A quick post to alert readers to the URL of the beginnings of the online version of the catalogue that I am producing for the ‘new’ Sassoon deposit. The collection’s classmark is MS Add.9852 and the catalogue to it may be found at:
Readers may also be interested to see catalogue entries for Sassoon items held in various other Cambridge repositories which are made available on the same website. They are indexed as part of the unified Cambridge online archival catalogues initiative at the Janus website:
A freetext search for ‘Sassoon’ using the site’s search function will also turn up further references.
Blog readers with a subscription to the Times newspaper online site might like to read a recent article by Jack Malvern on the possible link between a sketch by Sassoon in one of his war journals and the poem Died of Wounds:
The journal to which the article refers (classmark MS Add. 9852/1/7) covers a period in mid 1916 when Sassoon was recovering from enteritis or ‘trench fever ‘. It is among the items that will be on show as part of the ‘Dream Voices’ exhibition which opens this Wednesday, and will be displayed showing his observations of events on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
In his autobiographical work Siegfried’s Journey Sassoon makes an interesting observation when describing his slowness in appreciating the ‘exceptional quality of [Wilfred Owen’s] poetic gift’. ‘Manuscript poems’, he writes, ‘can be deceptive when handed to one like school exercises to be blue pencilled, especially when one has played thirty-six holes of golf and consumed a stodgy hospital dinner’ (page 59). It seems that Sassoon was deeply aware of the aesthetics of his work in both manuscript and published form. From childhood onwards many of his manuscript poems are to be found accompanied by his own diligently laid out watercolour decorations, and his attention to correcting printers’ proofs appear to show a concern for the visual impact of the printed word on the page. Is this perhaps an influence of his maternal Thornycroft artistic lineage?