31 Mar 2014

Recovering 'The First War Poet': new Ivor Gurney documentary

Exeter's Professor Tim Kendall is presenting a new documentary airing on BBC4 this week focusing on the life and work of WWI poet and composer Ivor Gurney. Professor Kendall and Philip Lancaster have been working with the Gurney archive to bring his writing-- both poetic and musical -- to greater public attention.
The documentary sheds vital new light on a forgotten figure who considered himself to be the 'first war poet', overlooked in the history of war writing before now.

Gloucestershire born Gurney studied at the Royal College of Music, fought at the front and suffered mental health problems across his life -- leading to his incarceration in an asylum for 15 years, where he continued to write and compose. Having survived a bullet wound to the shoulder, gas and shell shock, Gurney was committed to the Dartford asylum in 1922, and died of tuberculosis in 1937 at the age of 47, leaving a substantial body of unpublished and unperformed work.

For full details, see the BBC webpages.

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