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About the Author: David Jones

David Jones is one of the finest modernist poets. He was born in London in 1895 and was both a painter and a poet. His reputation as a poet rests largely on two works: In Parenthesis and The Anathemata. The former is a deeply moving account of Jones' experiences in the trenches in the First World War.

In Parenthesis won the prestigious Hawthornden Prize in 1938. In his preface to the 1961 edition, T S Eliot had no hesitation in including Jones along with Joyce, Pound and himself as a premier exponent of literary modernism. The poem is a mixture of prose and verse and is accompanied by Jones' notes. What stands out is the fundamental decency and humanity of those men as they made their way to the slaughter on the front line. This journey is described with such brilliance that the reader becomes immersed in the moment and almost forgets the horrors that await. The notes are equally remarkable and could make a poem in themselves.

W H Auden callled The Anathemata "Very probably the finest long poem written in English in this century" and it is a remarkable work, packed full of the 'mixed data' referred to above and providing a dizzying tour of our cultural past. This too has notes provided by Jones and a long introduction which both explains and justifies the nature of its composition.

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Goodreads rating: 3.95

Paperback, Published in Jul 2003 by NYRB Classics

ISBN10: 1590170369 | ISBN13: 9781590170366

Page count: 272

"This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt, and was part of": with quiet modesty, David Jones begins a work that is among the most powerful imaginative efforts to grapple with the carnage of the First World War, a book celebrated by W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot as one of the masterpieces of modern literature. Fusing poetry and prose, gutter talk and high music, wartime terror and ancient myth, Jones, who served as an infantryman on the Western Front, presents a picture at once panoramic and intimate of a world of interminable waiting and unforeseen death. And yet throughout he remains alert to the flashes of humanity that light up the wasteland of war.

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