The Death of a Hero

The Quest for First World War Poet Richard Aldington’s Berkshire Retreat

David Wilkinson

* True-life inspirations behind WWI poet Richard Aldington's anti-war novels

* Conveys the aftermath of the war felt by the people involved and those at home

* Mourns the loss of the 'Lost Generation'

* The effect of his novels on the village and the 'characters' depicted

* Sensitive nature of the subject meant that any investigations at the ti
Date Published :
August 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
40 images and maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473871106
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : In stock


When David Wilkinson bought a picturesque cottage alongside the Kennet and Avon Canal in Berkshire, he was astonished to learn that the writer Richard Aldington, a WWI veteran, had lived there in the 1920s. In his most famous novel, Death of a Hero (1929), Aldington mourned the loss of a generation of young men in the First World War, while in The Colonel’s Daughter (1931), he set out to show the effect of that loss on the young women left behind. Intrigued, Wilkinson decided to trace the people who had inspired this later novel. From servant girls to army officers, he interviewed those who knew and talked freely about Aldington’s time amongst them, and the worrying effect that the work had on their lives.

Aldington had moved on by the time he wrote The Colonel’s Daughter, but for those involved the story would prove to be far closer to the truth than was easily palatable. One woman in particular was immediately recognizable and had to live with the consequences of Aldington’s story for the remainder of her long life.

Wilkinson’s research led him to shoulder the uneasy truth of his findings, and the mantle of assumed guilt followed him as he discovered, firsthand, the uncomfortable effect of the novel on the village, and on the women of the ‘Lost Generation’.

About The Author

For twenty years (1992-2012) Wilkinson was Associate Editor of The Richard Aldington Newsletter. His published works include an essay on Aldington’s post-war years in Richard Aldington: Papers from the Reading Conference (Department of English, University of Reading, 1986); Introduction to Roads to Glory by Richard Aldington (London: Imperial War Museum, 1992) and “Dying at the word of command”: The Last Days of Richard Aldington’s War’ (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, 1992). He now lives in Cornwall and has published extensively on the St Ives Art Colony. He is a member of the Little Parc Owles Trust, which was set up to further interest in Modern and Contemporary Art in St Ives.

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