Wilfred Owen and Beyond

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Owen’s life was tragically short. Any study of his life is by definition overshadowed by his death and the bitter irony of its timing, at the very end of the war. Unlike some of his lesser discussed contemporaries, such as Ivor Gurney and Isaac Rosenberg, Owen’s poetry has been appreciated and analysed by many scholars in previous decades. It remains enduringly popular, and has lost little of its capacity to move and shock its readers. It is taught across the country as part of the National Curriculum, and has become the lens through which we view what, with Owen’s help, has been dubbed the most literary war in history.

Friday 26 October – Sunday 28 October 2018
Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

If you are interested in Owen’s impact on contemporary poetry and music, you’ll want to book your place at our event, ‘Wilfred Owen & Beyond’, at Wolfson College from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th October.

There will be keynote lectures from renowned WW1 poetry and music scholars Santanu Das, Kate Kennedy, Jane Potter, and Douglas Kerr, and talks from Owen experts from around the world will cover topics such as:

  • the way modern readers understand war literature from the classical period to today;
  • the cultural meanings of Owen’s work, how it has been promoted and taught, and its lasting impact on our perception of the First World War;
  • influences in the work of Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, Davelle Barnes and Carol Ann Duffy;
  • the rejection of Owen’s poetry by William Butler Yeats;
  • Wilfred Owen and Vietnam War poetry.

On the evening of Friday 26 October there will be a performance combining ballet and war poetry. The ballet, performed by dancers from Ballet Central, is inspired by First World War poetry and music; and we are delighted to host a reading by poet and translator John Balaban.

On Saturday evening there will be a concert of Owen settings. This performance will include pieces by Ian Venables, John Duggan, and Benjamin Britten and will feature the world premiere of a specially commissioned composition by Tim Watts, inspired by Owen’s work.



Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918)



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Javier Cañada