2.Poets during the Great War
The vast majority of French war poets remain unknown today. Indeed, during the first war, the French poetry is widely challenged by the prose, which reached a wider public. The need for evidence as a story is preferred to poetry.
Although the great French poets have served under the French flag during the First War (Apollinaire, Cendrars or Peguy), they were not acclaimed in the history of French literature as were the British poets. Indeed, while Westminster Abbey honors a group of English poets and soldiers; the Pantheon has a series of plates with the inscription "tribute to writers who died for France", engraved with the names of the soldiers.
The popularity of French writers and fighters overwhelmed that of French poets.
Yet the poetry of French soldiers develops gradually.
Classical works of Victor Hugo, for example, are used to support the war effort. Poetry finds then a social function and the war reveals vocations and talent. Some journals and trench newspapers publishes different poems.
At the end of the war, the poets who were silent during the conflict publish again. And in 1919, the "Association of soldiers’ writers" was born. It units the most famous literary people having carried weapons for France and counts Sir Winston Churchill as member of honor and Roland Dorgelès as president.
Come and discover our new exhibit about the poets during the Great War.
You will learn more about the biography of these poet soldiers such as Joyce Kilmer or Alan Seeger but also discover nice poems and photos.
Part of the exposition retraces the life of Guillaume Apollinaire with original documents lent by a renowned museum in Belgium.
Don't miss our exhibit.