SASSOON, Siegfried

(1886 - 1967)
“The song was wordless; The singing will never be done”

Celebrated poet, writer, soldier, Siegfried Sassoon was born into a wealthy Kentish family towards the end of the 19th century.  With a private income obviating the need to earn a living, Sassoon went up to Cambridge to read law, although he didn’t much care for the subject, preferring to write poetry and play cricket. He left Cambridge without graduating and spent the years between 1907 and the start of the war writing and indulging in his sporting interests.  Most of his poems were privately printed in small numbers but in 1913 he published The Daffodil Murderer, a poetical parody of Masefield, which led to his work being introduced to Eddie Marsh, one of the most influential figures in pre-war poetic circles. At the outbreak of WWI, filled with patriotic fervour, Sassoon joined up.  The difference between his romantic imaginings and the visceral horror of trench warfare was marked, highlighted by the death of his brother at Gallipoli.  His angry and compassionate poetry, emphasising the tragedy and futility of war, brought him public and critical acclaim.  He had a reputation for fearless bravery in action, earning the nickname of “Mad Jack”, and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry under fire. However, after a period of convalescent leave, Sassoon declined to return to the front and wrote “Finished with the War” A Soldier’s Declaration” in 1917.  Unwilling to court martial such a well-known poet and war-hero, the authorities decided he must be shell-shocked and sent him to Craiglockhart War Hospital, where he met, among others, an equally traumatised Wilfred Owen.  The two encouraged each other to continue to write poetry expressing the soldiers’ authentic experiences.  Despite his belief that the authorities were artificially extending the war, he returned to active service in 1918, where he was shot again and again invalided back to England. Wilfred Owen was not so fortunate.  After the war he continued to write both poetry and prose, including writing a highly successful series of fictional autobiographical novels.

In 1951 he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1957 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. On November 11, 1985, his name was added to a memorial in Westminter Abbey's Poet's Corner.

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 Siegfried SASSOON

Books by this author

The Memoirs of George Sherston

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£1,250.00

Common Chords

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The Tasking

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£1,500.00

The Old Century

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£2,250.00

Sherston's Progress

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In Sicily

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£300.00

To the Red Rose

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£300.00

Nativity

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£250.00