War poet’s manuscripts available online

Oxford Mail: Poet Siegfried Sassoon Poet Siegfried Sassoon

MANUSCRIPTS of poems by Siegfried Sassoon, an outspoken opponent of the First World War, are going online in a collection created by Oxford University.

The collection, launched to coincide with Armistice Day, is part of the university’s First World War Poetry Digital Archive, which allows users to view more than 12,000 previously unseen items.

These include poetry manuscripts, letters and diary entries from some of the conflict’s most important poets, including Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Edmund Blunden.

The Sassoon collection includes manuscripts of war poetry anthologies The Old Huntsman (1917), Counter-Attack (1918), and Picture Show (1919).

Dr Stuart Lee, English lecturer and director of the archive, said: “Sassoon mentored Wilfred Owen and stood up and questioned why the war was continuing.

“It is apt in this particular week that we should add his collection to the online archive because of what Britain is going through in Afghanistan.

“It is fascinating to be able to see the corrections and crossings-out he made to the manuscripts, invaluable to researchers studying the literature of the war.”

Sassoon spent time convalescing in Oxford in 1917 and during this period became convinced of his pacifist views.

To see the collection, go to oucs.oc.ac.uk/ww1lit/ collections

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