Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

The reputation of Edmund Blunden as a major British poet is founded primarily, and perhaps unfairly, on the poems he wrote about his service in World War I. Similarly, his popular prose works were connected to his wartime experiences. His most famous prose work, Undertones of War (1928), which includes a section of poems at the end, is one of the least vituperative of postwar British memoirs. Blunden’s wartime experiences also featured prominently in the novel We’ll Shift Our Ground: Or, Two on a Tour (1933), written in collaboration with Sylva Norman, in which two central characters visit the former battlefields of Flanders.

In contrast to his poetry and popular prose, Blunden’s scholarly writing consisted primarily of biographies of important British literary figures—including Percy Bysshe Shelley,Lord Byron, andCharles Lamb—and rather impressionistic literary criticism. His scholarly approach was to focus on an author’s life to understand his or her writings. Toward this end, Blunden wrote studies of a wide variety of major English poets, including the seventeenth century poet Henry Vaughan(1927), the Romantic poetsLeigh Hunt (1930) and Shelley (1946), the Romantic essayist Lamb (1933), the early modern poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1942), and fellow World War I poet Wilfred Owen (1931).