FW Harvey Collection, Gloucestershire Archives, and FW Harvey Estate

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REACT Collaborative PhDs

Name:Grant Repshire
PhD thesis title: FW Harvey and the First World War
Period of study: September 2012 - August 2015
Primary supervisor: Professor Tim Kendall, Head of English, University of Exeter
Secondary supervisors: Julie Courtenay, Head of Collections, Gloucestershire Archives; Dr Angelique Richardson, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Exeter
Short description:

This is a collaboration between the University of Exeter, the Gloucestershire Archives, and the FW Harvey Society and Estate. The project is centred on personal papers of poet FW Harvey, which were recently discovered by his family and placed on permanent loan at the Gloucestershire Archives to be preserved, catalogued and researched by University of Exeter REACT PhD student J. Grant Repshire.


FW Harvey was among the famous soldier poets of the First World War, who rose to fame while serving in the trenches. He is unique as the only poet to publish a collection while concurrently a prisoner of war. Little scholarly work has been done on his life due to the previous lack of archival research material. Thousands of pages of original material will now be available for research thanks to this project, relating not just to Harvey, but also to his contemporaries Ivor Gurney, Marion Scott, and Herbert Howells among others.


The first phase of the project, cataloguing and preservation of the papers, is nearing completion, and the papers will become available to the public at the Gloucestershire Archives after an official launch on 8 November 2013.


Already, these previously unstudied papers have revealed much exciting and formerly unknown information about Harvey's life and works, which will be presented in Repshire's dissertation. This is tentatively titled 'FW Harvey and the First World War', and is an exploration of Harvey's personal experiences and literary contributions during the war. The research seeks to establish Harvey's place within the canon of First World War poetry by providing a full documentation of Harvey's wartime experiences in conjunction with scholarly analysis of his concurrent development as a poet. Particular emphasis will be placed on his experience as a prisoner of war, as Harvey's life and works provides an excellent case study for this overlooked facet of the First World War experience.


Follow FW Harvey on Twitter @FWHarvey

Long lost Gloucestershire war poet's novel turned into a play (ITV West Country)