be remembering her father at the WW1 Poetry Spring School to be run by Oxford University's English Faculty in April 2014.

Margi will recall life growing up with a father deeply affected by the Great War and shed light on his literary achievements. As a living link to that era, she will provide an insight into the man who wrote Undertones of War. First published in 1928, this autobiography is hailed as Blunden's greatest contribution to the literature of war. 

Edmund Blunden volunteered to join the British army when he was 19, despite winning a place at Queen’s College, Oxford to read Classics. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, he went to France in early 1916 and spent two years at the front, longer than any other well-known war writer.

Military Cross

He saw action in some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, include the Somme and the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. Blunden was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in action and eventually demobilised in February 1919. 

Blunden's best known poetry includes Concert Party: Busseboom and The Waggoner. In a distinguished career as an editor, journalist, critic, and biographer, he was also instrumental in bringing the works of his fellow war poets Wilfred Owen and Ivor Gurney to publication.

Edmund Blunden died at his home in Suffolk on 20th January 1974, aged 77.

Oxford University's WW1 Poetry Spring School is open to members of the public, particularly those who are seeking to challenge common misconceptions and gain a deeper critical appreciation of Great War poetry. 

The event, from April 3rd-5th, will bring together world-leading experts, each giving an introductory lecture on the major poets and poems. Speakers will provide reading lists and follow-up exercises for further study.


Confirmed speakers include: Adrian Barlow, Meg Crane, Guy Cuthbertson, Gerald Dawe, Simon Featherstone, Philip Lancaster, Stuart Lee, Jean Liddiard, Alisa Miller, Charles Mundye, Jane Potter, Mark Rawlinson, Jon Stallworthy.

The school will be held at the Faculty of English, St Cross Building, Oxford. Price: full fee £180, Concessions £150, (optional banquet to be held at Wadham College £40). Registration closes on 28th February 2014.

Source: Oxford University

Date of press release publication: 29th January 2014

Images courtesy of The First World War Poetry Digital Archive © The Edmund Blunden Literary Estate

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News