Siegfried Sassoon: The Dug-Out

Siegfried_Sassoon_by_George_Charles_Beresford_(1915)I’ve been writing a lot lately about my favourite First World War poet, Wilfred Owen, (here and here if you’re interested, or go check out the forthcoming Wilfred Owen film, the Burying Party on Facebook) but today I’m giving a shout out to his best friend and mentor, Siegfried Sassoon, who was born on this day in 1886. So in honour of his 131st birthday, here’s one of my favourite Sassoon poems. Continue reading

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George Orwell in Quotes

g-orwell-6George Orwell (born Eric Blair on June 25th 1903) is probably one of my favourite twentieth century writers, not just for Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four, but also his political writing, essays, and lesser known novels (Coming up for Air and Keep the Aspidistra Flying are particularly good I think).

In honour of what would have been his 114th birthday, here are some of my favourite Orwell quotes:

 

On suburban life…

After all, what is a road like Ellesmere Road? Just a prison with the cells all in a row. A line of semi-detached torture chambers… in every one of those little stucco boxes there’s some poor bastard who’s never free except when he’s asleep and dreaming that he’s got the boss down the bottom of a well and is bunging lumps of coal at him.

Coming up for Air 1939 Continue reading

Herman Melville: you won’t get the better of me


Moby Dick. Moby sodding Dick. I started this leviathan of a book (see what I did there?) back in March, and shared some thoughts about it in a post a few weeks ago. I’d set myself the target of finishing it “by the summer”. So much for that. I’ve barely managed another 30 pages since then, and it’s June the day after tomorrow, which is summer by anybody’s reckoning. I’m getting nowhere fast.

Continue reading

Song Lyric Sunday: Memorial Day

One of the things I love about Helen’s weekly prompt to share a song is the glimpse it gives me into the lives of people in different countries. This week’s theme – a song about the armed forces – is inspired by the fact that it’s Memorial Day in the United States. I’d never heard of this before, but thanks to Helen and Wikipedia I now know that it’s a federal holiday at the end of May to honour those who died while serving in the armed forces.   Continue reading