Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph Schwartz


Wilfred Owen has been presented to the critics three times. Siegfried Sassoon first brought the body of his poems to public attention in 1920. In 1931, Edmund Blunden, another war-poet comrade, collected several fragments and pieces of juvenelia and published them along with a more complete group of the war poems. Finally, in 1964, C. Day Lewis brought together all of Owen's poetry, noted textual variants, and added a short critical biography, relying heavily on D.S.R. Welland's critical examination of Owen's poetry published four years earlier. Thus we can study reviews from three rather widely separated periods in modern history, and discover just how much progress each period made in understanding Owen. Unfortunately, the scholarly journals contain no work done on Owen until 1949, whence there begins a long series of thoughtful, penetrating, and generally consistent examinations of his poetry, which arrive at an understanding which eluded most of the earlier critics. Sassoon and Blunden, however, wrote prefaces to their editions; and several major poets, including William Butler Yeats, Stephen Spender, and C. Day Lewis, commented on Owen during the 1930 1s, thus giving us an impression of how Owen was being taken outside of the newspapers and magazines. Their statements are most instructive in discovering the progressive appreciation of Wilfred Owen.