In Parenthesis : Introduction by T.S. Eliot, Hardback

In Parenthesis : Introduction by T.S. Eliot Hardback

Part of the Poets of the Great War series

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


No poetry has touched readers' hearts more deeply than the soldier poets of the First World War.

Published to commemorate the centenary of 1914, this stunning set of books, with specially commissioned covers by leading print makers, is an essential gathering of our most beloved war poets introduced by leading poets and biographers of our present day. "In Parenthesis was first published in London in 1937.

I am proud to share the responsibility for that first publication.

On reading the book in typescript I was deeply moved.

I then regarded it, and still regard it, as a work of genius...Here is a book about the experience of one soldier in the war of 1914-18.

It is also a book about War, and about many other things also, such as Roman Britain, the Arthurian Legend, and divers matters which are given association by the mind of the writer." (T.S.

Eliot). "'This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt, and was part of ': with quiet modesty, David Jones begins a work that is among the most powerful imaginative efforts to grapple with the carnage of the First World War. Fusing poetry and prose, gutter talk and high music, wartime terror and ancient myth, Jones, who served as an infantryman on the Western Front, presents a picture at once panoramic and intimate of a world of interminable waiting and unforeseen death. And yet throughout he remains alert to the flashes of humanity that light up the wasteland of war." (W.S.



  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Poetry by individual poets
  • ISBN: 9780571315796



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In Parenthesis – A Forgotten MasterpieceFaber Faber has re-released the poem that made David Jones a household name in 1937 along with both prefaces that were written by T.S. Elliot. Now as in 1937 it is still hard to categorise In Parenthesis as a poem or as a novel, as it is a mixture of poetry and prose and has been called an example of High Modernism. In the 1961 preface T.S.Elliot compares Jones with himself, Ezra Pound and James Joyce, high praise indeed.As a historian I have used poetry and prose other than the primary sources to convey the feeling of men at war when one explores their thinking, the feeling of the ordinary soldier in the trenches. In Parenthesis is often forgotten not just by historians but those who teach war history and go for the shorter form of War Poetry. This edition is a timely reminder of why we should remember In Parenthesis for study and an example of the complex feelings of the men fighting in the trenches.In Parenthesis is based around the events leading up to and including the fighting at Mametz Wood between 7th July and 12th July 1916, the events that took place here would later influence his writings and paintings. It took Jones until 1937 to write and have published In Parenthesis as he struggled for the right words to convey their feelings of those times and the horror of battle.In Parenthesis, a wonderful mixture of poetry and prose published as a seven part book that has been described as one of the best Great War books ever published. For some unknown reason In Parenthesis seemed to fall out of favour in the 1960s just as teaching War Poetry fell in to fashion, may be they thought it too long to teach or the High Modernism to complicated for students to understand.Part One “The Many Men So Beautiful” is the narration and introduction of Private John Ball (Jones) as a member of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the training and movement of the men from England to France in 1915.Part two, “Chambers Go Off, Corporals Stay” is about the further training that they are undergoing in France with the endless drills but this is also where we get the first indications of the violence that is to come. Part Three, “Starlight Order” is about the final march towards the trenches and the orders they have received. Part four, “King Pellam’s Launde” is about being on the front line and the undertaking of your duties and all the mundane duties for a soldier in forward positions in the Great War.Part five, “Squat Garlands For White Knights” is about the events leading up to the Somme offensive which began on 1st July 1916. This section deals more characters and is an accurate narrative of what Jones would have faced at that time. Part six, “Pavilions & Captains of Hundreds” in turn deals with all the events and anxieties that led up to the assault on Mametz Wood, something which speaks directly from the heart straight to the reader.Part seven, “The Five Unmistakable Marks” is Jones recollection and account of the attack on Mametz Wood and the horrors of what he had to do and the area he had to cover. They had to cover 500 yards of no man’s land which then dropped into a small valley before rising again for 400 yards to the edge of the wood making them easy targets to be shot at.To me this is a beautiful account of one man’s war who took twenty years struggling to find the right words to portray the battle scene. To some the Modernism of the poem may make it seem complex especially from Part Five onwards but that complexity brings out the full force of war and that there is no seemingly right answer to it.

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