Thursday, 1 October 2009

Gurney war poetry manuscripts online

July this year saw the launch of a major new resource which brings to public access some 1200 pages of Gurney manuscript, which can be viewed on the internet, free of charge. The First World War Digital Poetry Archive has been developed over the last few years by Oxford University Computing Services, and was initially launched at the Imperial War Museum in November 2008, making available manuscripts by poets including Edward Thomas, Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg. Other poets are being added to the site, and July saw Gurney's turn, becoming one of the most represented poets on the site, with the manuscript pages that we at the archive had digitised in the latter part of 2008.

The online collection includes letters, many of which included poems, being sent home to Blighty, to Marion Scott, notebooks containing drafts of poems, typescripts, typescript and handwritten transcriptions by Scott, as well as Gurney's own copies of the two volumes published during his lifetime, Severn & Somme (1917) and War's Embers (1919), annotated with amendments made some years after they were published, when Gurney was having his extraordinary last flurry of creativity in the asylum before he turned to silence, musically and poetically speaking.

To explore this fantastic new web resource, go to

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