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Poetry in a Global Age$
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Jahan Ramazani

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226730004

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226730288.001.0001

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“Cosmopolitan Sympathies”: Poetry of the First Global War

“Cosmopolitan Sympathies”: Poetry of the First Global War

(p.25) Chapter 1 “Cosmopolitan Sympathies”: Poetry of the First Global War
Poetry in a Global Age

Jahan Ramazani

University of Chicago Press

In keeping with recent attention to the global dimensions of the First World War, this chapter explores how Isaac Rosenberg, Thomas Hardy, Robert Service, Wilfred Owen, Mary Borden, W. B. Yeats, and other wartime poets seized on and developed the cosmopolitan potentialities of poetry, in the sense of grounded attachments that span specific cultural and national differences. While the antiheroism of Great War poetry has been discussed extensively, its overlapping but distinct capacity for imaginative solidarity across enemy lines, if often acknowledged, remains less fully explored. Seamus Heaney’s First World War poetry is also examined in relation to the wartime poets. Drawing on the theoretical work of Paul Gilroy, Richard Rorty, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, and Sigmund Freud, but above all attending to British, American, Canadian, and Irish poetry, this chapter examines First World War poems that not only state but linguistically, formally, and thematically enact what Rosenberg called “cosmopolitan sympathies” with the enemy other.

Keywords:   Isaac Rosenberg, Thomas Hardy, Robert Service, Wilfred Owen, Mary Borden, First World War poetry, cosmopolitanism, solidarity, Paul Gilroy, Richard Rorty

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