Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English war poet
, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front
, he became one of the leading poets of the
First World War
World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe
Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in ...
. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's view, were responsible for a jingoism
-fuelled war. Sassoon became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the war in his "Soldier's Declaration" of 1917, culminating in his admission to a military psychiatric hospital; this resulted in his forming a friendship with Wilfred Owen
, who was greatly influenced by him. Sassoon later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised
autobiography, collectively known as the " Sherston trilogy
Siegfried Sassoon was born to a Jewish father and an Anglo-Catholic
mother, and grew up in the neo-gothic mansion named "Weirleigh" (after its builder, Harrison Weir
), in Matfield
His father, Alfred Ezra Sassoon (1861–1895), son of Sassoon David Sassoon
, was a member of the wealthy Baghdadi Jewish Sassoon merchant family
. For marrying outside the faith, Alfred was disinherited. Siegfried's mother, Theresa
, belonged to the Thornycroft family
, sculptors responsible for many of the best-known statues in London—her brother was Sir Hamo Thornycroft
. There was no German ancestry in Sassoon's family; his mother named him Siegfried because of her love of Wagner
's operas. His middle name, Loraine, was the surname of a clergyman with whom she was friendly.
Siegfried was the second of three sons, the others being Michael and Hamo. When he was four years old his parents separated. During his father's weekly visits to the boys, Theresa locked herself in the drawing-room. In 1895 Alfred Sassoon died of
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by '' Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria
Bacteria (; singular: bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one biological cell ...
Sassoon was educated at the New Beacon School
, Kent; at Marlborough College
, Wiltshire; and at Clare College, Cambridge
, where from 1905 to 1907 he read history. He went down from Cambridge without a degree and spent the next few years hunting, playing cricket and writing verse: some he published privately. Although his father had been disinherited from the Sassoon fortune for marrying a non-Jew, Siegfried had a small private income that allowed him to live modestly without having to earn a living (however, he would later be left a generous legacy by an aunt, Rachel Beer
, allowing him to buy the great estate of Heytesbury House
in Wiltshire.) His first published success, ''The Daffodil Murderer'' (1913), was a parody of
John Edward Masefield (; 1 June 1878 – 12 May 1967) was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate
A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate) is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected ...
's '' The Everlasting Mercy
''. Robert Graves
, in '' Good-Bye to All That
'', describes it as a "parody of Masefield which, midway through, had forgotten to be a parody and turned into rather good Masefield."
Sassoon expressed his opinions on the political situation before the onset of the First World War thus—"France was a lady,
Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, with its internationally recognised territory covering , and encompassing one-ei ...
was a bear, and performing in the county
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by s ...
team was much more important than either of them". Sassoon wanted to play for
Kent County Cricket Club
Kent County Cricket Club is one of the eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a pitch with a ...
; the Marchant family were neighbours, and Frank Marchant
was captain of the county side between 1890 and 1897. Sassoon often turned out for Bluemantles at the Nevill Ground
, Tunbridge Wells, where he sometimes played alongside
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for ''A Study in Scarlet'', the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Hol ...
. He had also played cricket for his house at Marlborough College, once taking 7 wickets for 18 runs. Although an enthusiast, Sassoon was not good enough to play for his county, but he played for Matfield village, and later for a Downside Abbey
team called "The Ravens", continuing into his seventies.
[Coldham, James D (1954]
Siegfried Sassoon and cricket
'' The Cricketer'', June 1954. Republished at
ESPN cricinfo (formerly known as Cricinfo or CricInfo) is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches (including liveblogs and scorecards), and ''StatsGuru'', a ....
The Western Front: Military Cross
Motivated by patriotism, Sassoon joined the Army just as the threat of a new European war was recognized, and was in service with the Sussex Yeomanry on 4 August 1914, the day the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. He broke his arm badly in a riding accident and was put out of action before leaving England, spending the spring of 1915 convalescing. He was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion ( Special Reserve), Royal Welch Fusiliers, as a
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank
Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships, within armed forces, police, intelligence agencies or other institutions organized along military lines. The mi ... on 29 May 1915. On 1 November his younger brother Hamo was killed in the Gallipoli Campaign, dying on board the ship after having had his leg amputated. In the same month Siegfried was sent to the 1st Battalion in France, where he met Robert Graves, and they became close friends. United by their poetic vocation, they often read and discussed each other's work. Though this did not have much perceptible influence on Graves' poetry, his views on what may be called 'gritty realism' profoundly affected Sassoon's concept of what constituted poetry. He soon became horrified by the realities of war, and the tone of his writing changed completely: where his early poems exhibit a Romantic, dilettantish sweetness, his war poetry moves to an increasingly discordant music, intended to convey the ugly truths of the trenches to an audience hitherto lulled by patriotic propaganda. Details such as rotting corpses, mangled limbs, filth, cowardice and suicide are all trademarks of his work at this time, and this philosophy of 'no truth unfitting' had a significant effect on the movement towards Modernist
Modernism is both a philosophy, philosophical and arts movement that arose from broad transformations in Western world, Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new fo ... poetry.
Sassoon's periods of duty on the Western Front were marked by exceptionally brave actions, including the single-handed capture of a German trench in the Hindenburg Line. Armed with grenades, he scattered sixty German soldiers:
He went over with bombs in daylight, under covering fire from a couple of rifles, and scared away the occupants. A pointless feat, since instead of signalling for reinforcements, he sat down in the German trench and began reading a book of poems which he had brought with him. When he went back he did not even report. Colonel Stockwell, then in command, raged at him. The attack on Mametz Wood had been delayed for two hours because British patrols were still reported to be out. "British patrols" were Siegfried and his book of poems. "I'd have got you a DSO, if you'd only shown more sense," stormed Stockwell.Sassoon's bravery was so inspiring that soldiers of his company said that they felt confident only when they were accompanied by him. He often went out on night raids and bombing patrols, and demonstrated ruthless efficiency as a company commander. Deepening depression at the horror and misery the soldiers were forced to endure produced in Sassoon a paradoxically manic courage, and he was nicknamed "Mad Jack" by his men for his near-suicidal exploits. On 27 July 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross; the citation read:
Robert Graves described Sassoon as engaging in suicidal feats of bravery. Sassoon was also later recommended for the
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces, also known as His ....
War opposition and Craiglockhart
Despite his decorations and reputation, in 1917 Sassoon decided to make a stand against the conduct of the war. One of the reasons for his violent anti-war feeling was the death of his friend David Cuthbert Thomas, who appears as "Dick Tiltwood" in the Sherston trilogy. Sassoon would spend years trying to overcome his grief.
In August 1916, Sassoon arrived at
Somerville College, Oxford
Somerville College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the ..., which was used as a hospital for convalescing officers, with a case of gastric fever. He wrote: "To be lying in a little white-walled room, looking through the window on to a College lawn, was for the first few days very much like a paradise". Graves ended up at Somerville as well. "How unlike you to crib my idea of going to the Ladies' College at Oxford", Sassoon wrote to him in 1917.
At the end of a spell of convalescent leave, Sassoon declined to return to duty; instead, encouraged by pacifist friends such as Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British mathematician, philosopher, logic
Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both formal and informal logic. Formal logic is t ... and Lady Ottoline Morrell, he sent a letter to his commanding officer entitled '' Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration''. Forwarded to the press and read out in the House of Commons by a sympathetic member of Parliament, the letter was seen by some as treasonous ("I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority") or at best as condemning the war government's motives ("I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of aggression and conquest"). Rather than court-martial
A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court
A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the autho ... Sassoon, the Under-Secretary of State for War, Ian Macpherson, decided that he was unfit for service and had him sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh
Edinburgh ( ; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is located in Lothian ..., where he was officially treated for neurasthenia (" shell shock").
At the end of 1917, Sassoon was posted to Limerick
Limerick ( ; ga, Luimneach ) is a western city in Ireland
Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is se ..., Ireland, where in the New Barracks he helped train new recruits. He wrote that it was a period of respite for him, and allowed him to indulge in his love of hunting
Hunting is the human activity, human practice of seeking, pursuing, capturing, or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest food (i.e. meat) and useful animal products (fur/hide (skin), hide, .... Reflecting on the period years later, he mentioned how trouble was brewing in Ireland at the time, in the few years before the Irish War of Independence. After only a short period in Limerick he was posted to Egypt, but not until he had several opportunities to hunt.
For many years it had been thought that, before declining to return to active service, Sassoon had thrown his MC ribbon into the River Mersey at Formby beach. According to his description of this incident in '' Memoirs of an Infantry Officer'' he did not do this as a symbolic rejection of militaristic values, but simply out of the need to perform some destructive act in catharsis of the black mood which was afflicting him; his account states that one of his pre-war sporting trophies, had he had one to hand, would have served his purpose equally well. The actual decoration was rediscovered after the death of Sassoon's only son, George, and subsequently became the subject of a dispute among Sassoon's heirs.
At Craiglockhart, Sassoon met Wilfred Owen, another poet. It was thanks to Sassoon that Owen persevered in his ambition to write better poetry. A manuscript copy of Owen's '' Anthem for Doomed Youth'' containing Sassoon's handwritten amendments survives as testimony to the extent of his influence and is currently on display at London's Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London
London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a populati .... Sassoon became to Owen " Keats and Christ and Elijah", according to a surviving letter which demonstrates the depth of Owen's love and admiration for him. Both men returned to active service in France, but Owen was killed in 1918, a week before Armistice. Sassoon was promoted to lieutenant, and, having spent some time out of danger in Palestine, eventually returned to the Front. On 13 July 1918, Sassoon was wounded again—by friendly fire when he was shot in the head by a fellow British soldier who had mistaken him for a German near Arras
Arras ( , ; pcd, Aro; historical nl, Atrecht ) is the prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais Departments of France, department, which forms part of the regions of France, region of Hauts-de-France; before the regions of France#Reform and mergers of ..., France. As a result, he spent the remainder of the war in Britain. By this time he had been promoted to acting captain
Captain is a title, an appellative for the commanding officer of a military unit; the supreme leader of a navy ship, merchant ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel; or the commander of a port, fire or police department, election precinct, e .... He relinquished his commission on health grounds on 12 March 1919, but was allowed to retain the rank of captain.
After the war, Sassoon was instrumental in bringing Owen's work to the attention of a wider audience. Their relationship is the subject of Stephen MacDonald's play, '' Not About Heroes''.
Editor and novelist
Having lived for a period at
Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2020, its population was estimated at 151,584. It is north-west of London
London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kin ..., where he spent more time visiting literary friends than studying, Sassoon dabbled briefly in the politics of the Labour movement. In November 1918, he travelled to Blackburn to support the Labour candidate in the general election, Philip Snowden, who had been a pacifist during the war. Though a self-confessed political novice, Sassoon delivered campaign speeches for Snowden, later writing that he ‘felt grateful for nowden'santi-war attitude in parliament, and had been angered by the abuse thrown at him. All my political sympathies were with him.’ While his commitment to politics waned after this, he remained a supporter of the Labour Party, and in 1929 ‘rejoiced that heyhad gained seats in the British general election.’ Similarly, ‘news of the massive Labour victory in 1945 pleased him, because many Tories from the class he had loathed during the First World War had gone.’
In 1919 took up a post as literary editor of the socialist '' Daily Herald''. He lived at 54 Tufton Street, Westminster
Westminster is an area of Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London
London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River ..., from 1919 to 1925; the house is no longer standing, but the location of his former home is marked by a memorial plaque.
During his period at the ''Herald'', Sassoon was responsible for employing several eminent names as reviewers, including E. M. Forster and Charlotte Mew, and commissioned original material from writers like Arnold Bennett and Osbert Sitwell. His artistic interests extended to music. While at Oxford he was introduced to the young William Walton, to whom he became a friend and patron. Walton later dedicated his '' Portsmouth Point'' overture to Sassoon in recognition of his financial assistance and moral support.
Sassoon later embarked on a lecture tour of the US, as well as travelling in Europe and throughout Britain. He acquired a car, a gift from the publisher Frankie Schuster, and became renowned among his friends for his lack of driving skill, but this did not prevent him making full use of the mobility it gave him.
Sassoon had expressed his growing sense of identification with German soldiers in poems such as "Reconciliation" (1918), and after the war, he travelled extensively in Germany, visiting the country a number of times over the next decade. In 1921 Sassoon went to Rome, where he met the Kaiser’s nephew, Prince Philipp of Hesse. The two became lovers for a while, later taking a holiday together in Munich. While they had become estranged by the mid-1920s, due in part to geographical distance and in part, as Jean Moorcroft Wilson notes, to Sassoon’s increasing discomfort over Philipp’s growing interest in right-wing politics, Sassoon would continue to visit Germany. In 1927 he travelled to Berlin and Dresden with Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell, and in 1929 he accompanied Stephen Tennant on a trip to a sanatorium in the Bavarian countryside.
Sassoon was a great admirer of the Welsh poet Henry Vaughan. On a visit to Wales in 1923, he paid a pilgrimage to Vaughan's grave at Llansantffraed, Powys
Powys (; ) is a county and preserved county in Wales
Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to th ..., and there wrote one of his best-known peacetime poems, "At the Grave of Henry Vaughan". The deaths within a short space of time of three of his closest friends – Edmund Gosse, Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism
Romanticism (also known as the ... and Frankie Schuster – came as another serious setback to his personal happiness.
At the same time, Sassoon was preparing to take a new direction. While in America, he had experimented with a novel. In 1928, he branched out into prose, with '' Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man'', the anonymously-published first volume of a fictionalised autobiography, which was almost immediately accepted as a classic, bringing its author new fame as a prose writer. The memoir, whose mild-mannered central character is content to do little more than be an idle country gentleman, playing cricket, riding and hunting foxes, is often humorous, revealing a side of Sassoon that had been little seen in his work during the war years. The book won the 1928 James Tait Black Award for fiction. Sassoon followed it with '' Memoirs of an Infantry Officer'' (1930) and '' Sherston's Progress'' (1936). In later years, he revisited his youth and early manhood with three volumes of genuine autobiography, which were also widely acclaimed. These were ''The Old Century'', ''The Weald of Youth'' and ''Siegfried's Journey''.
Sassoon, having matured greatly as a result of his military service, continued to seek emotional fulfilment, initially in a succession of love affairs with men, including:
* William Park "Gabriel" Atkin, the landscape architectural and figure painter, draftsman and illustrator
Ivor Novello (born David Ivor Davies; 15 January 1893 – 6 March 1951) was a Welsh actor, dramatist, singer and composer who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century.
He was born into a musical ..., actor
* Glen Byam Shaw, actor and Novello's former lover
* Prince Philipp of Hesse, German aristocrat
* Beverley Nichols, writer
* the Hon. Stephen Tennant, an aristocrat
Though Shaw remained Sassoon's close friend throughout his life, only Tennant made a permanent impression.
Introduced by the Sitwells in 1927, Sassoon and Stephen Tennant fell passionately in love, beginning a relationship which would last nearly six years.
Tennant, however, had recurrent tuberculosis, and the strain which that put on their relationship had started to show by the early 1930s. In May 1933, Tennant, then receiving treatment at a sanatorium in Kent, abruptly broke off the relationship, informing Sassoon via a letter written by his doctor that he never wanted to see him again. Sassoon was devastated. When he met his future wife Hester Gatty a few months later, he was still reeling from his break-up with Tennant. Sensing a sympathetic nature, Sassoon confided in Hester about their relationship and, at her suggestion, wrote Tennant a letter to put the past to rest. Whilst he and Tennant would exchange letters, telephone calls and infrequent visits in the years to come, they never resumed their previous relationship.
Marriage and later life
In September 1931, Sassoon rented Fitz House, Teffont Magna, Wiltshire, and began to live there. In December 1933, he married Hester Gatty (daughter of Stephen Herbert Gatty), who was twenty years his junior, and soon afterwards they moved to Heytesbury House. The marriage led to the birth of a child, something Sassoon had purportedly craved for a long time. Siegfried's son, George Sassoon (1936–2006), became a scientist, linguist, and author, and was adored by Siegfried, who wrote several poems addressed to him. Siegfried's marriage broke down after the
Second World War
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposi ..., with Sassoon apparently unable to find a compromise between the solitude he enjoyed and the companionship he needed. Separated from his wife in 1945, Sassoon lived in seclusion at Heytesbury in Wiltshire, although he maintained contact with a circle which included E. M. Forster and J. R. Ackerley. One of his closest friends was the cricketer Dennis Silk who later became Warden (headmaster) of Radley College
Radley College, formally St Peter's College, Radley, is a public school (independent boarding school for boys) near Radley, Oxfordshire, England, which was founded in 1847. The school covers including playing fields, a golf course, a lake, an .... He also formed a close friendship with Vivien Hancock, then headmistress of Greenways School at Ashton Gifford, Wiltshire, where his son George was a pupil. The relationship provoked Hester to make strong accusations against Hancock, who responded with the threat of legal action.
Towards the end of his life, Sassoon converted to
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized
Baptism (from grc-x-koine, βάπτισμα, váptisma) is a form of ritual purification—a character .... He had hoped that Ronald Knox, a Catholic priest and writer whom he admired, would instruct him in the faith, but Knox was too ill to do so. The priest Sebastian Moore was chosen to instruct him instead, and Sassoon was admitted to the faith at Downside Abbey in Somerset. He also paid regular visits to the nuns at Stanbrook Abbey, and the Abbey press printed commemorative editions of some of his poems. During this time he also became interested in the supernatural
Supernatural refers to phenomena or entities that are beyond the laws of nature. The term is derived from Medieval Latin , from Latin (above, beyond, or outside of) + (nature) Though the corollary term "nature", has had multiple meanings si ..., and joined the Ghost Club.
Death and awards
Sassoon was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1951 New Year Honours. He died from stomach cancer on 1 September 1967, one week before his 81st birthday. He is buried at St Andrew's Church, Mells, Somerset, not far from the grave of Father Ronald Knox, whom he so admired. His CBE, MC and campaign medals are on display at the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum at Caernarfon Castle.
On 11 November 1985, Sassoon was among sixteen Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone unveiled in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner. The inscription on the stone was written by friend and fellow War poet Wilfred Owen. It reads: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."
The year 2003 saw the publication of ''Memorial Tablet'', an authorised audio CD of readings by Sassoon recorded during the late 1950s. These included extracts from '' Memoirs of an Infantry Officer'' and ''The Weald of Youth'', as well as several war poems including Attack, The Dug-Out, At Carnoy and Died of Wounds, and postwar works. The CD also included comment on Sassoon by three of his Great War contemporaries: Edmund Blunden, Edgell Rickword and Henry Williamson.
Siegfried Sassoon's only child, George Sassoon, died of cancer in 2006. George had three children, two of whom were killed in a car crash in 1996. His daughter by his first marriage, Kendall Sassoon, is Patron-in-Chief of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, established in 2001.
Sassoon's Military Cross was rediscovered by his family in May 2007 and was put up for sale. It was bought by the Royal Welch Fusiliers for display at their museum in Caernarfon. Sassoon's other service medals went unclaimed until 1985 when his son George obtained them from the Army Medal Office, then based at Droitwich. The "late claim" medals consisting of the 1914-15 Star, 1914–15 Star, Victory Medal (United Kingdom), Victory Medal and British War Medal along with Sassoon's Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE and Warrant of Appointment were auctioned by Sotheby's in 2008.
In June 2009, the University of Cambridge announced plans to purchase an archive of Sassoon's papers from his family, to be added to the university library's Sassoon collection. On 4 November 2009 it was reported that this purchase would be supported by £550,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, meaning that the University still needed to raise a further £110,000 on top of the money already received to meet the full £1.25 million asking price. The funds were raised and in December 2009 it was announced that the University had received the papers. Included in the collection are war diaries kept by Sassoon while he served on the Western Front and in Palestine, a draft of "s:Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration, A Soldier's Declaration" (1917), notebooks from his schooldays and post-war journals. Other items in the collection include love letters to his wife Hester and photographs and letters from other writers. Sassoon was an undergraduate at the university, as well as being made an honorary fellow of Clare College; the collection is housed at the Cambridge University Library. As well as private individuals, funding came from the Monument Trust, the JP Getty Jr Trust and Sir Siegmund Warburg's Voluntary Settlement.
In 2010, ''Dream Voices: Siegfried Sassoon, Memory and War'', a major exhibition of Sassoon's life and archive, was held at Cambridge University. Several of Sassoon's poems have been set to music, some during his life, by Cyril Rootham, who co-operated with the author.
The discovery in 2013 of an early draft of one of Sassoon's best-known anti-war poems had biographers saying they would rewrite portions of their work about the poet. In the poem, 'Atrocities', which concerned the killing of German prisoners by their British counterparts, the early draft shows that some lines were cut and others watered down. The poet's publisher was nervous about publishing the poem and held it for publication in an expurgated version at a later date. Sassoon biographer Jean Moorcroft Wilson said "This is very exciting material. I want to rewrite my biography and I probably shall be able to get some of it in. It's a treasure trove". In early 2019, it was announced in ''The Guardian'' newspaper that a student from the University of Warwick, whilst looking through Glen Byam Shaw's records at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, had serendipitously discovered a Sassoon poem addressed to the former, which had not been published in its entirety.
* ''The Daffodil Murderer'' (John Richmond: 1913)
* ''The Old Huntsman'' (Heinemann (publisher), Heinemann: 1917)
* ''The General'' (Denmark Hill Hospital, April 1917)
* ''Does it Matter?'' (written: 1917)
* ''s:Counter-Attack and Other Poems, Counter-Attack and Other Poems'' (Heinemann: 1918)
* ''The Hero'' [Henry Holt, 1918]
* ''Picture-Show'' (Heinemann: 1919)
* ''War Poems'' (Heinemann: 1919)
* ''Aftermath'' (Heinemann: 1920)
* ''Recreations'' (privately printed: 1923)
* ''Lingual Exercises for Advanced Vocabularians'' (privately printed: 1925)
* ''Selected Poems'' (Heinemann: 1925)
* ''Satirical Poems'' (Heinemann: 1926)
* ''The Heart's Journey'' (Heinemann: 1928)
* ''Poems by Pinchbeck Lyre'' (Gerald Duckworth, Duckworth: 1931)
* ''The Road to Ruin'' (Faber and Faber: 1933)
* ''Vigils'' (Heinemann: 1935)
* ''Rhymed Ruminations'' (Faber and Faber: 1940)
* ''Poems Newly Selected'' (Faber and Faber: 1940)
* ''Collected Poems'' (Faber and Faber: 1947)
* ''Common Chords'' (privately printed: 1950/1951)
* ''Emblems of Experience'' (privately printed: 1951)
* ''The Tasking'' (privately printed: 1954)
* ''Sequences'' (Faber and Faber: 1956)
* ''Lenten Illuminations'' (Downside Abbey: 1959)
* ''The Path to Peace'' (Stanbrook Abbey Press: 1960)
* ''Collected Poems 1908–1956'' (Faber and Faber: 1961)
* ''The War Poems'' ed. Rupert Hart-Davis (Faber and Faber: 1983)
* '' Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man'' (Faber & Gwyer: 1928)
* '' Memoirs of an Infantry Officer'' (Faber and Faber: 1930)
* '' Sherston's Progress'' (Faber and Faber: 1936)
* ''The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston'' (Faber and Faber: 1937)
* ''The Old Century and seven more years'' (Faber and Faber: 1938)
* ''On Poetry'' (University of Bristol Press: 1939)
* ''The Weald of Youth'' (Faber and Faber: 1942)
* ''Siegfried's Journey, 1916–1920'' (Faber and Faber: 1945)
* ''Meredith'' (Constable: 1948) – Biography of George Meredith
In popular culture
A 1970 installment of The Wednesday Play entitled ''Mad Jack'' based around Sassoon's wartime experiences and their aftermath leading to his renunciation of his Military Cross starred Michael Jayston as Sassoon. The novel ''Regeneration (novel), Regeneration'', by Pat Barker, is a fictionalised account of this period in Sassoon's life, and was made into a Regeneration (1997 film), film starring James Wilby as Sassoon and Jonathan Pryce as W. H. R. Rivers, the psychiatrist responsible for Sassoon's treatment. Rivers became a kind of surrogate father to the troubled young man, and his sudden death in 1922 was a major blow to Sassoon.
In 2014, John Hurt played the older Sassoon and Morgan Watkins the young Sassoon in ''BBC World War I centenary season#Historical debate, The Pity of War'', a BBC docu-drama.
A film named ''The Burying Party'' (released August 2018) depicts Wilfred Owen's final year from Craiglockhart Hospital to the Battle of the Sambre (1918), including his meeting with Sassoon at the hospital. Matthew Staite stars as Owen and Sid Phoenix as Sassoon.
Peter Capaldi and Jack Lowden portrayed Sassoon in Terence Davies' 2021 film ''Benediction (film), Benediction''.
Stevan Rimkus portrayed Sassoon in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode, ''Somme, Early August 1916''.
* Felicitas Corrigan, ''Siegfried Sassoon: Poet's Pilgrimage'' (1973). (A collection of Sassoon's diary-entries and correspondence marking his gradual spiritual development towards Roman Catholicism.)
* Jean Moorcroft Wilson, ''Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet'' (1998).
* Jean Moorcroft Wilson, ''Siegfried Sassoon: The Journey from the Trenches: a biography (1918–1967)'' (London: Routledge, 2003).
* John Stuart Roberts, ''Siegfried Sassoon'' (1999).
* John Max Henry Scawen Wyndham, 2nd Baron Egremont, Max Egremont, ''Siegfried Sassoon: A Biography'' (2005).
''Siegfried's Journal'': the journal of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship.
Sassoon on the War poets from ''Vanity Fair'' magazine (1920
* Roy Pinaki. "''Comrades-in-Arms'': A Very Brief Study of Sassoon and Owen as Twentieth-Century English War Poets". ''Twentieth-century British Literature: Reconstructing Literary Sensibility''. Ed. Nawale, A., Z. Mitra, and A. John. New Delhi: Gnosis, 2013 (). pp. 61–78.
Siegfried Sassoon collection of papers, 1905–1975, bulk (1915–1951)
(669 items) are held at the New York Public Library.
Siegfried Sassoon papers, 1894–1966
(3 linear ft. (ca.630 items in 4 boxes & 13 slipcases)) are held at Columbia University Libraries.
Siegfried Sassoon papers, 1908–1966
(109 items) are held in the Rutgers University Libraries.
* 'The Jewishness of Siegfried Sassoon' by Martin Sugarman (AJEX Archivist) in the Journal of the Siegfried Fellowship
Profile at Poetry Foundation
1920 *Vanity Fair* magazine article by Sassoon
Profile at Poetry Archive. Biography and poems written and audio
The Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship
Siegfried Sassoon profile and poems at Poets.org
BBC: ''In our time''. (Audio discussion 45 mins)
with bibliography and links. Updated 18-Mar-15
interview 1 January 1967 (Audio, 7 mins) Dead link Updated 18-Mar-15
WGBH Forum Network lecture
given by Sassoon biographer Max Egremont (Audio and video, 1 hour)
Siegfried Sassoon collection of papers, circa 1905–1975, bulk (1915–1951)
(669 items), New York Public Library.
Papers of Siegfried Sassoon
Cambridge University Library
Sassoon in the Great War Archive
BBC Audio slideshow.
Sassoon's papers at Cambridge University Library.
Elizabeth Whitcomb Houghton Collection
digitised in Cambridge Digital Library
* Archival material at
Finding aid to Siegfried Sassoon papers
at Columbia University, Rare Book & Manuscript Library
* hdl:10079/fa/beinecke.sassoon, Siegfried Sassoon Papers. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
British Army personnel of World War I
English World War I poets
People with post-traumatic stress disorder
20th-century male writers
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
Converts to Roman Catholicism from Judaism
English Catholic poets
English people of Indian-Jewish descent
English people of Iraqi-Jewish descent
English Roman Catholics
Fox hunting writers
James Tait Black Memorial Prize recipients
Bisexual military personnel
LGBT Roman Catholics
People educated at Marlborough College
People from Matfield
Recipients of the Military Cross
Roman Catholic writers
Royal Welch Fusiliers officers
20th-century English poets
Alumni of Clare College, Cambridge
English LGBT poets
Burials in Somerset
Sussex Yeomanry soldiers
British writers of Indian descent
Military personnel from Kent