Siegfried Sassoon: Echoes of a War Long Past (World War I)

Self’s fascination with war literature came when her friend Penny Jackson told her about a class at Stanford on Literature of World War I, taught by the late Albert Guerard. Until that class, she had never heard of Ford Madox Ford or Siegfried Sassoon. He also made required reading The Great War and Modern Memory, by Paul Fussell.

The raw material to be trained was growing steadily worse.  Most of those who came in now had joined the Army unwillingly, and there was no reason why they should find military service tolerable.  The war had become undisguisedly mechanical and inhuman.  What in earlier days had been drafts of volunteers were now droves of victims.  I was just beginning to be aware of this.

—  Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer

Here’s a further quote from the same book:

In 1917 …  I was only beginning to learn that life, for the majority of the population, is an unlovely struggle against unfair odds, culminating in a cheap funeral.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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