SASSOON, SIEGFRIED

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SASSOON, SIEGFRIED - Sassoon Recommends His Wife’s Lover:   “The ideal illustrator would be Rex Whistler, who is an intimate friend of mine & would do it perfectly”
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SASSOON, SIEGFRIED - Sassoon Recommends His Wife’s Lover:   “The ideal illustrator would be Rex Whistler, who is an intimate friend of mine & would do it perfectly”

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SASSOON, SIEGFRIED.(1886-1967). English poet whose verses memorialized the horrors of World War One. ALS. (“Siegfried Sassoon”). 2/3p. 8vo. Wiltshire, October 17, 1935. On Heytesbury House stationery. To Mr. Macland.

 

“I am sending you the first of two chapters of my book so that you can get an idea of what your first ‘instalment’ [sic] would be like. As the book need not be published until October, you would have time to ‘run’ eight instalments, [sic] which would be more than 2/3 of the whole book (which is about 72,000) if you printed 6 or 7 thousand words at a time. The ideal illustrator would be Rex Whistler, who is an intimate friend of mine & would do it perfectly. With apologies for editing your magazine for you…”

 

Born into an Iraqi merchant family, Sassoon began writing verse after leaving Cambridge without a degree. However, it was for his poetry inspired by his experiences in the trenches of World War I that he became known. During his time on the Western Front he exhibited a suicidal bravery that resulted in his being awarded the Military Cross, and met fellow World War I poets Robert Graves and Rupert Brooke. “Sassoon found his poetic voice on the Somme, which forced him from clichés and posturing and taught him to be natural and idiomatic. His best poems, fueled by passion, bitterness and rage, appeared in Counter-Attack (1918),” (“Torture of a soul scarified forever,” Times Higher Education).

“In June 1917, horrified by a million casualties on the Somme, by ‘all the darkness and the dreadful daylight’, he decided to protest against a war that was ‘deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it,’ and published his 1917 anti-war statement “Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration,” which was widely discussed in the press and Parliament, (ibid.). A court martial was discussed but he was, instead, hospitalized at Craiglockhart War Hospital where he was treated for shell shock and met fellow poet Wilfred Owen on whom he had a profound influence and who, with Sassoon’s assistance, would eclipse his fame.

“After the war, Sassoon returned to his uneventful, aimless country-squire life of hunting, cricket and golf – punctuated by frequent car crashes,” and published an autobiographical trilogy which included Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man(1928),Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930) and Sherston’s Progress, the first draft of which he completed January 9, 1936, (ibid.).

 

Despite his longstanding open homosexuality Sassoon married Hester Gatty in 1933 and they had a son together in October 1936. However, Sassoon’s “weird working hours and nightly separation, her ‘loathsome’ sexual demands and his homosexual longings, her refusal for health reasons to have a second child” led her to have an affair with Sassoon’s friend, prominent British artist and illustrator Reginald John "Rex" Whistler (1905-1944), a friend of Sassoon’s longtime lover Stephen Tennant, (ibid.). Whistler’s extensive oeuvre included paintings, murals, china patterns, set designs, and book illustrations.

 

Written in his miniscule hand. With some minor wear. In very good condition.


This autograph will be auctioned live on May 23, 2018. For more information and to place your bid click the "BID NOW!" button above.
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