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At war

Iain McGilchrist, 25 January 1990

The Faber Book of Fevers and Frets 
edited by D.J. Enright.
Faber, 364 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 0 574 15095 1
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... to ruin, Whose friend was God, but God swore not to aid me! – and the, to me, unknown poem by Ivor Gurney, addressed to God, which he wrote in Barnwood Mental Hospital, as much as a portrayal of what used to be done to patients in the name of sanity as of the insanity itself: Why have you made life so intolerable And set me between four walls, where ...
A Word from the Loki 
by Maurice Riordan.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, January 1995, 0 571 17364 0
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After the Deafening 
by Gerard Woodward.
Chatto, 64 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 0 7011 6271 6
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The Ice-Pilot Speaks 
by Pauline Stainer.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £6.95, October 1994, 1 85224 298 1
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The Angel of History 
by Carolyn Forché.
Bloodaxe, 96 pp., £7.95, November 1994, 1 85224 307 4
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The Neighbour 
by Michael Collier.
Chicago, 74 pp., £15.95, January 1995, 0 226 11358 2
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by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, March 1995, 0 19 282451 1
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... reminiscent of the Georgians and, indeed, there are a couple of references to Edward Thomas and Ivor Gurney. When he is not referring to a timeless landscape and noting the effects of the seasons, he is describing medieval buildings or people from another time.‘Durham in March’, for instance, which sees the landscape from a moving train, records ...

Newfangled Inner Worlds

Adam Phillips: Malingering, 3 March 2005

Forgotten Lunatics of the Great War 
by Peter Barham.
Yale, 451 pp., £19.99, August 2004, 0 300 10379 4
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... inclinations (many of his epigraphs are from Ulysses, and he writes with particular clarity about Ivor Gurney) and his wish to speak plainly for the plain man, Forgotten Lunatics never lets us forget that in many ways we would rather not know what it wants to tell us, and so how the telling is done matters. Barham’s forgotten lunatics were forgotten ...

Lethal Pastoral

Paul Keegan: Housman’s Lethal Pastoral, 17 November 2016

Housman Country: Into the Heart of England 
by Peter Parker.
Little, Brown, 446 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 4087 0613 8
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... founding of the Royal College of Music in 1882 onwards. Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth and Ivor Gurney studied there, and all were to produce song-cycles from A Shropshire Lad, as did John Ireland. The appeal of the poems lay partly in their concision and surface simplicity of rhythm and metre, their lack of figurative recesses, their closed forms ...


Paul Keegan: David Jones removes himself, 7 November 2019

David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet 
by Thomas Dilworth.
Vintage, 448 pp., £14.99, January 2019, 978 0 7847 0800 2
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Epoch and Artist Selected Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 320 pp., £18.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33950 1
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‘The Dying Gaul’ and Other Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 240 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33953 2
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Dai Greatcoat A Self-Portrait of David Jones in His Letters 
edited by René Hague.
Faber, 280 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33952 5
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... had left behind were inseparably his. The burden he carried was in some respects tolerable. Like Ivor Gurney and Isaac Rosenberg, he had fought an infantryman’s war rather than the subaltern war of Owen or Sassoon or Blunden or Graves. Instead of postwar assimilation and adjustment, there was a steady distillation of the private’s worldview; and if ...

Courage, mon amie

Terry Castle: Disquiet on the Western Front, 4 April 2002

... subalterns and monocled mutineers. I read Michael Hurd’s desolating biography – The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney – on the train to Edinburgh, the city where the nerve-wracked composer, on his way to insanity and death, was hospitalised after being gassed in 1917. I stared at the few surviving pictures of him: the one in a private’s tunic (2nd/5th ...

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