Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

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Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

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Our narrator's natural Conservatism and patriotism evaporate on exposure to the realities of trench warfare. The ban marked the formal end to an era that was, I suppose, in practice already long gone – the time of local hunts that brought small country communities together, ruddy-faced farmers doffing their caps as the squire rode past in hunting pink, everyone knowing everyone else and everyone knowing their place. The title is somewhat misleading, as the book is mainly concerned with a series of landmark events in Sherston/Sassoon's childhood and youth, and his encounters with various comic characters. I expected to find the fox hunting part of the book dull and perhaps even offensive - it's a practice not to modern tastes for reasons of elitism and cruelty - but was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The trouble with the anti-modern narrative, as I mentioned last week, is that Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man is so clearly influenced by that other great towering figure of the modern movement, Marcel Proust.

Signed limited editions, each signed and numbered by the author, numbers 3 of 260, 592 of 750, and 12 of 300 copies respectively.Fricourt was successfully taken, and on the 4th July the First Battalion moved up to the front line to attack Mametz Wood. He wrote about other things he loved: the English countryside, horses in general, music and cricket. There was a moment when I suddenly realised that there was a great deal more going on than was immediately apparent on the surface. Not a feeling we are likely to find surprising, or all that blameworthy given his circumstances, but even then Sherston is conflicted and we are left with a final sight of the young officer standing watch across no-man’s land as a bird sings to the sunrise on Easter morning: “Standing in that dismal ditch, I could find no consolation in the thought that Christ was risen. I can hear the creak of the saddle and the clop and clink of the hoofs as we cross the bridge over the brook by Dundell Farm; there is a light burning in the farmhouse window, and the evening star glitters above a broken drift of half-luminous cloud.

This novel follows George Sherston through an awkward childhood at the end of the 19th century, growing up in the Edwardian years, and into the army at the beginning of the First World War. It's tempting, then, to regard Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man as an attempt to put things back together, to reclaim youth and vigour (Sassoon was in his 40s when he wrote it), to help a lost world live again (not to mention the men killed by war) and to fight the tide of modernism. Although a novel, this is strongly autobiographical and there is no doubt that the protagonist, George Sherston, is Sassoon. It has been a couple of years since I read this book but it left a deep impression and I commend it to everyone.His solitary life does not seem to be broken up by much companionship of his own age until he meets Stephen Colwood, the son of a rector and fellow enthusiast in both the hunt and the related point-to-point races they spawn. I have to admit that there isn’t exactly a lot of high octane action, but Sassoon keeps things moving as each chapter highlights various events of signal importance to young Sherston’s growth as both a horseman and a man, from his initial successful cricket matches and his time spent with various hunting groups, to his purchase of his first excellent “piece of horseflesh” and eventual success at the all-important point-to-point races. The War Poems' by the same author is still in print, and still being studied by students of English literature, but if you really want to get inside the mind of a war poet, read this book.

He has genuine affection for what he depicts and sufficient awareness to know he and it are a bit ridiculous. It’s likely not for everyone and I would find it difficult to filter out to whom I could recommend it, but if anyone gives it a go, I’d be interested in any thoughts. He jumped the hurdles of expressing his attraction for men without overtly writing about his homosexuality, obviously for fear of insulting norms and risk of imprisonment back then. He refuses to drink her tea and sits in moody silence – and eventually realises his attitude to the dear old woman is "odious".I knew Sassoon as a war poet, of course, but this book showed me a completely new side to him – dry, witty, full of a kind of naïve and faux-pompous enthusiasm that allows for some admirable characterisations – of hens (‘the providers of that universally respected object, the egg’), for instance, or a local churchwarden (‘his impressive demeanour led us to suppose that, if he was not yet on hat-raising terms with the Almighty, he at any moment expected to be’). He is so passionate about what he does that he drops out of cambridge university where he was to study the law and become a barrister. First impression of this first Tauchnitz hardback edition, from 1931, in near fine condition, no dust jacket, no interior markings, , slight fading to spine and minor shelf wear, please see pictures, PayPal accepted, any questions please get in touch.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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