War of Words | BBC 2 | Saturday 15 November; available on BBC iPlayer until 14 December
The 1916 Battle of the Somme remains the most famous battle of World War I, remembered for its bloodshed and its limited territorial gains. What is often overlooked, however, is the literary importance of the Somme: more writers and poets fought in it than in any other battle in history.
Narrated by Michael Sheen, War of Words: Soldier-Poets of the Somme details the experiences of the poets and writers who served in the battle. The work of Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg and JRR Tolkien (who arrived at the Western Front with ambitions to be a poet) was informed and transformed by the battle. Taken together, their experiences allow us to see this dreadful historical event through multiple points of view.
War of Words: Soldier-Poets of the Somme uses animation, documentary accounts, surviving artefacts, battalion war diaries and the landscape itself to reconnect this literature to the events that inspired it. READ MORE