Bannière Talks in English
Thursday 06 June 2019 - 19.00

Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg ...

Just a few of the many soldier poets who have become inextricably linked to the vast output of verse that accompanied the First World War. In the midst of the harsh realities of battle, why did all these soldiers feel the need to put pen to paper and express themselves in poetry? What messages did these poems convey? And what sort of legacy do they leave us today, more than one hundred years on since the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914 which caused the deaths of millions of civilians and military personnel?

In this talk, Simon Davies will give a general overview of those poems written on the war fronts at sea, in the air, on land, and, more particularly, in the trenches, in an attempt to answer these questions.

The title is derived from the final line of Siegfried Sassoon’s poem “Suicide in the Trenches”: “You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye / Who cheer when soldier lads march by, / Sneak home and pray you’ll never know / The hell where youth and laughter go.” 

What is the Talks in English series? 

This programme of talks is part of our offer for adult students, it is open and free for all students, but it is also open and free for members of the public ( subject to seat availability). It is a series of monthly talks in English on different themes, delivered by our teachers and also external speakers. Information on upcoming sessions is available on our website and our social networks.

We offer refreshments at the end of the talks to encourage attendees to practise their English.

Speaker biography

Simon Davies

Head of Languages, Ecole Centrale de Lille

Simon Davies has been teaching English for over 20 years in schools, colleges, universities and industry. He is currently a "Professeur agrégé" in English (specialising in Professional English) and Head of Languages at the Ecole Centrale de Lille, a graduate school ("Grande Ecole") in multi-disciplinary engineering.

English language