Thursday, December 30, 2010

1914 and Christmas

What might have been.
London-based military chronicler Lyn MacDonald, in her study 1915: The Death of Innocence, singles out as characteristic the fate of Britain’s aristocratic stud-book, Debrett’s Peerage. This directory needed to have its 1915 edition delayed because “so many heirs to great lands and titles had been killed, that it took the editors many months to revise the entries of almost every blue-blooded family in the United Kingdom.” British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith lost a son. Hilaire Belloc, the great poet and journalist, lost a son. Another great poet, Rudyard Kipling, lost a son. Future German President Friedrich Ebert lost three sons.

Equally notable is the body-count among artists and intellectuals of the time. France’s Alain Fournier, creator of the exquisite novel Le Grand Meaulnes, was killed in 1914. So was the eminent French poet and philosopher, Charles Péguy. America’s own Alan Seeger, whose verses had been admired by T. S. Eliot, joined the French Foreign Legion and was killed in 1916. Also killed in 1916: Britain’s H. H. Munro, who wrote superb short stories under the pen-name “Saki,” and who, refusing an officer’s rank, enrolled as a private. Killed in 1918: English poet Isaac Rosenberg. Killed in 1918: another American poet, Joyce Kilmer.


Stephanie A. Mann said...

I remember reading Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth--her fiancee, several other friends from Oxford, her brother--all so full of promise and expectation, all losing their lives in that War to End All Wars. All that war accomplished was the decimation of a generation!

lara77 said...

That the Christian nations of Europe decimated a generation of young men was beyond tragic; it was a catastrophe. The result today in Europe is the advancement of the Moslem populations; that is Europe's future. How can you even begin to comment on this impending tragedy for so much of Europe's ancient cultures and her Christianity. Do you think for a moment that Saudia Arabia and many other Arab states would allow the infiltration of Christianity? No need to answer that question. To all the writers and readers of this wonderful and civilized blog I say Happy Blessed New Year!! Elena Maria, to you and your family all good wishes in the new year. May God watch over all of us in 2011.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Lara, the same to you, dear!