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love and beauty are the basic components from which are compounded an aesthetic and questing attitude toward life and literature. NOTES 1 In the Poetry Collection of the Lockwood Memorial Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, New York. The diary measures approximately 3§X4§ Inches and is bound In red morocco. The leaves are a heavy, cream colored paper, chained lined. The entries, In Mr. Le Gallienne's small hand, run from 12 November 1889 to 22 October 1890. 2 The Quest of the Golden Boy (Lond: John Baker Ltd., The Unicorn Press, I960), p. 119, hereafter cited as Quest. 3 The Bookbllls of Narcissus, An Account Rendered by Richard Le Gallienne (Lond:" John Lane; NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1895). 4 Diary, 12 Novermber I889. Immediately following this passage Le Gallienne quotes a poem he had begun. 5 Quest, p. 75. 6 Ibid.. p. 119. 7 13 November I889. 8 6 February I89O. 9 l6 February I89O. 10 23 March I89O . 11 13 April I89O. 12 18 September I89O. REVIEW SASSOON: A CRITICAL STUDY Michael Thorpe, Siegfried Sassoon. University of Leiden and London: Oxford U P, 1966. This book is the first full-length study of Siegfried Sassoon to have been published. Sassoon's death early in September this year, a few days before his eighty-first birthday, makes us all the more grateful for Michael Thorpe's tribute to him. The subtitle of the book is "A Critical Study" and, however much we may regret the faot, it is not and does not set out to be a biography. Indeed, Sassoon's reticence about his own private life during the last forty years would have made the task, as Mr. Thorpe puts it, "unusually hazardous," (p. Ix). The book is divided into four parts of which the first and the last are concerned mainly with Sassoon's poetry, while the two central parts discuss his prose work. This pattern follows the essential creative pattern of Sassoon1s life, for, although he 199 began his writing career as a poet and during his latter years published only poetry, "It is in his prose. . . that the memorable achievement of Sassoon's middle years lies" (p. 66). Thorpe's discussion of Sassoon's prose works is both thorough and balanced. Considering his view of himself as a private man, Sassoon's documentation of his early life is perhaps surprising. It is a twice-told tale: first in the Sherston Trilogy and secondly in the series of straight autobiographies, The Old Century and Seven More Years, The Weald of Youth and Siegfried's Journey. More than any critic before him Thorpe has sought to differentiate between these two accounts, to set them in their right perspective and to appraise them according to what they were attempting to do. His final judgment upon the prose works is that the Sherston Trilogy and The Old Century are Sassoon's "highest achievement" (p. 255). In the chapters on Sassoon's poetry due weight Is given, as might be expected, to the war poetry and the satire of the ensuing years. It Is this part of Sassoon's work which has previously been noticed to the almost total exclusion of everything else. Thorpe endeavours to redress the balance by seeing this poetry as an essential stage In Sassoon's development, given the particular circumstances of his life, but just as army life was alien to his contemplative nature, so the bitter satires which it evoked were alien to Sassoon's natural creative gift and when the immediacy of the war was removed he had to search for himself again. It is this search that the later poetry is concerned with. Fart IV of the book is called "A Religious Concern." In it Thorpe traces Sassoon's efforts in his later poetry to find "selfhood's essence" (p. 207, from "The Tasking"). He became what perhaps had always been latent in him, a religious poet. His affinities with Vaughan are explored and his strengths and shortcomings are discussed fully. The book concludes with five appendices of which Appendix C is an interesting comparison of several prose works about the First World War. Appendix B gives...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 198-199
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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