Research paper on Ivor Gurney

Topics: Ivor Gurney, War poet, World War I Pages: 8 (2564 words) Published: February 23, 2014

Ivor Gurney

‘Strange Hells’ (1917)
‘The Silent One’ (1919)
‘An Asylum poem’ (1919)

Rogers 2
Part 2: Biography of Ivor Gurney (1890-1937)
Taken from Anthony Boden, Ivor Gurney: A Biographical Outline http://ivorgurney.org.uk/biography.htm Bolden illustrates throughout Gurney’s entire life writing and composing were his outlets, or passion if you will. Bolden gives a chronological synopsis of Gurney’s life. He makes clear that Gurney was a man who loved life finding joy in everything, yet a tortured man battling mental illness that dramatically took hold of him after his traumatic experiences at war. His godfather identifying his artistic abilities really sent him to the right outlets, igniting his artistic career at a young age. Ivor Bertie Gurney was among the few most famous English composers and war poets. He was born at 3 Queen Street, Gloucester, as the second out of the four surviving children of a tailor, David Gurney, and Florence, a seamstress. His musical ability shown very early in his life. From 1900 to 1906, he was singing as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral, where he became an articled pupil of Dr Herbert Brewer. There, he met another composer Herbert Howells who came to be a lifelong friend. He started composing music at a very early age of 14, which led him to win a scholarship at the Royal College of Music in 1911 where he studied music under Sir Charles Stanford. His studies were interrupted by the erupting of the World War I, during which he attempted to enlist but was rejected because of his poor eyesight (he used glasses almost his entire life). However, in 1915, he joined the war Rogers 3

as a private soldier in the Gloucestershire Regiment. He started writing poetry seriously, at the Front, sending his efforts to Marion Scott, a musicologist-critic and his friend, who worked with Gurney as business manager and editor. In April 1917, he was injured while the midst of writing the poems for his later book, Severn and Somme. He recovered and went back to the battle where he continued to compose and write songs and poems. During the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres) he was injured again when in a gas attack. While he seemed to thrive after the war, his mental distress continued to affect him. Upon his return to the Royal College of Music, he studied for a while with Ralph Vaughan Williams, but he left without completing his studies. However, he continued to write and compose. His last 15 years of his life were spent in mental hospitals. Even during the years in the mental hospitals he did not stop writing. He later died of tuberculosis in City of London Mental Hospital in 1937, at the age of 47. I believe Gurney’s home town in Gloucester, motivated him to write. Bolden expresses he described it with undeniable beauty, while at war he wrote about how he missed it, and while incarcerated in a mental hospital the last fifteen years of his life it was always a topic of happiness. Gurney went as far as trying to escape from the mental hospital so he could simply walk the hills of Gloucester, I Though he always battled with mental illness he remained happy always finding beauty in the world.

Legacy
On 11 November 1985: commemorated among 16 Great War Poets on a slate stone in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner. Rogers 4
Wilfred Owen, a fellow Great War poet wrote the inscription on the stone: “My subject is War and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity” (**********). 2009: his memorial was erected in near Ypres, and a blue plaque on East gate Street in Gloucester Part 3: A Paragraph Summary of Enlightening details

To God, by Ivor Gurney, is an open letter written by the poet to an absent saviour. http://www.helium.com/items/2329328-poetry-analysis-to-god-by-ivor-gurney] The letter is written by the poet regarding his time in the psychiatric ward. His work has been viewed as canonical like other WW1-era masterpieces. The latter...

Bibliography: The First World War Poetry Digital Archive,
http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/gurney
The website presents important information on the poet (biography). It also provides access to his collection and individual poems, as well as other related works.
Photos from Bings website photo gallery
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=ivor+gurney+photos&id=4B3584A8DC9D953DE94907991266A1745B71C1D7&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=4B3584A8DC9D953DE94907991266A1745B71C1D7&selectedIndex=0
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