Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

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Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

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A fictionalised autobiography of Siegfried Sassoon, who depicts his life through the upper-middle class George Sherston as he grows up and loses his innocence in the First World War.

As I was carried past it all I was lazily aware through my dreaming and unobservant eyes that this was the sort of world I wanted. From Nobel Laureates Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter to theatre greats Tom Stoppard and Alan Bennett to rising stars Polly Stenham and Florian Zeller, Faber Drama presents the very best theatre has to offer. Most British people of a certain age will know of Siegfried Sassoon as one of the WWI soldier poets.

Peppered throughout all of these reminiscences, however, are a host of amusing and varied secondary characters who make up the bulk of the hunting society and rural village community that are Sherston’s entire world. Bookseller's ticket of Albert Dowling, Bristol, on front pastedown of Infantry Officer; publisher's mailing card loosely inserted in Sherston's Progress. George Sherston (a semi-autobiographical stand-in for Sassoon) is the ‘hero’ of our tale, a young upper-middle class/lower-aristocratic orphan being raised by his well-meaning and generally absent aunt in the idyllic English countryside. He is recognized as one of the great poets of World War I and one of the war's most influential opponents.

The first volume is one of 260 copies, the second one of 750 copies and the third one of 300 copies. His sensitivity, that would later plague him in war but make him an excellent poet, is also apparent by an utterance that he makes during his first fox hunt. It is in this context that, while on leave in England, Sherston ponders what has become of his life stating simply: “…I began to realize that my past was wearing a bit thin. There are reviewers/readers who find this section of the book tedious because they are unable to associate themselves with fox-hunting or cricket or a seemingly aimless life, but knowing what awaits Sassoon over the very next horizon certainly gives me perspective on why he wants to capture his memories of this time in print.

Like Tolstoy's War and Peace, which he was also reading while he wrote his own book, it is the combination of factual detail and direct personal experience vividly rendered that makes Infantry Officer a convincing and compelling picture of war. An early love of Sassoon's poetry (trench warfare poetry is as good for gothic teenage tastes as Sylvia Plath) led me to finally read this book, the first in the Sherston trilogy, a fictionalised trio of biographies written by Sassoon between the two world wars. For it was my own countryside, and I loved it with an intimate feeling, though all its associations were crude and incoherent. In April he was recommended for the Military Cross for his action in bringing in the dead and wounded after a raid. I’ve thought about trying to put my personal desire into words for many years, but until I read those words by Sassoon, I’d never really found the proper ones before.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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