Friday, June 8, 2007

Siegfried Sassoon -- In Our Time

In Our Time discussed Siegfried Sassoon. I know him from my First World War Poetry. Together with Edmund Blunden, Wilfred Owen and of course John 'In Flander's Fields' McCrae. I was into First World War History and First World War Poetry before I was into Judaism -- hence missing out on the Jewish last name: Sassoon.

In Our Time briefly touches it. Sassoon's father was Jewish, descendent of wealthy mizrachi merchants from Bagdad, Persia and Bombay.

The podcast is not to be discussed but rather to be listened to. Sassoon had the luck -- if it were luck -- to survive the trenches and produce more literature than just Trench Literature. Melvyn Bragg's guests seem to suggest his Trench Poetry was not his best, though it was certainly very good. I do not know. I will always stay fond of the Trench Literature, although fond is a bit of an awkward word in this respect.

Apart from the English writers there are also the French and the Germans, among whom Erich Maria Remarque has a special place in my heart. But we started with Sassoon, so let us close with a few lines of his...

The rank stench of those bodies haunts me still
And I remember things I'd best forget.