Wilfred Owen: Futility (2176 words)


“Futility” is a short poem by Wilfred Owen, and one of the very few to have been published during his lifetime. It first appeared in The Nation magazine on 15 June 1918, Owen having composed it at Ripon – where he was stationed at a military training camp – in the previous month. Although always classified among Owen’s famously moving poems about the First World War, and probably based upon some incident of Owen’s wartime experience in the previous year, it unusually makes no direct mention of the war. In his draft plan for a volume of poems, Owen placed “Futility” under the thematic heading of “Grief”, and the poem indeed dramatises aspects of the psychology of grief in remarkable ways, resonating beyond the n…

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Futility". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 January 2015 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35566, accessed 21 January 2021.]

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