Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Salon (15 February)

The Sunday Salon.comWhen I was in middle school, I read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and it inspired me to read more about World War II. I devoured any autobiography or diary I could get my hands on. This week, I had a similar experience.

I spent most of this week reading Regeneration by Pat Barker. Whilst reading it, I realised I know very little about World War I. I know the broad, over-all details, but I never really read any personal stories or anyone's actual accounts as they experienced WWI. And I'd like to. Probbly starting with WWI poetry. I'd heard of Anthem For A Doomed Youth, but I'd never read it until after I finished Regeneration. Both the poem and Regeneration are very powerful and I will certainly look out for more.

Have you been inspired to read more about a certain event in history after reading a fictional account?

Wilfred Owen's biography
Siegfried Sassoon's biography
Wikipedia listing for World War I
Poems by Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,-
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds


  1. I know much less about WWI than WWII too... I love the WWI poets, though. This poem in particular always gets to me.

  2. Try Sebastian Faulks "Birdsong" and R.C. Sheriff's "Journey's End" Also "All Quiet on the Western Front" for a German perspective on it all.

    I'll stop now, but I was an English major and one of my specialties was WW1 literature...feel free to let me know if you want more!!

  3. Thanks for sharing this poem. I have always liked reading it!

    My TSS post is up!

  4. I'm often inspired to read more about a historical event or time period after I read about it, but the problem is that I don't often get around to actually reading anything more about them!

  5. I remember hearing about a WWII reading challenge...

  6. I started reading a lot about the Spanish Flu epidemic after reading a book about it. I tend to like to bounce back and forth between fiction and history.

  7. I'm a history major and I know so little about WWI that it's embarrassing! I wish I'd follow through when something attracts me.

  8. I often intend to read more about a period when I'm intrigued by a story or a novel. Sometimes I actually get around to it. The WWII challenge
    is here

  9. Siegfried Sassoon's Death-Bed is one of my favorite poems of all time. Totally depressing but just... wow.

  10. bejewell - I'll have to look it up!

    Gavin - always the best intentions, right? Thanks for the link but I join very few challenges.

    Lisa - I really feel like my knowledge of history is embarassing as well! I think it applies across the board though..

    frumiousb - Spanish flu epidemic, that sounds interesting! Are there novels you'd recommend about that period of time?

    Elizabethwillse - I think I'll look into the challenge just to see what other people are reading and recommending, but I'm not big into challenges.

    tanabata - oh me too. There always seems like too many good books to read before getting down to something historical or non-fiction.

    gautami - thanks for the comment, I quite like the poem as well.

    Beautiful Intellectual - do you know, I've read Birdsong as well as All Quiet on the Western Front, but for me those books didn't have as much impact on my emotional side and I think that's what's needed for me to be curious about a subject to warrant further reading. I'll look into Journey's End though, and thank you for the recommendations! I love getting recommendations.

    Nymeth - I read that poem as well when I was 'researching' for this post. It's partly the reason why I just checked out a book of Owen's war poetry from the library!


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