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Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves

Goodbye to All That (1929)

by Robert Graves

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,006532,970 (4.02)184
"The objects of this autobiography, written at the age of thirty-three, are simple enough: an opportunity for a formal good-bye to you and to you and to you and to me and to all that; forgetfulness, because once all this has been settled in my mind and written down and published it need never be thought about again; money.".Thus begins Robert Graves's classic 1929 autobiography with its searing account of life in the trenches of the First World War; and yet this opening passage, together with much significant material, has been unavailable since 1957, when a middle-aged Graves totally revised his text, robbing it of the painfully raw edge that had helped to make it an international bestseller. By 1957 major changes in his private life had taken place. Graves was no longer living with the American poet Laura Riding, under whose influence and in whose honor the original had been written. By cutting out all references to Riding, by deleting passages which revealed the mental strains under which he had labored, and by meticulously editing the entire text, Graves destroyed most of what had made it so powerful but also removed it from the only context in which it could be fully understood.We are pleased to offer the original 1929 edition on the occasion of Graves's 100th anniversary, edited and annotated by Robert Graves's nephew and biographer, whose lucid introduction greatly enhances its value.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This is quite a good read, and is one of the big hits of the anti-war movement of the 1920's. Graves is also a poet and his use of the language is skilfull. If one wishes to understand the inter-war period this is the towering classic in English. Published in 1929. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 8, 2019 |
As Hartley noted the past is a foreign land and Graves treads lightly. I wrote a university friend last night I had not seen in 27 years. He and the woman I loved had started a relationship and the riptide of life pushed us far apart. He's now a minister. We shall see.

Graves takes the reader by the hand from childhood through the public school and immediately t the Western Front. Each step is harrowing. Pained. Then Armistice and marriage and family. No gap years for Graves. The friendship with Sassoon appears fascinating. I will pursue that elsewhere. Graves met Ezra Pound in Oxford at the home of T.E. Lawrence who pronounced: you will dislike each other. Even more intriguing is the revenue scheme that the Graves family (Nancy Nicholson never took Graves' name for feminist reasons) started their own corner store in the lawn of a neighbor. Somehow that is more I Love Lucy than the author of The White Goddess. There's also a great encounter with Thomas Hardy. Despite these twinkling frames there's a brooding character to the overall narrative. Somehow there are subterranean vibrations of some emotional fissuring.

Most folks attend to the book because of its Great War account. The attention is deserved, though early section about the tradition of his unit is rather tedious. There is a recognition throughout the book of class--and how such favored his claim from the football pitch to teaching in Cairo in the 1920s. I had entertained thoughts of devoting this next month to Graves but the impulse has been diminished. ( )
1 vote jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Graves' account of fighting in the First World War on the Western Front is what elevates this book (first published in 1929) to the rank of the classic accounts of war. Graves' account is a no-holds-barred view of the Royal Welch [sic] Fusiliers, and was probably responsible for making this book controversial in its time. The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes quotes liberally from the book, as it should. The initial section, on Graves' schooldays, is slightly less interesting, but still has a lot to recommend it. The post-war section is responsible for the loss of the 1/2 star in my rating, since it's not hugely interesting (save for one or two anecdotes about T.E. Shaw), but overall, this is still a good read. ( )
  EricCostello | Oct 22, 2018 |
Poet and novelist recounts his life from his early years through the Great War. An honest portrayal of life in the trenches. ( )
  charlie68 | May 21, 2018 |
I really liked this book. It was a joy to read, really frank and well written. I want to find more like it now. Yay for overdrive audio, too. ( )
  lydiasbooks | Jan 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Writing "Good-bye to All That," Graves seized numerous opportunities to render the literal truth of the trenches in theatrical terms. And Graves was by no means alone in this: Just before the attack at Loos, a typical officer is recorded as experiencing "a feeling of unreality, as if I were acting on a stage." Seeking theatrical metaphors for the trench war, some journalists invoked the idea of tragedy. Graves will have none of such pretentiousness: To him, events at the front are more likely to resemble melodrama, comedy, farce or music hall. Or even that once-stylish English dramatic form, the Comedy of Humors, in which stock eccentric characters ("Humors") reveal their crazy obsessions and generally muddle things up.

Robert Graves's superbly sardonic account of his childhood, schooling, the great war and his first marriage was written in just four months in 1929, when he was 33. It was his attempt at "a formal good-bye to you and to you and to you and to me and to all that". By then he had separated from his wife and was living with the American poet Laura Riding. The idea of a farewell to the past was hers.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Guardian, PD Smith

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graves, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fussell, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, Richard PercevalEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spencer, StanleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevelyan, RaleighIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As a proof of my readiness to accept autobiographical conventions, let me at once record my two earliest memories.
The most useful and, at the same time, most dangerous gift that I owe to my father’s side of the family – probably more to the Cheynes than to the Graves’s – is that I am always able, when dealing with officials, or getting privileges from public institutions which grudge them, to masquerade as a gentleman.
After tea we went into the garden, where Hardy asked to see some of my new poems. I fetched him one, and he wondered whether he might offer a suggestion: the phrase ‘the scent of thyme’, which occurred in it was, he said, one of the clichés which poets of his generation had studied to avoid. Could I perhaps alter it? When I replied that his contemporaries had avoided it so well that I could now use it without offence, he withdrew the objection.
Professor Edgeworth, of All Souls’, avoided conversational English, persistently using words and phrases that one expects to meet only in books. One evening, Lawrence returned from a visit to London, and Edgeworth met him at the gate. ‘Was it very caliginous in the Metropolis?’
‘Somewhat caliginous, but not altogether inspissated,’ Lawrence replied gravely.
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141184590, 014104554X, 0241951410


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