1 minute read

Sir Osbert Sitwell (Sir Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell) Biography

(1892–1969), (Sir Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell), The Man Who Lost Himself, The Winstonburg Line

British poet, novelist, and autobiographer, born in London, the brother of Edith and Sacheverell Sitwell; he grew up at Renishaw Hall, his family's seat in Derbyshire. He was educated at Eton, which he described in the novel The Man Who Lost Himself (1923) as ‘that wasteful, antiquated, rather beautiful machine’. His early collections of poetry, which include The Winstonburg Line (1919) and Argonaut and Juggernaut (1919), contain some incisive satires of official attitudes to the First World War, during which he served with the Grenadier Guards. From 1919 onward he devoted himself to authorship. The best-known of his numerous novels is Before the Bombardment (1926), a fictionalized treatment of the artillery attack on Scarborough in 1914. During the 1920s he joined with Edith and Sacheverell in zealously promoting Modernism and disparaging the Georgian literary establishment. His later poetry was noted for its elegant wit, which frequently gave offence. Collected Satires and Poems appeared in 1931; England Reclaimed (1927), Wrack at Tidesend (1952), and On the Continent (1958) were collected as Poems about People in 1965. His travel writings include Winters of Content (1932), an account of Italy, and The Four Continents (1954). His most highly regarded work remains his five-volume autobiography—Left Hand! Right Hand! (1945), The Scarlet Tree (1946), Great Morning! (1948), Laughter in the Next Room (1949), and Noble Essences (1950)—from which his father, the eccentric Sir George, emerges as a comic figure of Shandean proportions.

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Lemn Sissay Biography to Southwold Suffolk