"A Reasoned Crisis of the Soul": The Spiritual Ordeal and the Artistic Achievement of Wilfred Owen
Server, James Robert
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In essence the present study w11l maintain that Owen's poetry is relevant, and therefore worthy of serious critical attention, in four principal respects. The most a1emantary of these 1s disoernable without a close examination of the work itselt--namely, the immediate historical context which underlies and informs the best of his art. When Owen declares ares in his "Preface" that his "subject is War , and the pity of War," he acknowledges the impact of a civ111zat1on in crisis on his own creative activity. In confronting the phys1cal, psychological and spiritual conditions produced in the world struggle. he responds to those disintegrat1ve forces also at work in our own time. Indeed, the war w1th its cataclysmic destructiveness becomes for Owen symptomatic of a profound disorder in human existence and 1n the nature of universal Justice. And thus we are obliged to recognize a second source of the author's relevance in his radical concern for the elementary conflicts of human experience.