Anthem for Doomed Youth

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Original manuscript of Owen's "Anthem for Doomed Youth", showing Sassoon's revisions.

"Anthem for Doomed Youth" is a well-known poem written by Wilfred Owen that incorporates the theme of the horror of war.

It employs the traditional form of a Petrarchan sonnet, but it uses the rhyme scheme of an English sonnet. Much of the second half of the poem is dedicated to funeral rituals suffered by those families deeply affected by the First World War. The poem does this by following the sorrow of common soldiers in one of the bloodiest battles of the 20th century. Written between September and October 1917, when Owen was a patient at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh recovering from shell shock, the poem is a lament for young soldiers whose lives were unnecessarily lost in the European War. The poem is also a comment on Owen's rejection of his religion in 1915.

While in the hospital, Owen met and became close friends with another poet, Siegfried Sassoon. Owen asked for his assistance in refining his poems' rough drafts. It was Sassoon who named the start of the poem "anthem", and who also substituted "doomed" for "dead"; the famous epithet of "patient minds" is also a correction of his. The amended manuscript copy, in both men's handwriting, still exists and may be found at the Wilfred Owen Manuscript Archive on the world wide web.[1]

The poem is among those set in the War Requiem of Benjamin Britten.

During live performances of the song "Paschendale," Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson often recites the first half of the poem.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The First World War Poetry Digital Archive". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 

External links[edit]