Uranians on the Battlefield - Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen in the First World War
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Taken from the introduction: The genre of the war poem had never before seen so much popularity and so many publications on it as during the Great War. This was not because the genre of the war poem was specifically new, as there had already been many war poems written before the Great War, but because these war poems had a certain specialty to them. What made these new war poems so worthy of note and gain popularity was that the poets involved were not just educated men looking at the War from the sidelines, as the authors of the earlier war poems, but were actually soldiers and officers serving in the army. These war poets saw and experienced the war in all its gruesome and intense detail and this personal experience in turn heavily influenced their poems. No longer was war poetry generally impersonal and heroic; instead, it now fully transformed into poetry of personal emotion and experience. This change is especially visible in the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, two homosexual British poets who both served as officers in the First World War and wrote a large amount of war poems. Their Great War poems give an extensive insight in their lives as homosexuals and the theatre of war that they experienced first hand at the front. By analysing their poetry, it is possible to see how they dealt with the rough, tough masculinity of the War while on the other hand having to deal with their personal softer, feminine, homosexual side. It is this clear duality of personality, similar to the split between gender, which makes the war poetry of Sassoon and Owen so suitable as vehicles for gaining insights into the feelings and experiences of the homosexual male in the Great War.