Skip Content

‘I should want nothing more’: Edward Thomas and simplicity

Chatterton Lecture on Poetry, delivered 1 November 2018.

The life Edward Thomas chose to live, the things he admired, and the poetry he wrote, attract the description ‘simple’. Walter de la Mare stated that Thomas’s poetry ‘ennobles by simplification’. Yet Thomas recognised that, paradoxically, simplicity is complicated and can be subject to infinite interpretations. ‘If only simplicity were truly simple to mankind’, he wrote in The Heart of England. This lecture addresses the simplicity in (and of) his poetry; and considers his life, career, and ‘simple lifers’, Georgians, Modernists, the First World War, and what Thomas called ‘the monotony and simplicity of death’.

Dr Guy Cuthbertson, Associate Professor, Liverpool Hope University

Guy Cuthbertson is the author of Wilfred Owen (Yale, 2014) and Peace at Last (Yale, 2018). He edited Edward Thomas’s Autobiographies (Oxford, 2011), and co-edited Thomas’s England and Wales (Oxford, 2011) and Branch-Lines: Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry (Enitharmon, 2007). He studied at St Andrews and Oxford, and is an Associate Professor at Liverpool Hope University.

Professor Robert Crawford FBA, Professor of Modern Scottish Literature and Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Poetry, University of St Andrews

Find out more about the Chatterton Lecture on Poetry.