Siegfried Sassoon

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by Anne Aufhauser and Andrew Karas

Contents

Background

by Anne Aufhauser

A well-educated, wealthy young man when he enlisted in the military at the eve of World War I, Siegfried Sassoon had the background of a budding modernist. After dropping out of Cambridge, Sassoon dabbled in poetry until joining the military in 1914, where he met and exchanged ideas with Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen, both of whom would become fixtures in the modernist cannon.


An examination of Sassoon’s war poetry complicates an understanding of it as purely modern. Soon after meeting Sassoon at Craiglockhart, a military hospital for shell shocked English soldiers, Wilfred Owen giddily wrote his mother, “I am held peer by the Georgians; I am a poet’s poet.”[1] While Owen himself credits Sassoon’s friendship with influencing a dramatic shift in Owen’s—and eventually the public’s—modernist expression of World War I, there is more to Owen’s 1917 statement than a pithy phrase about shared poetic sentiment. Even as Siegfried Sassoon’s war poetry revolutionized conceptions of appropriate poetic vocabulary, imagery, and form, it betrayed a deep nostalgia for the Georgian past as much as a modern break from it.

Sassoon and the War

by Anne Aufhauser

Sassoon fully understood his generation’s unique historical and literary position. Much of Sassoon’s work, including “The Fathers” and “The Hero,” contrasts an older generation’s romantic understanding of the War with its bloody reality. In his essay on Counter-Attack and Other Poems, Andrew Karas discusses Sassoon’s employment of “altered allusions” to reshape poetic tradition through “the torque of intense experience.”[2] According to another critic, Pericles Lewis, Sassoon’s war poetry contributed to a modernist rejection of conventional “poetic diction."[3] Rejecting more than pure diction during the course of the Great War, Sassoon landed himself at Craiglockhart when he published his “Soldier’s Declaration,” a self-described “willful defiance of military authority” condemning the war aims. A year after leaving Craiglockhart, Sassoon published Counter-Attack and Other Poems. Following the Armistice, Sassoon again published a collection of war poems, but soon turned his attention to the novel, publishing the first of three fictional memoirs in 1928. Sassoon’s war experience also inspired political activism, and he briefly edited the socialist newspaper The Daily Herald.


In light of the success of Sassoon’s later work, his choice of poetry as a wartime medium warrants exploration. Like many of his contemporaries, Sassoon expounds on societal disjunction and an inability to achieve a universal understanding of experience in a new modern age. Robert Graves, a contemporary poet and military friend of Sassoon, remembers the two defining “the War in our poems by making contrasted definitions of peace.” [4] Sassoon especially establishes a dichotomy between combatants and noncombatants, a reflection both on the War’s creation of rifts and on Sassoon’s own “curious kind of elitism” privileging the soldier, his words, and his experiences. Sassoon’s 1918 poem “Suicide in the Trenches” captures his contempt for noncombatants:

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.[5]

While Sassoon bitterly delineates the growing chasm between civilian and soldier life, he also turns a critical eye to the soldier’s world and its contradictions. By highlighting the dissonance of words’ meanings and sound in his poetry, Sassoon mirrors the War’s destructive effect on language.


Perhaps inspired by the copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets he carried with him to the front, Sassoon works discord into the structure of the poems themselves, manipulating the sonnet form to reflect the War’s violence and tensions.[6] Sonnets give Sassoon his most compelling medium for a question that plagues him throughout the War, that of reconciling the past with the radically different present. In its thematic, verbal, and formal disjunction, much of Sassoon’s war poetry suggests not a rejection of the past but rather an awkward and futile attempt to return to it. An examination of Sassoon’s treatment of time in his sonnets suggests that, while he envisions a world moving forward post-war, he questions his ability to advance with it.

Counter-Attack and Other Poems

by Andrew Karas

Siegfried Sassoon was born into a prosperous English family and spent his youth engaged in pastoral pursuits befitting a young Edwardian gentleman of privilege—writing old-fashioned verses, playing sports, and, especially, fox hunting. Sassoon was, in short, the type of young man Rupert Brooke might have envisioned marching gallantly off to war in “1914:” one “whom England bore, shaped, made aware, / Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam” (5-6). Indeed, a patriotic Sassoon enlisted in the military even before England formally entered the Great War, but he broke his arm and had to recuperate before seeing active service.


When Sassoon did get to the front, he encountered the hellish reality of trench warfare, and he met and befriended a fellow poet and soldier, Robert Graves. The conjunction of these influences would transform Sassoon’s poetry; soon the young man who, before the war, had privately printed and distributed some sentimental post-Romantic poems would begin producing satirical, unflinching documents of war. Sassoon included a selection of his war poems in his 1917 volume The Old Huntsman, but 1918’s Counter-Attack and Other Poems formed a single, sustained blast against everything Sassoon found abhorrent concerning the war.


Yet, it is far too simple and reductive merely to label the poems in this book “anti-war.” Though certainly intended as a corrective to the propagandistic pro-war pablum being fed to the public by the British government, Sassoon’s poems are thematically diverse. Some take aim at easy or obvious targets, such as incompetent commanders (“The General”), a complacent and self-important press (“Editorial Impressions”), or willfully ignorant English citizenry (“The Fathers”). Others, however, offer more complicated assessments of the war and of Sassoon’s own responsibilities and culpabilities, especially in light of his commitment, in 1917, to Craiglockhart mental hospital. Sassoon’s time at the hospital resulted from the publication of his brief but scathing “Soldier’s Declaration,” in which he publicly refused to continue fighting a war he considered “evil and unjust.” Graves convinced military authorities to treat Sassoon’s non serviam as a symptom of shell shock, not an act of treason, and while “recuperating,” Sassoon met Wilfred Owen, a fellow patient and poet on whom he would exert enormous influence.


Sassoon’s conflicted feelings about his time away from the front emerge in poems such as “Banishment,” in which the separation of a living soldier from his dead comrades is conflated with Sassoon’s separation, at sheltered, safe Craiglockhart, from the men at the front. In preceding poems, Sassoon unrelentingly compares the environment of the front to “hell,” and consequently the reader is primed to recognize what now, in a poem about dead soldiers, seems a literalization of that overworked metaphor: “the pit where they must dwell” (10). This pit is the underworld, we assume—until Sassoon mentions the “grappling guns” there, and we realize that while the octave of this sonnet addresses those literally dead, the sestet shifts registers to consider the death-in-life that is war (12). In what we must read as a veiled reference to his “Declaration,” Sassoon then writes: “Love drove me to rebel. / Love drives me back to grope with them through hell; / And in their tortured eyes I stand forgiven” (12-14). “Banishment” thus leaves the reader with a complex emotional map of Sassoon’s reasons for leaving and, eventually, returning to the front. It also leaves the reader to wonder what, exactly, has been “forgiven:” is it the speaker’s desertion of comrades whom he left in dangerous and brutal conditions, or is it, more broadly, his remaining alive while so many others have died? Both seem valid possibilities, since hell is both a figurative and a literal place in this poem.


The rendering of hell as an actual place relates to a prominent feature of Sassoon’s poetry: the reworking of myth to make it commensurate with modern experience. Many of Sassoon’s poems appropriate topoi from classical literature and seek their parallels in the lives of soldiers. For example, “The Rear Guard,” a poem about a soldier exploring a dark tunnel strewn with bodies, mimics an epic descent into the underworld, except that this soldier cannot find anyone to help him navigate the treacherous and frightening place. In a macabre parody of the search for a shade who might glide up to lead the way, the soldier begins talking to a corpse:

‘I’m looking for headquarters.’ No reply.
‘God blast your neck!’ (For days he’d had no sleep,)
‘Get up and guide me through this stinking place.’

Savage, he kicked a soft, unanswering heap,
And flashed his beam across the livid face
Terribly glaring up, whose eyes yet wore
Agony dying hard ten days before[.] (11-17)

Counter-Attack and Other Poems contains numerous other altered allusions, moments when the poetic tradition is bent into a new shape by the torque of intense experience. Nor was Sassoon alone in employing this technique; Owen, for instance, has his own poem about a journey to the underworld, and both Sassoon and Owen titled poems after the opening words of the Aeneid (Sassoon’s “Arms and the Man,” in The Old Huntsman, and Owen’s “Arms and the Boy”).


These instances of intertextuality prove more than that poets like Sassoon were well-read. Somewhat ironically, these poets’ transformations of tradition demonstrate their very modernity, helping us to locate them in the landscape of literary modernism. A poem like “The Rear-Guard” does not simply use the epic tradition; it makes it new, to quote Ezra Pound’s modernist dictum. Sassoon and other war poets took the materials of their poetic inheritance—Biblical and classical myth, Romantic nature imagery, even the pastoral and patriotic confections of the prewar Georgians—and fashioned from them representations adequate to their unprecedented experience. Irony was the most common tool by which such refashioning was accomplished, but it was not the only one. Even as skilled and cynical a satirist as Sassoon found room for sincerity in poems like “The Investiture,” which, by describing heaven in the traditional vocabulary of the pastoral English countryside, simultaneously acknowledges the fictiveness and the attractiveness of such a place.


Formally, too, Sassoon innovated within and around the confines of traditional prosody. For example, Edna Longley notes that “the sonnet is often a touchstone or synecdoche for English poetry,” and that therefore Sassoon’s reconfiguration of the sonnet alerts the reader to the fact that an old genre is doing new work (63). Sassoon often rearranges the rhyme schemes of his sonnets into patterns that conform neither to the Shakespearean nor the Petrarchan models. Longley points out that “Sassoon’s sonnets often consist of couplets, long geared to epigram”—Sassoon’s specialty—“and he introduces mixed speakers or mixed speech-registers into a mainly monologic mode” (63). Sassoon, in other words, was consciously altering the poetic tradition with which he was engaged.


The relationship of the Great War to the development of literary modernism is a vast and contested topic, and the role of war poets like Sassoon in the evolution of modernist poetry is similarly unwieldy and debated. Certainly, Sassoon’s poetry feels very different from that of prewar avant-garde movements which rejected the representation of reality as a goal for art. However, it is clear that Counter-Attack and Other Poems remains a key document in twentieth-century poetry, for it speaks out of a moment in which poets struggled to accomplish the ancient task of mimesis in a world marked unmistakably as modern.

The Experience of Disjuncture

by Anne Aufhauser

The Separation of Civilian and Soldier

"To Victory"

Before leaving for the War, Sassoon won friends and admirers with his patriotic poetry. In “To Victory,” published in early 1915, the soldier poet finds solace in imagining a return to idyllic England:

Return to greet me, colours that were my joy,
Not in the woeful crimson of men slain,
But shining as a garden.[7]

Samuel Hynes, author of A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture, dryly remarks that “To Victory” is “the poem of a man who has had experience of romantic poetry, but not yet of war.”[8] Robert Graves, who met Sassoon in France before he saw action and read ”To Victory,” remembers telling Sassoon “that he would soon change up his style.”[9] Before he heads to the front, Sassoon creates concordance between the battlefield and the traditional English garden; the two can coexist. Crystallizing the harmony between civilians and soldiers, Lady Otteline Morrell, a pacifist and figure in Bloomsbury circles, wrote Sassoon a fan letter after reading “To Victory.” Civilians—and even women, whom Sassoon would later indict in “Glory of Women”—can understand Sassoon’s early soldier.

"The Redeemer"

The experience of war radically separates Sassoon and his contemporaries from civilians, and his poetry reflects his inability to rejoin the world of which he was once a part. Sassoon’s first poem written at the front, “The Redeemer” (December 1915), distances the soldier from the civilian. The soldier no longer imagines himself at home in “The Redeemer,” but rather draws stark contrasts between himself and those in England:

When peaceful folk in beds lay snug asleep;
There, with much work to do before the light,
We lugged our clay-sucked boots as best we might
Along the trench; sometimes a bullet sang.

The “peaceful folk” and the soldier no longer share a common experience. Later in “The Reedemer,” Sassoon compares a soldier to Christ:

No thorny crown, only a woolen cap
He wore—an English soldier, white and strong,
Who loved his time like any simple chap,
Good days of work and sport and homely song;
Now he has learned that nights are very long,
And dawn a watching of the windowed sky.
But to the end, unjudging, he’ll endure
Horror and pain, not uncontent to die
That Lancaster on Lune may stand secure.

“The Reedemer” soldier is very English, but his Englishness—found in his cap and in his “good days of work and sport and homely song”—is at odds with his reality. For that very Englishness, wryly captured in “Lancaster on Lune,” to survive, the soldier must be willing to sacrifice himself. After only a few months on the front, Sassoon’s optimistic blending of the home front and the trenches in “To Victory” transforms into a pessimistic isolation. Many readers find Sassoon’s attitude in “The Redeemer” off-putting. Critic Adrian Caesar, for instance, takes issue with Sassoon’s willingness to take “an elitist pride in the poet’s special ability to suffer” and finds the “equation of the poet…with Christ” problematic. [10] In contrasting the soldier with Englishness and distancing the soldier’s nobility from its mission, however, Sassoon deliberately draws a world at odds with itself. While the sacrifice of a life for “Lancaster on Lune” seems ludicrous, the willingness to make the sacrifice—and its conflation with Christ—glorifies a self-destructive fealty to England. Sassoon resigns his soldiers to paying the high cost of protecting Englishness, but its expense hints at an underlying detriment to future societal advancement. The poem ends with a soldier flinging “his burden in the muck,/Mumbling: ‘O Christ Almighty, now I’m stuck!’” Sassoon seems as stuck as his soldier, unable to see a future past the trenches even as he trumpets the poet’s Christ-like redemptive role. [11]


A Linguistic Failure

"The Fathers"

As the War wears on, Sassoon’s feeling of separation from civilian life begins to corrupt his ability to communicate with it, and he criticizes conventional communication as stagnant. In “The Fathers,” written during Sassoon’s time at Craiglockhart in the summer of 1917, Sassoon mocks the words of two “impotent old friends.” Two fathers sit in a club, the perfect picture of Englishness, as they discuss their sons writing “cheery letters from Bagdad” and “getting all the fun/At Arras with his nine-inch gun.”[12] The discrepancy between the reality of war and the older generation’s vapid conversation implicitly indicts them, while the extensive use of quotation, perhaps a nod to the modernist projects of James Joyce and T.S. Eliot, indicates a breakdown of communication. The fathers’ impotence further contributes to a sense of destruction; once the war has rendered communication impossible, regeneration of traditional English society and culture will fail.

"The Hero"

Published in late 1916, “The Hero” also deals with the failure of communication and the War’s destruction not only of mutual understanding, but also of the possibility of ever reaching such understanding again. Sassoon again uses extensive quotation, this time of a grieving mother, to undermine language and point to its break with reality:

‘The Colonel writes so nicely.’ Something broke
In the tired voice that quavered to a choke.
She half looked up. ‘We mothers are so proud
Of our dead soldiers.’ Then her face was bowed.

While the mother has a socially acceptable linguistic response, her body language hints at an inward battle. A person feeling pride would, most likely, hold her head high, but Sassoon’s mother professes her pride while hiding her face. The officer who delivers the news also uses language to mask, rather than to express, his true feelings: “He’d told the poor old dear some gallant lies” about her son, whom he personally considers “cold-footed, useless swine.” Echoing a theme of “The Fathers,” Sassoon again ties physical impotence to this failure of civilian-soldier intergenerational communication: “no one seemed to care/Except that lonely woman with white hair.” As words lose meaning, the only people who seem to care are too old to regenerate that meaning. Both the mother in “The Hero” and the pair in “The Fathers” seek solace in words, but the mother’s body language and Sassoon’s derision of “The Fathers” suggests that words, when rendered meaningless in the context of war, offer no such relief. Further rejecting the notion of language’s resilience, Sassoon puts words into the mouths of the old, infirm, and impotent, closing the door on the possibility of reviving traditional modes of communication. [13]


"Dead Musicians"

Finding little relief from the onslaught of war in the meanings of words, Sassoon searches sound and lyricism for a connection to reality. In “Dead Musicians,” published 1918, Sassoon laments that he no longer finds comfort in Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart: “Your fugues and symphonies have brought/No memory of my friends who died.” At the end of the poem he tries to “think of rag time; a bit of rag-time/…and so the song breaks off; and I’m alone.”[14] Traditional music, whether classical or rag-time, cannot soothe the wounds of war. Responding to this failure of music, Sassoon strives to find and create a new kind of music in the war. In “The Redeemer” bullets “sang/And drowning shells burst with a hollow bang;” rockets “fizzed;” and the Christ-like soldier mumbles. The sounds in “the Redeemer” present Sassoon’s most compelling argument for finding a new approach to meaningful communication. Even “the Redeemer,” however, ends with a return to the spoken, quoted word and a sense of inertia in the sucking mud.[15] Music and sound alone cannot drive Sassoon’s poetry forward.

Sassoon's Sonnets

by Anne Aufhauer

Sassoon attempts to fit the War into a framework that can reconcile sound and meaning in his sonnets. For the large part Petrachan, Sassoon’s sonnets, in their octave-sestet structure, provide a structural form and forum in which warring ideas can coexist. The lyrical rhyming structure of the sonnet leaves room both for beauty and symmetry in sound and dissonance in meaning. Finally, sonnets carry historical weight; by fitting the starkly new facts of the Great War into a traditional framework, the poet can envision a present and future that does not radically break with the past.

"The Poet As Hero"

Sassoon tackles the sonnet—and its potential for redefining the future without suppressing tradition—in “The Poet as Hero,” published by the liberal Cambridge Magazine in November 1916. The octave addresses his critics, who lament the exchange of his romantic, chivalric “old, silly sweetness” for “an ugly cry.” The turn in the sestet rejects a romantic, Arthurian myth of the poet and of war. Sassoon says the poet is “no more the knight of dreams and show,” and rather that his role as a poet is to revenge his killed friends, thus creating “absolution in my songs.” Sassoon expresses the ugliness of war—“scornful, harsh, and discontented”—in a constructive, redemptive way, and the poem seems a testament to the sonnet’s strength as a wartime medium. Furthermore, “The Poet as Hero” is one of Sassoon’s few poems that focuses on maturation rather than regression. In calling his early poetry an “infant wail,” Sassoon implies that he has grown and matured as a poet, an idea and image that challenges the impotence and white hair of “The Fathers” and “The Hero.” Hynes sees “The Poet as Hero” as a radical rejection of the past, rather than as a tired return to the sonnet form: “not only had he [Sassoon] abandoned the old style; he repented it, and enacted his repentance in this travesty of romantic war and its language.”[16] Sassoon’s “ugly” language is emotionally cathartic, and writing allows him to forgive himself his involvement in the War. Even as Sassoon’s language and defiance repent the sensibility of romantic poetry, they do so within its framework, suggesting both the poet and the sonnet’s growth and revitalization.[17]

"Banishment"

Despite the partial success of the sonnet as a war poetry form, Sassoon gestures at its futility in “Banishment,” written while he convalesced at Craiglockhart in 1917. “Banishment” addresses Sassoon’s Soldier’s Declaration, the treasonous prose piece that landed him in Craiglockhart: “mutinous I cried/To those who sent them out into the night.” The sestet deals with the futility of his cry; he strove “vainly” to help his fellow soldiers. Isolated at a place he jokingly calls “dottyville,” Sassoon ends the sonnet with the acknowledgment that

The darkness tells how vainly I have striven
To free them from the pit where they must dwell
In outcast gloom convulsed and jagged and riven
By grappling guns. Love drove me to rebel.
Love drives me back to grope with them through hell;
And in their tortured eyes I stand forgiven.[18]

As Sassoon gains war experience, he tempers his prior optimism in “The Poet as Hero.” His maturation is again stymied, as he finds himself continuously driven back “to grope with them through hell.” His diction points to the futility of rebelling. The rhyme scheme ties “dwell,” “rebel,” and “hell” to one another, implying that rebellion has only landed Sassoon in poetic purgatory, dwelling on his failures. Furthermore, “Banishment” seems more an act of conformity than of rebellion. Sassoon refuses to introduce the explicit violence and ugliness of his prior poems into the poem’s vocabulary, returning instead to themes of “honour” and “pride” in the octave. He worries that his writing has been in vain, and that he has shed no light on the war: “The darkness tells how vainly I have striven.” While frustrated and subdued by the futility of his more radical efforts, Sassoon nevertheless finds solace in writing, knowing that, despite his failures, “I stand forgiven.”[19]

"The Dreamers"

“The Dreamers” further puts the brakes on a radical reinvention of the sonnet as an engine for envisioning a post-war future. The octave’s liberal use of alliteration captures the sense of stopped time on the front: “Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,/Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows.”Like “The Fathers” and the mother in “The Hero,” soldiers seemed trapped in a stagnant and nonregenerative world. Sassoon uses the first person at the turn, immediately interrupting the dreamy lyricism of the octave and bringing the violence of the war to poem: “They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives./I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats.”  [20] Lewis notes that the use of such imagery brings something entirely new to poetry: “The new diction—rats, corpses, stench—reflected a new rhetorical stance.” [21] Sassoon employs this diction to establish a contrast between the home front and the trenches, but its placement within the poem and within such a traditional structure also suggests that this new world need not entirely break from the past:

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.

While the soldiers may feel “mocked by hopeless longing,” as Sassoon seems to feel in much of his other poetry, the very return to the theme of the octave in the sestet hints at the possibility of the soldier’s return to the old order. The War’s violent diction of dug-outs and rats remains, but its interruption stops short of destroying the structure of the poem as a whole. In its return to octave’s theme, “The Dreamers” complicates a modernist understanding of Sassoon’s use of the sonnet form. Sassoon challenges the sonnet form with the introduction of war-like violence, but his longing to return to a prewar life fails to suggest a forward-looking attitude. “The Dreamers” uses the sonnet both to experiment with a new, violent form of expression and to stubbornly force the present into the framework of the past.

Sassoon as a Modernist

by Anne Aufhauser

Sassoon’s war poetry reflects the constant tug of conflicting desires. He writes about the tension between the soldier and the civilian as well as the collision of the soldier’s desire to return home and guilt at abandoning his comrades. On a linguistic level, Sassoon strives to find a balance between rhyme, lyricism, and a new mode of violent expression demanded by the realities of war. Finally settling on the sonnet as the form most conducive to dissidence, Sassoon explores the challenges of the present within a distinctly historical structure. Modernist poet T.S. Eliot wrote of the role of the artist and the past:

No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation the dead poets and artists…The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered.[22]

Was Sassoon’s experiment an achievement of modernism, of advancing the understanding of the War through a reinvention of and conversation with the past, or was it a stubborn and nostalgic attempt to force the present into the familiar shapes of the past?


The tension and disjunction expressed in Sassoon’s war sonnets landed him in poetic no-man’s land, caught between tradition and modernity. Mired in the muck of war, Sassoon employs the language not only of death but also of salvation to describe his role as a poet. Although Sassoon inhabits “death’s grey land, /Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows” in “The Dreamers,” he faces his nonexistent future with a degree of comfort. He “stands forgiven” in “Banishment,” and finds “absolution in my songs” in “The Poet as Hero.” The War forces Sassoon to transform poetic diction and form through the sonnet, an act that harnesses a redemptive power so violent that it destroys him as a poet while simultaneously creating new poetic possibilities for those who follow. Sassoon’s ambivalent attitude towards time and the future, when coupled with his allusions to death and redemption, suggests that he sacrifices his future as a poet in addressing the War. By 1920, Sassoon had abandoned poetry, forfeiting his poetic, Georgian sensibility for satiric, thoroughly modern prose.

References

  1. Wilfred Owen, Collected Letters, 31 Dec. 1917, quoted in Samuel Hynes, A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture (New York: Athenum, 1991), 202.
  2. Andrew Karas, "Counter-Attack and Other Poems,"The Modernism Lab at Yale University, http://modernism.research.yale.edu/wiki/index.php/Siegfried_Sassoon#Counter-Attack_and_Other_Poems (accessed 3 October 2009).
  3. Pericles Lewis, The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 110.
  4. Robert Graves, Good-Bye To All That (New York: Anchor Books, 1985), 232.
  5. Hynes, A War Imagined, 159; Siegfried Sassoon, "Suicide in The Trenches," Counter-Attack and Other Poems (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1918), 31.
  6. Edna Longley, "The Great War, History, and The English Lyric" in The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War, ed. by Vincent Sherry (Cambridge Collections Online: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
  7. Siegfried Sassoon, "To Victory," in Hynes, A War Imagined, 153-154.
  8. Hynes, A War Imagined,154.
  9. Graves, Good-Bye to All That, 175.
  10. Adrian Caesar, quoted in Longley.
  11. Siegfried Sassoon, "The Redeemer," The Old Huntsman and Other Poems (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1918), Bartleby.com, 1999, www.bartleby.com/135/ (accessed 3 October 2009).
  12. Sassoon, "The Fathers," Counter-Attack and Other Poems, 24.
  13. Sassoon, "The Hero," quoted in Hynes, A War Imagined, 154.
  14. Sassoon, "Dead Musicians," Counter-Attack and Other Poems, 54.
  15. Sassoon, "The Redeemer," The Old Huntsman and Other Poems.
  16. Hynes, A War Imagined, 156.
  17. Sassoon, "The Poet as Hero," quoted in Hynes, A war Imagined, 155-156.
  18. Hynes, A War Imagined, 176.
  19. Sassoon, "Banishment," Counter-Attack and Other Poems, 44.
  20. Sassoon, "Dreamers," Ibid., 19.
  21. Lewis, The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism, 110.
  22. T.S. Eliot, "Tradition and Individual Talent," quoted in Lewis, The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism, 27.

Works Cited

by Andrew Karas

Brooke, Rupert. “V. The Soldier.” The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke. 1915. Champaign: Project Gutenberg. 19 Feb. 2008.

Longley, Edna. “The Great War, History, and the English Lyric.” The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War. Ed. Vincent Sherry. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. 57-84.

Sassoon, Siegfried. Counter-Attack and Other Poems. London: William Heinemann, 1918.

---. The Old Huntsman and Other Poems. London: William Heinemann, 1917.

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