In this World War One autobiography, the poet Edmund Blunden records his experiences as an infantry subaltern in France and Flanders. Enlisting at the age of 20 in 1916, he took part in the disastrous battles of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele, describing the latter as murder, t only to the troops, but to their singing faiths and hopes . He tells of the many evidences of endurance, heroism, and despair found among the officers and men of his battalion. This volume, which also contains a selection of his war poems, reveals the close affinity which Blunden felt with the natural world. While he laments the loss of optimism, the betrayal of promise and the futility wrought by the war, Blunden finds hope in the natural landscape; it is the only thing which survives the terrible betrayal enacted in the Flanders fields. The author died in 1974.
The poet and critic Edmund Blunden was born in Yalding, Kent in 1896. He studied at Oxford, was professor of English literature at Tokyo from 1924-7 and fellow of Merton College, Oxford from 1931. He joined the staff of 'The Times Literary Supplement' in 1943, and from 1953 lectured at the University of Hong Kong. From1966-8 he was professor of poetry at Oxford.