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This study sets out to investigate the place of suffering in the lives and work of Brooke, Owen, Sassoon and Graves. By an unfolding of their attitudes towards suffering we may come to a fuller and deeper understanding of their work and its appropriate place in our culture. The author suggests that, whilst we have been taught that writers such as Owen and Sassoon were noble in their expression of grief, pity, indignation and anti-war sentiment, we have neglected their positive responses to war and our own positive responses to their war writing. He argues that their work has been read and taught in particular ideological ways that elide a consideration of the psychological and cultural complexities involved in both poetry and our response to it. As well as communicating to the reader that war is wasteful, absurd, horrific, appalling, the work also celebrates war as a vehicle of pain and suffering, which is shared by the voyeuristic reader who peeps in horror through parted fingers and is consciously or subconsciously thrilled and excited by it.
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