Their views soon infiltrated his opinion of combat. Sassoon expected to be court-martialed for his actions. Because fellow poet Robert Graves insisted that Sassoon was ill and in need of hospitalization, Sassoon's open act of defiance was believed to be the result of shell shock what would be called combat stress reaction today , and charges were not brought against him. Instead, he was sent to the Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he became close friends with Wilfred Owen , another war poet.
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Sassoon's volume of poetry The Old Huntsman, and Other Poems had been published the year before and began to receive increased notice due to his public stand against the war. His next book, Counter-Attack, and Other Poems , appeared in to fierce public reaction. The book, which contained war poems inspired by Sassoon's experience in combat and in the hospital, was graphically violent and realistic.
Sassoon was criticized for being unpatriotic and extreme, and even his influential pacifist friends complained about the explicit details of the verses. Critics and authors of the time disliked Sas-soon's shocking methods and complained that he was writing propaganda, not poetry. Nevertheless, the book sold well, and Sassoon became well-known for both his poetry and his political stance. Postwar Work Sassoon, who had been sent back to battle in despite his protests, was shot in the head and discharged before the war came to an end.
By the conclusion of World War I, more than eight hundred thousand Britons had been killed, and many more were injured. Following the war, Sassoon became involved in politics, supporting his pacifist friends and lecturing on pacifism. Though he continued to write, critics widely acknowledge that his work had lost the relevance and prophetic quality that it had displayed during the First World War.
Sassoon's anger and his hatred of combat did not resound with the new set of social and political problems facing England and Europe in the s and beyond. In Great Britain , for example, the economic and human losses brought on serious disturbances in society. By the s, the United Kingdom, like many countries in the world, was immersed in the a deep economic depression resulting in the unemployment of millions of workers.
In the meantime, Sassoon was achieving success as a prose writer. In addition to relating a barely fictionalized account of Sassoon's experiences during World War I, these works contrast the pleasures of country life with the brutality of war.
The novels were well received, with some readers asserting that Sassoon's prose was better than his poetry. In , Sassoon also wrote a respected critical biography of Victorian novelist George Meredith , titled Meredith. Later Life After a period in which his spiritual life became of increasing concern, Sassoon converted to Catholicism in Though his religious poetry is considered inferior to his other writing, his book Sequences , which appeared soon before his conversion, is considered among the century's most impressive religious poetry.
Sassoon's later life was solitary, though he married and quickly divorced Hester Gatty in and had a son, who visited him often during his later years. He died on September 3, The Modern Epoch Though Sassoon had a varied literary career, he is best remembered for his striking portraits of life in World War I, an event that affected nearly the whole of his output. His works depict a generation's transformation from the pastoral simplicity of the past to the violent uncertainty of a modern epoch. Early Verse Unlike his wartime poetry, Sassoon's early verse is written in the Georgian style, a return to the pastoral literary tradition in reaction to the reason and realism of the Victorian age.
Sassoon was influenced by an expansive reading list, which included classic literature, the Romantic poets, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the plays of William Shakespeare.
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In general, Sassoon's early poems favored conventional romantic themes and archaic language. Overall, however, the poetry from Sassoon's early career is considered inferior to his later work. Before Sassoon had been in the trenches himself, he had remarked, after reading Robert Graves's war poems, that war should not be depicted so realistically. Forster — : This English novelist and essayist wrote A Room with a View and Howard's End , both successfully adapted as films. Charlie Chaplin — : This British-born comedic actor was known for his humorous silent roles.
Vaslav Nijinsky — : This Polish ballet dancer and choreographer is known as one of the greatest dancers of all time. He choreographed ballets, such as Jeux Marie Curie — : This Polish-born French physicist and chemist discovered radium and polonium. In , she founded the Radium Institute in Warsaw. Margaret Sanger — : American activist Sanger was an advocate for birth control and founded the American organization eventually known as Planned Parenthood. War Poetry World War I inspired the production of poignant and terrifying poetry that captured the awfulness of trench warfare and death, often experienced firsthand by the poets themselves.
Indeed, it was Sassoon's experiences during World War I that changed not only his poetic style but also his outlook on life forever. The harsh realities of death, destruction, injury, and desperation that Sassoon faced in the trenches gave immediacy to his war poetry, which was characterized by some readers as a shocking assault on the senses—clearly a break from the romantic idealization found in most Georgian poetry.
Occasionally, though, he had the ability to transcend his anger. Open to the public ; Edith Cowan University Library. Flinders University Central Library.
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