Exploring the Protest Language of Poetry: “Cruciada Copiilor/Children’s Crusade” and “Dulce et Decorum Est/It is Sweet and Good

  • Mary Lynne Gasaway Hill


In this chapter, the two protest poems “Cruciada Copiilor/Children’s Crusade” by the Romanian poet, Ana Blandiana, and “Dulce et Decorum Est/It is Sweet and Good” by the British poet, Wilfred Owen, are examined within the deep stories of their particular production contexts of Ceausescu’s Romania and World War I, respectively. Each poem is then analyzed as a performative within the framework of the renovated felicity conditions, introduced in Chapter 2 based on Austin’s Speech Act Theory, for the speech act of protest. Each analysis focuses on the presuppositional conditions regarding convention, circumstance, words, persons, effects, and positionings, followed by the aspirational conditions with a focus on thoughts, intention, risk, commitment, and subsequent actions. These analyses include discussions of identity in terms of convocativity as well as how these speech acts attain pragmatic legitimacy through the fulfillment of the felicity conditions.

Works Cited

  1. Academy of American Poets. (n.d.). A Brief Guide to Romanticism. Academy of American Poets. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from
  2. Althusser, L. (2001). Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (B. Brewster, Trans.). New York: Monthly Review.Google Scholar
  3. Baban, A. (1996). Viata sexual a femeilor: o experienta traumatizanta in Romania socialista. In N. Madalina (Ed.), Cine suntem noi? Despre identitatea femeilor din Romania moderna (pp. 51–53, 60–63). Bucuresti, Romania: Editura Anima. Google Scholar
  4. Bakhtin, M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M.M. Bakhtin (M. Holquist, Ed., & C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  5. BBC. (2015). What Really Happened in the Christmas Truce? iWonder BBC. Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
  6. Beyond the Forest. (n.d.). Totul Poetry Against Ceausescu and Communism in Romania. Beyond the Forest. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from
  7. Blandiana, A. (n.d.). Ana Blandiana Poeta. Eseista. Romancier. Romania. Ana Blandiana. Retrieved October 28, 2014, from
  8. Blandiana, A. (n.d.). The Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from
  9. Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and Symbolic Power (Vol. Part II). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Brandt, A. (2014, July). The Poets of Hell. Military History, 31(2), 50–57.Google Scholar
  11. Butler, J. (1997). Excitable Speech: A Politics of Performance. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Caesar, A. (1993). Taking It Like a Man: Suffering, Sexuality and the War Poets: Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, and Rupert Brooke. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Das, S. (2005). Touch and Intimacy in First World War Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Delderfield, R. (1972). To Serve Them All My Days. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Landmark.Google Scholar
  15. Demson, M. (2010). Percy Shelley’s Radical Agrarian Politics. Romanticism, 16(3), 279–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dierkes-Thrun, P. (2012, November 12). Oscar Wilde’s Salome: Context. Oscar Wilde and the French Decadents. Retrieved February 23, 2015, from
  17. Duffy, C. A. (2009, August 6). Poems for the Last of WWI. BBC Today. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from
  18. Egremont, M. (2014). Some Desperate Glory: The First World War the Poets Knew. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.Google Scholar
  19. Erlanger, S. (2013, September 6). A Weapon Seen as Too Horrible, Even in War. New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from
  20. Flister, L. (2013). Socio Economic Consequences of Romania’s Abortion Ban Under Ceausescu’s Regime. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, 5(2), 294–322.Google Scholar
  21. Frandzen, N. (n.d.). An Interview with Ana Blandiana. Linguana Romana: A Journal of French, Italian, and Romanian Culture. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from
  22. Frantzen, A. (2004). Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice, and the Great War. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Fussell, P. (1977). The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks (Q. Hoare & G. Nowell-Smith, Trans.). New York, NY: International Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Gross, P. (1990). The Soviet Communist Press Theory–Romanian Style. In S. Splichal, J. Hochheimer, & K. Jakubowicz (Eds.), Democratization in the Media: An East–West Dialogue. Ljubljana: Communication and Culture Colloquia.Google Scholar
  26. Gullace, N. F. (2014, June 30). The ‘White Feather Girls’: Women’s Militarism in the UK. Open Democracy: Free Thinking for the World. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from
  27. Harris, H. (2009, April 28). Ministers Lead Protest of D.C. Same-Sex Marriage Legislation. The Breaking News Blog of The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from
  28. Hastings, M. (2013). Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  29. Herzogenrath, B. (2010). An American Body Politic: A Deleuzian Approach. Lebanon, NH: Dartmouth College Press, University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  30. Hibberd, D. (1986). Owen the Poet. London: Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hibberd, D. (2002). Wilfred Owen: A New Biography. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee.Google Scholar
  32. Hutcheon, L. (1991). A Theory of Parody. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Jackson, L. R. (Ed.). (1969). A Survey of Modernist Poetry (2nd ed.). New York: Haskell House Publishers Ltd.Google Scholar
  34. Jehat. (n.d.). Morning Elegy. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from
  35. Keats, J. (n.d.). Ode on a Grecian Urn. English History. Retrieved November 12, 2016, from
  36. Keegan, J. (1998). The First World War. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  37. Kligman, G. (1998). The Politics of Duplicity: Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu’s Romania. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kyle, G. (2013). Soldier Poets: Songs of the Fighting Men (G. Kyle, Ed.). Forgotten Books. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from
  39. Lefort, C. (1986). The Political Forms of Modern Society: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Totalitarianism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  40. Mautner, G. (2011). Language and the Market Society. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. McSmith, A. (2014, June 12). When Poet Siegfried Sassoon Declared, I’m Finished with the War. No Glory in War 1914–1918. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from
  42. Munro-Nelson, J. (2014, September 25). The Syrian Arab Republic’s Use of Chemical Weapons and the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Beacon: Forum for International Issues. Chemical Weapons Convention Page. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from
  43. Northgate, P. (1989). Wilfred Owen and the Soldier Poets. The Review of English Studies, 40(160), 516–530.Google Scholar
  44. Owen, W. (1967). Collected Letters (H. Owen & J. Bell, Eds.). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Owen, W. (1984). The Complete Poems and Fragments, by Wilfred Owen (J. Stallworthy, Ed.). New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  46. Owen, W. (n.d.). The Parable of the Old Man and the Young. Wilfred Owen Association. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from
  47. Owen, W. (2015). Wilfred Owen’s Draft Preface. Wilfred Owen Association. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from
  48. Poetry Foundation. (n.d.). Wilfred Owen 1893–1918. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from
  49. Renan, E. (1893). Souvenirs d’Enfance et de Jeunesse. Retrieved November 12, 2016, from
  50. Rovers, B. (2014). Wilfred Owen’s Letter No. 486 as a Source for ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’. ANQ, 27(1), 28–30.Google Scholar
  51. Sassoon, S. (n.d.). Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration. No Glory in War 1914–1918. Retrieved November 12, 2016, from
  52. Sassoon, S. (1920). Introduction. In W. Owen (Ed.), Poems by WIlfred Owen. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  53. Schmitt, B. E., & Vedeler, H. C. (1988). The World in the Crucible: 1914–1919 (Harper Short Books edition). New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  54. Shelley, P. B. (1964). Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley (Vol. 1, F. L. Jones, Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Sorea, D. (2002). Pregnant Self and Lost Identity in Ana Blandiana’s ‘Children’s Crusade’: An Ironical Echo of the Patriarchal Pro-natality Discourse in Communist Romania. In L. Litosseliti & J. Sunderland (Eds.), Gender Identity and Discourse Analysis (pp. 277–292). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.Google Scholar
  56. Stallworthy, J. (2008). Survivors’ Songs: From Maldon to the Somme. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stanford University. (2015). Children’s Crusade. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from
  58. Swinburne, A. C. (n.d.). Anactoria. Swinburne Archive. Retrieved April 12, 2015, from;query=;brand=swinburne.
  59. Tuchman, B. (1962). The Guns of August. New York, NY: Presidio Press, Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  60. U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. (n.d.). Milestones 1961–1968: Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia. Office of the Historian U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 5, 2014, from
  61. Waxman, O. (2014, June 25). Watch Congressional Leaders Join Hands and Sing ‘We Shall Overcome’. Time Magazine. Retrieved December 12, 2014, from
  62. Williamson, A. (2010). Dulce et Decorum Est. Yale Modernism Lab Essays. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and Communication StudiesSt. Mary’s University, TexasSan AntonioUSA

Personalised recommendations