Monday, October 18, 2010

World War One Novels and Poets - A Reading List for Teens

Draft of Wilfred Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth




Although Lucy is of an age  - historically speaking - to study primary sources and more academic histories, there is a large space reserved for the learning that comes through fiction and poetry. It is impossible to read another of Owen's poems, Dulce Et Decorum Est, for example,  and not immediately understand the despairing sacrifice of a whole generation in the cause of the Great War.

This is a tentative list - it's a time period that can be distressing for those empathetic teens who are often drawn to the study of history - and I've no wish to give Lucy sleepless nights!  So we'll see how we go.

POETS - we'll be looking at two or three poems each by Wilfred Owens, Rupert Brooke and Seigfried Sassoon. This might be a useful place to start looking  http://www.poemhunter.com/ .

NOVELS - Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

After the Dancing Days  by Margaret Rostkowski

A Time of Angels by Karen Hesse

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett  ( re-read)

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

I've come across a number of other novels, both classic and modern, that deal with this time period but are a bit too intense for a 13yr old. I plan on reading a number of them though, so in case you're interested for yourself or for older teens, might I suggest ...

Regeneration by Pat Barker ( this involves the above poets as characters in the novel )

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

I'd also recommend A S Byatt's The Childrens Book  - it actually takes place in the era before the war but it reveals itself in quite a shocking way to be a prelude to war.

If we end up doing other books, or specific activities based on the above novels/poets, I'll be sure to share the info in another post. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know by leaving a comment - I'd like to keep working on this list.

1 comment:

  1. For adults, A Very Long Engagement. I can't remember the (French) author - it was made into a film starring Audrey Tautou a few years ago.

    Regeneration is one of my favourite Pat Barker novels.

    I came across this page in my literary blog travels...you may have seen it already.

    http://librarybooklists.org/fiction/ya/yahistorical.htm#wars

    ps. Long story as to why my sig is now Becca....

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