Cambridge University are launching a campaign to acquire the private papers of poet Siegfried Sassoon. The university needs to raise £1.25m to buy the collection, which includes notebooks from his time on the front line in World War I.
Sassoon was a keen sportsman, combining poetry-writing with a busy schedule of cricket, golf, hunting and steeple-chasing. In this notebook from 1906 he recorded the titles of his poems on the left-hand page and his fortunes as a cricketer on the right.
But it was in poetry describing the heroics and horrors of WWI that Sassoon made his name. This poem, dating from the war, shows his alterations, cancellations and three attempts to fix on a title.
Sassoon was known for his bravery on the front line, for which he was decorated twice. But in 1917 he made a statement in protest against the continuation of WWI, which was read in the House of Commons, and for which he was nearly court marshalled.
Although best known as a poet of the World War I, Sassoon continued writing verse into old age. This notebook shows heavily-revised drafts of poems dating between 1947 and 1950.
What are these?