Elizabeth Vandiver examines the ways in which British poets of the First World War used classical literature, culture, and history as a source of images, ideas, and even phrases for their own poetry. Vandiver argues that classics was a crucial source for writers from a wide variety of backgrounds, from working-class poets to those educated in public schools, and for a wide variety of political positions and viewpoints. Poets used references to classics both to
support and to oppose the war from its beginning all the way to the Armistice and after. By exploring the importance of classics in the poetry of the First World War, Vandiver offers a new perspective on that poetry and on the history of classics in British culture.
Elizabeth Vandiver is Clement Biddle Penrose Associate Professor of Latin and Classics, Whitman College.