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Alun Lewis Biography

(1915–44), Raiders' Dawn, The Last Inspection, Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets

Welsh poet, born in Cwmaman, Glamorgan, educated at the Universities of Aberystwyth and Manchester. After prolonged indecision due to his pacifist views, he joined the army in 1940 and served as an officer in India and Burma. He died at Arakan after the discharge of his own revolver in circumstances which remain unclear. The elegiac lyricism and descriptive acuteness of Raiders' Dawn (1942), his first collection of poems, gained him a reputation which was consolidated by The Last Inspection (1943), a volume of ironically factual and carefully structured short stories. Many of the poems and stories convey the tedium and isolation of life in army training camps in England. Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets (1945), a posthumous collection of poetry with an introduction by Robert Graves, was followed by the selections from his correspondence in Letters from India (1946) and a further volume of stories entitled In the Green Tree (1948). The inhospitable landscapes of India and Burma and the fatalistic philosophies of their inhabitants strongly inform his later verse, in which love and death are prevailing themes. Ian Hamilton's edition of his Selected Poetry and Prose appeared in 1966. A biography by John Pikoulis was published in 1984. See also war poetry.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire