Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Spender, Stephen. (1909 - 1995).

W o r k

- 1930s: wrote political and social poems, poems on social injustice and class struggle, and poems on his experience of the Spanish Civil War

- 1950s and on: retreats from political writing, puts an increasing stress on private emotions and relationships

Twenty Poems (1920), Poems (1933), and The Still Centre (1939):

- intermixes public, political, and private verse

- achieves the most effective balance of personal response and public engagement in the poems of his Spanish Civil War experience

- preface to The Still Centre explains why the poems had not struck a more heroic note: ‘a poet can only write about what is true to his own experience, not about what he would like to be true to his experience’

> “What I Expected”:

- contrasts his romanticised expectations about war x his actual experience 

> “An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum”:

- points out the cultural anomalies and class conflicts in inter-war Britain

> “A Footnote (from Marx’s Chapter, The Working Day)”:

- evokes historical injustice in the voices of Victorian slum-children

> “Two Armies” and “Ultima Ratio Regum”:

- develop erotic implications of the intimacy of huddled sleeping soldiers

> “Port Bou”:

- confesses his failure to convey a sense of the heroic at the ‘still centre’ both of the war and of the poet’s consciousness


"In railway halls, on pavements near the traffic, / They beg, their eyes made big by empty staring / And only measuring Time, like the blank clock."

From "In railway halls, on pavements near the traffic."


(Photo: Britannica).

  • Author

    Sir Stephen Harold Spender. (1909 - 1995). British.
  • Work

    Poet. Member of Auden's Circle.
  • Genres

    Left-wing poetry in 1930s. War poetry.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


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