Article

‘Down in the terraces between the targets’: Civilians

Peter Robinson

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/9780199559602.013.0027

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 ‘Down in the terraces between the targets’: Civilians

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This chapter discusses passivity and suffering, looking at attributing meaning to the predictable accidental deaths and collateral damages that are produced by total war. It then examines the poets' efforts to locate meaning in the fates of those who can only stand and wait, namely civilians. The chapter looks at the contributions of blunderers to the totalizing of warfare and the decided policy of bombing entire enemy towns, as well as the shift from the soldier to the civilians as the focus of war. It also takes a look at poetry that uses the viewpoint of aircrews and pilots and outlines what some civilian-related poems had to go through in order to be considered as war poetry.

Keywords: passivity; suffering; accidental deaths; collateral damages; total war; civilians; air war; war poetry; civilian-related poems; blunderers

Article.  9823 words. 

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

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