Siegfried Sassoon; Diaries 1920-1922 by Rupert Hart-Davis (ed) - review by Max Egremont

Max Egremont

Sad Poet

Siegfried Sassoon; Diaries 1920-1922


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Few writers have devoted so much energy to reminiscence as Siegfried Sassoon. In addition to the three semi-autobiographical memoirs of George Sherston, he produced three more volumes of straight autobiography. Now Sir Rupert Hart-Davis has added these diaries to the pile. Unlike the Sherston books, they do not stand on their own as works of literature. Yet the man reveals himself here as he has never done before, and it cannot be said that the viciously honest self-portrait is altogether attractive.

In 1920, Sassoon had recently returned from a lecture tour of America and given up the literary editorship of the Daily Herald. He was suffering from a sense of post-war helplessness and lack of stimulation. ‘Part of me died with all the Gibsons I used to know,’ he writes of

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