From ‘Literature and Soldiers’, The Spectator, 19 June 1915: In this war some of the most moving poetry has been written by young soldiers. The most vivid accounts of fighting have been extracted from soldiers’ letters. These were certainly not written without a close companionship with letters. We wonder how many torn and thumbed copies of Shakespeare, Milton, Homer, or Virgil are in trenches and dug-outs at this moment. We wonder how many officers have added an entirely non-military zest to their movements by studying domestic Gothic architecture, or the buildings bearing the more grandiose imprint of Louis XIV’s days, as they passed through the interesting towns of Flanders. We wonder how many among the naturalists have recorded in diaries the comings and goings and the nest-building of birds on the battlefields. We undertake to say that a great many have.
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