Monday, 17 September 2007

Isaac Rosenberg: Pozieres

Isaac Rosenberg was the son of Jewish Russian immigrants. He grew up in extreme poverty,but was a talented painter and poet,studying at Birkbeck College and later at the Slade School of Art. Rosenberg found army life very hard; he was bullied and victimised because of his faith, class and artistic temperament, and through his frailty and poor health he suffered real physical hardship. The poems that Rosenberg produced as a soldier are distinctive in their modernity, clarity of language and compassionate detachment. The project will be digitizing a vast number of Rosenberg's poetry manuscripts and letters from the Imperial War Museum, New York Public Library, and the British Library. The condition of the manuscripts are particularly interesting, showing the immediacy of the trench experience through mud stained paper and scrawled handwriting. This manuscript, from a collection at the British Library, features Rosenberg's poem "Pozieres". Rosenberg submitted the design and the poem for the 40th Division Christmas card in 1917. Unsurprisingly, it was not chosen.

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