THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


98 Wilfred Owen 1893-1918
"The Blind" and "Spring Offensive"
Manuscript, 4 p., September 22, 1918
Written less than two months before Owen was shot and killed at the Sambre and Oise Canal in France, the manuscripts of "The Blind" and "Spring Offensive," the latter one of the poet's most terrifying poems, were enclosed in a letter to Siegfried Sassoon, who had encouraged Owen in his career as a poet and had become his literary mentor. When Owen was sent back to France in late August 1918, serving with the 2nd Manchester Regiment, his attitude toward the war became increasingly critical, and the letter to Sassoon is particularly relevant to the antiwar sentiment expressed in the poems: "You said it would be a good thing for my poetry if I went back. That is my consolation for feeling a fool. This is what shells scream at me every time: Haven't you got the wits to keep out of this... O Jesus, make it stop!" It was Sassoon, in 1920, who co-edited Owen's Poems with Edith Sitwell, and who altered the title of "The Blind" to "The Sentry."
Various funds

Collections and Treasures