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Power and Conflict (AQA Poetry Anthology)

6. Wilfred Owen, Exposure (1917)

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About this Lecture


In this module, we explore Wilfred Owen’s ‘Exposure’, focusing in particular on the historical context for the poem – the experience of soldiers fighting in the First World War (1914-18) ¬– the poem’s use of language (e.g. alliteration, repetition, oxymoron, etc.), the figure of the soldier and his companions, and the concept of existentialism.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores the fifteen poems that make up the 'Power and Conflict' cluster for GCSE English Literature (AQA). Each poem is read in detail, with a short commentary highlighting aspects of language, style, themes, motifs, and so on. In the case of Shelley's 'Ozymandias', for example, we think about the multitude of voices in the poem and the idea of the 'waste land' in the history of poetry. When we come to 'My Last Duchess', we focus on the dramatic monologue form and the contrast between the character of the Duke and his "last Duchess". And so on for the whole collection.

The poems discussed in this course are:
1. Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias (1818)
2. William Blake, London (1794)
3. William Wordsworth, Extract from The Prelude (1798-1850)
4. Robert Browning, My Last Duchess (1842)
5. Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854)
6. Wilfred Owen, Exposure (1917)
7. Seamus Heaney, Storm on the Island (1966)
8. Ted Hughes, Bayonet Charge (1957)
9. Simon Armitage, Remains (2008)
10. Jane Weir, Poppies (2009)
11. Carol Ann Duffy, War Photographer (1985)
12. Imtiaz Dharker, Tissue (2006)
13. Carol Rumens, The Émigrée (1993)
14. Beatrice Garland, Kamikaze (2013)
15. John Agard, Checking Out Me History (2007)


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2018, December 20). Power and Conflict (AQA Poetry Anthology) - Wilfred Owen, Exposure (1917) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Power and Conflict (AQA Poetry Anthology) – Wilfred Owen, Exposure (1917)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Dec 2018,