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Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, Sherston's Progress, The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston

sherston sassoon world life

the first part, published in 1928, of Siegfried Sassoon's ‘Sherston Trilogy’, the others being Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930) and Sherston's Progress (1936). The three books were published as The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston in 1937, describing Sherston's life from infancy to the years immediately after the First World War. Although the trilogy is closely based on Sassoon's personal history, the use of the ‘Sherston’ persona permits minor alterations and major omissions; there is, for example, little reference to his schooling, his time at Cambridge, and his literary ambitions in Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, which deals with the period between childhood and Sherston's early experiences at the Western Front. Sassoon later stated that ‘Sherston was a simplified version of my “outdoor self”. He was denied the complex advantage of being a soldier poet.’ The ten parts of Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man portray Sherston's preoccupation with the ‘tremendous trivialities’ of life; his is a world of great affluence in which a shy boy grows into a young man devoted to riding, fox-hunting, cricket, and golf. The book is rich in evocations of the Kent landscapes of his upbringing; as an elegy for the innocence and ease of the Edwardian era any tendency to sentimentality is balanced by the ironic tinge with which the retrospective narrative regards Sherston and his social milieu. The work is primarily successful in terms of its enormously attractive style; Sassoon writes with great clarity and simplicity, and frequently employs a dry humour, in following his main concern with the quality of youthful experience and its gradual transition into emerging maturity.

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