• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Sassoon, Siegfried (1886-1967), English poet and novelist.

Extracts from this document...


Sassoon, Siegfried (1886-1967), English poet and novelist. Sassoon was the son of a Jewish father and Anglican mother who separated when Sassoon was five years old. Educated at Clare College, Cambridge University, where he failed to take his degree, until the age of 28 Sassoon led a life of leisure, hunting and playing cricket, and dabbling a little in poetry. His most serious verse was "The Daffodil Murderer", begun as a parody of "The Everlasting Mercy" by John Masefield and privately published under the pseudonym Saul Kain in 1913. Sassoon's life, as was the case with so many of his contemporaries, changed radically when he joined the army on the first day of World War I in 1914. From being a supporter of the war who won the Military Cross for his part in the Battle of the Somme-a decoration that he later threw into the River Mersey-Sassoon's experience of the reality of trench warfare made him an ardent advocate of peace. In 1917, after vehement public protests against the war, Sassoon was persuaded by his friend Robert Graves to avoid court martial and to become a patient at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, where he was said to be suffering from shell-shock. At Craiglockhart, Sassoon met and influenced the young Wilfrid Owen, whose poetry he published after Owen was killed at the Front. ...read more.


For many years after the war, a series of semi-autobiographical novels, three of which were collectively published as the immensely popular The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston (1937), continued Sassoon's exploration of the futility of war. After the war, Sassoon became involved in pacifist politics and in 1919 became the literary editor of the socialist Daily Herald newspaper. He spent the 1920s searching for a new poetic voice, and in 1924 marked the beginning of a new period with the poem "At the Grave of Henry Vaughan", which voiced the religious leanings Sassoon had always felt: "And this lowly grave tells Heaven's tranquillity / And here stand I, a suppliant at the door". Much of his later poetry was religious in tone-he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1957-and this was the poetry that he valued most highly, despite the fact that his reputation continues to rest on his war poetry. His Collected Poems 1908-1956 was published in 1961. Suicide in the Trenches I knew a simple soldier boy Who grinned at life in empty joy, Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, And whistled early with the lark. In winter trenches, cowed and glum, With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain. No one spoke of him again. 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. ...read more.


The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds. (2) Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum est (1917) Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime. Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in. And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Compare and Contrast, The shock and horror presented in the three war poems - ...

    I describe horror in this part of the poem, relating the gas being 'floundering like a man in fire or lime' as some soldiers were not in control of the situation. I saw one of my best friends dieing on the floor with his eyes still open, in agony throwing

  2. The three poems that I have chosen to analyse are 'Disabled' by Wilfred Owen, ...

    I think this is because the language techniques are useful at the beginning in helping the reader establish what is happening but nearer the end they feel more involved with the subject and so the techniques become unimportant. Wilfred Owen ends the poem with a question.

  1. The Battle of the Somme 1916

    We can infer that the Germans would have got ready to defend immediately. As if this wasn't bad enough, the British soldiers then had to walk uphill, on the bumpy terrain, in horrible conditions. The commanders believed that there would be chaos if the soldiers were told to run, it

  2. Compare and contrast 3 war poems - Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen, ...

    This also gives a direct, powerful approach, which make the reader feel guilty. In the end, the style is very simple but effective. The AABB rhythm is very effective. A direct technique is also used to add more aggression and it gives a more powerful approach.

  1. Using selected poems by Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon analyse the poets ...

    smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in..." Owen makes the poem more personal to the reader, he does this in order to make the poem have a great effect on the reader. He puts the reader in a hypothetical situation.

  2. In 1915 a British newspaper printed a letter from a

    All the battles of the spring and summer seemed to have been in vain. Arras and Messines had been so bright with promise, and even this awful show (Passchendaele) had risen our wildest hopes. But it had all ended in this, with fresh German troops streaming across from their long

  1. Writing in a similar style to Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est', Siegfried Sassoon also ...

    Sassoon then regales us with further speculation thus: You'd see me with my puffy petulant face Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel, The first thing we notice about these two lines is that Sassoon has used alliteration in order to make more of an impact on the reader, and to vary his writing style.

  2. A Comparison between ‘The Kiss’, ‘Glory of Women’ by Siegfried Sassoon and ‘Dulce et ...

    from 'shell-shock' it was said to be a lie because they thought only recruiting officers suffer from shell shock. So Owen was sent back in the trenches to fight again. This is when Owen thought he had to express his feelings in some way and so wrote poems- 'Dulce et Decorum est' being famous for propaganda.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work