Sassoon and Owen: A meeting that changed the course of literature | News | Theatre Cloud
Heytesbury. Mells. America. Craiglockhart. Who Was Who? Contact. Links Robert Graves served in the same battalion as Siegfried Sassoon and they became Graves was often short of cash, and Sassoon was frequently called upon to. What relationship did Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen have? of his poems were what Robert Graves, close friend of Sassoon and author. To us his anti-war poems and his sensational protest seem sanity to the horror of the like-minded Graves who was frightened that if Sassoon.
And since we lads are proud and true, What else remains to do? Graves generally styles himself as a bit of a rebel, but he is conventional, at least, in the fact that his pride in serving well—and in serving with well-respected units of a proud old Regiment—is a central facet of his war experience. His irritation with Graves, however, may have relatively little to do with poetic expressions of dissent. He may be annoyed at another aspect of what could be seen as either immaturity or commendably heedless devotion.
Whatever the initial impressions that Owen and Graves garnered of each other, they will be friends, now, to the benefit of both.
If Graves seems an unsuitable mentor he will still a very useful reader. And Owen, like most poets in the course of making leaps and bounds, makes good use of the criticism his work-in-progress receives.
But there are other poets not in Scotland. Isaac Rosenbergfor instance, is in France, where he recently returned from leave and promptly fell ill with influenza. One slim benefit of this dangerous illness is the ability to catch up on his correspondence… Dear Mr. Bottomley When I returned from my holiday I as taken sick and sent down the line.
Their basic problem, he believed, was a conflict between fear and duty. His pioneering work was crucial in gaining acceptance for a condition that had previously been regarded with deep suspicion by many military authorities as either insanity, or a form of malingering. A characteristic feature … is that it is accompanied by an effect of a peculiarly intense kind, often with a special quality described as different from any known in waking life.
The dream ends suddenly by the patient waking in an acute state of terror directly continuous with the threat of the dream and with all the physical accompaniments of extreme fear, such as profuse sweating, shaking and violent beating of the heart.
Often the dream recurs in exactly the same form night after night, and even several times in one night, and the sufferer will often keep himself from sleeping again after one experience from dread of its repetition.
For Rivers, as well as Sassoon, the relationship was to produce, in the words of his own title, dreams as well as conflict. It was also to create guilt on both sides. In his dream he was talking to Sassoon in both capacities.
This particularly worried him, since self-interest might well encourage him to wish for the end of the War to enable him to return to his academic research. His main concern in analysing his dream was to establish whether he was in uniform. So long as I was an officer in the R.
As a scientific student whose only object should be the attainment of what I supposed to be the truth, it was definitely unpleasant to me to suspect that the opinions which I was uttering might be influenced by the needs of my position, and I was fully aware of an element of constraint in my relations with B on this account.
So long as I was in uniform I was not a free agent. He was almost certainly homosexual by inclination and it must quickly have become clear to him that Sassoon was too. Yet neither is likely to have referred to it, though we know that Sassoon was already finding his sexuality a problem.
He quickly began to regard him as a father confessor as well as something of a father figure.
War of Friendship: Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon - Oxford Handbooks
Twenty-two years his senior, Rivers was certainly old enough for the latter role and, since the slight cooling-off in relations between that bastion of the literary establishment, Edmund Gosse and himself as a result of his anti-war views, Sassoon was in need of a more tolerant replacement. Rivers was no plaster saint, however. He had a well-developed sense of humour that saved him from being pompous, as well as endearing him to his new patient.
After outlining his military career between August and July and giving a concise account of how Sassoon himself viewed his recent actions, his notes continue: The patient is a healthy-looking man of good physique. There are no physical signs of any disorder of the Nervous System.
He discusses his recent actions and their motives in a perfectly intelligent and rational way, and there is no evidence of any excitement or depression. He recognises that his view of warfare is tinged by his feelings about the death of friends and of the men who were under his command in France. At the present time he lays special stress on the hopelessness of any decision in the War as it is now being conducted, but he left out any reference to this aspect of his opinions in the statement which he sent to his Commanding Officer and which was read in the House of Commons.
His view differs from that of the ordinary pacifist in that he would no longer object to the continuance of the War if he saw any reasonable prospect of a rapid decision. The darkness tells how vainly I have striven To free them from the pit where they must dwell In outcast gloom convulsed and jagged and riven By grappling guns.
Love drove me to rebel. Love drives me back to grope with them through hell; And in their tortured eyes I stand forgiven. There, in the final three lines, was his problem in a nutshell.
He felt guilty if he was away from his men and he felt guilty if he was with them, since that meant fighting in a war he no longer believed justified. It was a guilt that Rivers exploited, though doing so made him feel guilty too.
He remained unpublished in his lifetime, aside from a few anonymous inserts into the Craiglockhart magazine, The Hydra. It is probable that he was unaware of his tremendous literary skill. Owen met Sassoon while receiving treatment at Craiglockhart Hospital Owen was discharged from Craiglockhart for light regimental duties in November Sassoon, reconciled with the idea of active service, returned to France but was almost immediately wounded by friendly fire, and remained in convalescence in England until the end of the war.
His permanent removal from the Western Front left Owen with a dilemma: He was killed on November 4thexactly one week, almost to the hour, of the Armistice; his mother received the news of his death as the church bells rang out to signal the end of the war. The information that does survive, however, displays the strength of the bond that linked Owen and Sassoon: Both men were homosexual, and Graves was convinced that they were in love with each other; when one considers the isolating effects of war, it is hardly surprising that such kindred spirits were drawn to each other.Robert Graves interview - Poet - Writer - Today - 1969
Most tellingly of all, in a letter written after leaving Craiglockhart, Owen told Sassoon that: