Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Edward Thomas: the father of modern landscape-writing

The old station sign and bench at Adlestrop
The old station sign and bench at Adlestrop Credit: Christopher Jones

In these centenary years of the Great War there has been much commemoration of cultural figures who did not come back: last year Rupert Brooke, this one George Butterworth, and, in 2017, Edward Thomas.

We think of Thomas as a war poet, but the poem for which he is most celebrated, "Adlestrop", was written before he had experienced conflict at first hand. Thomas put the recollection of a train journey in June 1914 into verse the following January, when laid up in his cottage in Hampshire with a sprained ankle. It was only later, spurred on by his friend and soulmate Robert Frost, that he decided to enlist, at the relatively advanced age of 37.

Thomas developed an immense reputation as a poet - one that has tended to overshadow his mastery of prose, and his role as the father of modern English landscape writing.

No comments: