Article

‘Death's Proletariat’: Scottish Poets of the Second World War

Roderick Watson

in The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199559602
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199559602.013.0018

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 ‘Death's Proletariat’: Scottish Poets of the Second World War

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This chapter looks at the Scottish poets during the Second World War, first examining the poems of G.S. Fraser, which show the influence of T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden. It then considers Hamish Henderson, who was an anonymous author of barrack-room ballads and songs that satirized army life using the perspective of an ‘ordinary swaddy’. The chapter notes that the poems written by Scottish poets during the War centred on the heat of the battle and invoked the boredom or misery of training and the weather, and also closely studies some verses of the works of Fraser, Henderson, and a handful of other Scottish poets.

Keywords: Scottish poets; G.S. Fraser; Hamish Henderson; army life; Second World War; barrack-room ballads; satire

Article.  11462 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets) ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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