Goodbye, farewell

11 03 2017

Goodbye to all that by Robert Graves

 

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In 1929 Robert Graves went to live abroad permanently, vowing ‘never to make England my home again’. This is his superb account of his life up until that ‘bitter leave-taking’: from his childhood and desperately unhappy school days at Charterhouse, to his time serving as a young officer in the First World War that was to haunt him throughout his life.

It also contains memorable encounters with fellow writers and poets, including Siegfried Sassoon and Thomas Hardy, and covers his increasingly unhappy marriage to Nancy Nicholson. Goodbye to All That, with its vivid, harrowing descriptions of the Western Front, is a classic war document, and also has immense value as one of the most candid self-portraits of an artist ever written.

Just brilliant this and one of the best autobiographies I can recall. Graves somehow manages to encounter just about every notable artist around during his time in the trenches but also beyond. There is some comedy as well as tragedy in here, most notably when Graves’ unit is sent, in error, to Cork instead of York thanks to a Morse code mistake. Highly recommended

4.5 stars

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