What is Romanticism?

Romanticism was initially recognized as a common state of referral among many literary works and arose in the 18th century. This type of poetry refers to a more emotional level rather than that of explanation and reasons. A key figure and influential character was William Wordsworth who had strengthened the Romantic Movement greatly. The Romantic movement was of sort a revolt and includes many poetic ideals such as love, beauty and emotion, many involve John Keats, Percy Shelley, and Wordsworth, the movement begun from around 1750 to around 1870.

Romantic poetry consists of many key characteristics such as the imagination which is the essence of romantic poetry, emotions in expression of thought, nature in interpretation, pastoral life in culture and traditions, symbolism of different meanings and individualism of a representation of varied characteristics.


Wilfred Owen – ‘Futility’

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it awoke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved,—still warm,—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

Wilfred uses many specific features that amount to his individual poetry which include:

  • opening creates a chaotic scene of war with the use of an anonymous character – “him”
  • use of nature as disapproval of war with use of religious language “fields unsown” “rouse”
  • rhetorical questions are used to draw the reader to his views and opinions on war and it’s consequences “too hard to stir?” “Was it for this the clay grew tall?”
  • punctuation is used to emphasis pauses within his statements and emphasis on specific viewpoints “Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides….”
  • contrast in setting with growing life as  a farmer and in the army surrounded by death also extended oxymoron of “cold Star”
  • assonance

Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Futility’ demonstrates his beliefs and faith in the power of the sun and life that has been shattered, he has lost his awe and wonder in mans creation. Themes included in the poem are helplessness that death in war is inevitable, sadness and loss at the loss of all soldiers and the effects of conflict not only on the people that are affected but the economic and financial state of countries and the future stability of countries.

‘Wilfred Owen’

  • Wilfred Owen was born 1893 and died 1918
  • He was born in Oswestry (Wales) and was brought up in Birkenhead and Shrewsbury
  • He is particularly well known for his interpretations of War poetry
  • He enlisted in the British Army in 1915


1893 – 18 March – Born Plas Wilmot, Oswestry.

1897 – Family moves to Birkenhead.

1906 – Family moves to Shrewsbury.

1911 – Wilfred becomes a lay assistant at Dunsden.

1913 – FebruaryLeaves Dunsden and returns home ill.

September – To Bordeaux, France to teach English in the Berlitz School.

1914 – June – Tutoring in a family at Bagneres de Bigorre, in the Pyrenees.Meets French poet Laurent Tailhade.

December – Tutoring in an English family in Bordeaux.

1915- May to June – Back to France after a brief visit home.

October – Returns to England and enlists in 3/28th London Regiment which shortly afterwards became the 2nd Artists Rifles Officers Training Corps.

1916 – June Commissioned into the Manchester Regiment. Reports to 5th (Reserve) Bn. Manchester Regiment at Milford Camp, Near Witley. With friend 2/Lt Gregg (later kia) devises improvement to gas mask.

7th July – Arrives at Talavera Barracks, Aldershot where he is attached to 25th Bn.Middlesex Regt. (C.O. Lieutenant-Colonel John Ward M.P.) for a Musketry Course at Mychett Camp, Farnborough. The course ends and he is classified “1st Class Shot”. Returns to Witley Camp.

18th November Official end to Battle of Somme.

24th November 2nd Manchesters leave Somme battlefield down to 156 officers and men.

October to November To Southport. In rooms at 168a Lord Street, Southport. To Fleetwood. Takes command of a firing range party. Lodges at 111 Bold Street, Fleetwood.

8th December Back in Southport. Takes charge of Musketry Party on the range at Crossens, nr Southport.

Christmas Embarkation leave.

29th December Folkestone. In transit to join 2nd Manchesters.

1917 1st January Arrives in France, thence to the notorious Infantry Base Depot at Etaples and later to 2nd Manchesters as an Officer reinforcement.

12th January Into the front line at Serre in charge of “A” Company.

Takes half of his platoon and occupies a former German bunker in No Man’s Land and posts a sentry who during a bombardment is blinded. (This incident became the subject of “The Sentry”).

4th February Transport Course at Abbeville.

1st March Rejoins the battalion in the line near Le Quesnoy en Santerre.

14/15th March Suffers concussion following a fall.

17th March Arrives at No.13 Casualty Clearing Station at Gailly.

4th AprilRejoins battalion near Manchester Hill, Selency.

8th/30th April In and out of the line at Savy Wood and in the attack on Dancour trench, St Quentin.

2nd May The C.O., Lieutenant-Colonel Luxmoore, notices that Owen is unwell. Evacuated to No.13 CCS with shell shock.

16th June To Netley Hospital, Hampshire.

25th June Arrives Craiglockhart War Hospital, Edinburgh.

Mid August Meets Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves.

October Writes “Anthem for Doomed Youth” and “Dulce et Decorum Est”.

November After leave, is posted to 5th (Reserve) Bn. Manchesters at Scarborough. Acts as mess secretary at Clarence Gardens Hotel (Now Clifton Hotel). (information – The Wilfred Owen Association)



Introduction to the novel ‘Birdsong’

To begin with, ‘Birdsong’ introduces Amiens, France in 1910 his business company sends him to work with Rene Azaire at his textile factory, he stays with Azaire and his family, his wife Isabelle and his two children Lisette and Gregoire, there is detail to the arrangements of how they live, the life before Isabelle and also Isabelle’s life with her struggles at home. The Novel then changes time frame to France 1916 – the middle of World War 1. He is a lieutenant in the British Army and we understand the changes the war causes and the newly found freindships between Stephen and other soldiers: Jack Firebrace, Michael Wier.

Throughout the first section of the novel we can see the changes that occur due to disruptions within relationships such as Isabelle leaving Azaire and his children, also the fear and loneliness that is present due to the onset of the war which significantly changes the attitudes and feelings not only of Stephen but also of the other men who are significant to the changes present in Stephen and how their understanding and sometimes contrast in mindset opens the mind of Stephen and he begins to remains past times with Isabelle and the challenging changes not only physically but also mentally and emotionally that have caused Stephen and Isabelle to consequently change.

causes and consequences of World war One

On 28 June 1914, a Serbian shot an Austrian. Within six weeks, many of the countries of Europe had become involved in a war that was to cause the deaths of 10 million soldiers, but was the assassination the only cause of war?
Four underlying causes of war

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand signalled the rapid slide into world war, but this wasn’t the only cause. There were underlying causes in the run-up to the First World War.
In the 1930s, historians argued that there were four underlying long-term causes of the First World War:
Nationalism – the belief that your country is better than others. This made nations assertive and aggressive.
Imperialism – the desire to conquer colonies, especially in Africa. This brought the powers into conflict – Germany wanted an empire. France and Britain already had empires.
Militarism (Arms Race) – the attempt to build up a strong army and navy gave nations the means and will to make war.
Alliances – in 1882, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy formed the Triple Alliance. This alarmed, France, Britain and Russia. By 1907, they had all joined the Triple Entente. Europe was divided into two armed camps, to help each other if there was a war.
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/ir1/underlyingcausesrev1.shtml – BBC bitesize History causes of the war)



there were many consequences of World War One that greatly impacted not only the lives of people involved by also of the mass destruction on buildings and infrastructure but also economically and geographically with changes that affected the future of Europe and the World. Through this graph it can be seen as an estimate of the cost of War globally. (information from spartacus education)

Allied Powers

Cost in Dollars in 1914-18

United States


Great Britain






















New Zealand




South Africa


British Colonies




Total of all Costs


Central Powers

Cost in Dollars in 1914-18









Total of all Costs


An Introduction to Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Birdsong’

Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Birdsong’ was first published in 1993 and depicts essentially the life of a man named Stephen Wraysford who becomes involved in an affair with Isabelle who is unhappily married. The novel depicts the seemingly short lived affair between Isabelle and Stephen and when World War One begins there are many changes that occur due to the extreme destruction caused by War and the involvement and emotions of many characters around Stephen particularly the comradeship between himself and soldiers. The novel also significantly depicts the circumstances and somewhat hostility of France in 1910 and the struggles for many people. The novel specifies the time changes from a past of War and changing circumstances to a modern discovery of past revelations.