In 1991, Pat Barker’s Regeneration gave fictional life to Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen during their treatment for shellshock at Craiglockhart War Hospital outside Edinburgh. Now, Robert Edric’s In Zodiac Light features another Great War poet, Ivor Gurney, who was incarcerated in 1922 at the far less enlightened City of London Mental Hospital in Dartford. Comparisons may be odrous but they are inevitable and, in this case, fail to work in Edric’s favour.
Although Gurney’s reputation as both poet and composer has steadily risen in recent years, he remains largely unknown to the general public. Like the poet and painter Isaac Rosenberg, he was born several rungs down the social ladder from his more celebrated peers and there are those who feel that