26 Weeks to a Better Understanding of Literature
I’m aiming to improve my knowledge around all things literature and to help me do this I thought I’d start by learning a new literary word every week. A-Z, although knowing me it might not be in any alphabetic order. I might treat this more like a list on random shuffle.
So, I find a word that relates to literature and research the following on it:
- How does it sound?
- What does it mean?
- Who invented it (if known)
- When did the word come about?
- Example to be used in a sentence (preferable in spoken form).
Very often when the word Georgian is spoken it invites thoughts of grand architecture, beautiful buildings, curly wigs and grand balls of the 18thC
The on-line Britannica relates the word to any literary piece originally written in Georgian (language), which dates back to the 4thC.
However the term also relates to Georgian poetry that was created during the reign of George V (1910-36), and that is what this particular description of the word details today.
The Oxford Companion to English Literature states the following:
Usually indicating poetry of a pastoral or, as later critics asserted, an escapist nature. When applied to architecture, the term suggests the earlier period of the reigns of George I to George IV (1714-1830), when Palladian principles (a movement of revival for high Renaissance architecture from the 16thC) of classical proportions were adapted to an unpretentious, refined, and discreet style suited to the needs of the rising middle classes.
Regarding the poetry, Georgian poetry then became a series of volumes of verse between 1912 and 1922, which contained various poets who while at the time were criticised are now considered to be of high repute
Of course trying to get this particular word into a sentence will be rather tricky unless I ask anyone outright what they think Georgian Poetry means, or indeed if they have a favourite verse?
I didn’t know poetry could be classified in such a way so it’s good to learn, that like art, it has periods that are particular to the style of the authors that wrote in those eras.
I’m not a big fan of poetry – principally because I’ve never read all that much and less studied it which usually means I’m missing out on something good, so I started to read some Georgian Poets.
I was looking through some of the poems published from this group and fell across a rather poignant poem, written during WWI by Siegfried Sassoon, an English poet and war hero.
Glory of Women
You love us when we’re heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war’s disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we’re killed.
You can’t believe that British troops ‘retire’
When hell’s last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses – blind with blood.
O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.
It’s certainly made me think twice about poetry and how it can speak volumes in such small sentences.
Do you have any favourite poets or poems from this era?