Cecil Woolf – First World War poet

A timely contribution to the US website Literary Hub about one of the first Hogarth Press publications, Poems by C.N. Sidney Woolf. Leonard’s younger brother Cecil was killed at Cambrai in 1917, by the same shell that injured Philip, another Woolf brother, serving in the same regiment. The following year, this slim volume containing 15 poems was printed and distributed privately, with a brief biography by Philip, hinting at what Cecil might have accomplished had he lived.

The poems are not war poems from the trenches or battlefield but were written several years earlier. Virginia Woolf’s judgement was: ‘They’re not very good; they show the Woolf tendency to denunciation, without the vigour of my particular Woolf.’ But the book was intended primarily as a commemorative volume for family and friends, to whom literary merit was presumably less important than publication.


Virginia and Leonard Woolf Remember Their War Dead