A while back I had an idea to write something about the 'strange meeting' of Sitwell and Owen at the shell shock hospital in Scotland during WW1.
Never got round to it, partly because I reckoned so few people know or care about that part of history, but now I am reading Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy - and it is so good, that I am glad I never attempted it.
I don't need to do it because she has done it. My goodness, it seems to me her research is thorough and totally empathetic.
Such marvellous books. Have you read them?
If you have, do you find you need a bit of historical background to appreciate them?
Yes, I have read them and very much enjoyed them...and would strongly recommend them to other readers with any interest at all in that period.
I already had the historical background but yes, I do think one would need at least a basic understanding of how the First World War proceeded, and certainly of its horrors for both UK officers and for the 'ordinary' man. Owen's 'Dulce et decorum est' has haunted me since I first read it as a teenager (possibly because my grandfather fought and was injured at Passchendale, so it was all very close to home as I was growing up).
Craiglockhart itself has a fascinating story (my father was treated for 'neurasthenia' during the Second World War). For those who do not know of it, this is an interesting article:
Many people in the UK do still know and care about that part of our history. You will (I think) be pleased to know that 'the war poets' feature on most secondary school syllabuses, including at formal exam level.
The film version of 'Regeneration' (1997) was not quite as good as I had hoped. Somehow, something did not quite 'work' for me.
Yes - I too have read them all - not sure that I "enjoyed" them but they certainly gave me an insight in to my father's experiences from 1914 - 19.
As did "Bird Song" by Sebastian Faulks.
I wish I had had a more mature interest in history in the stories my father told me.
He did talk about his experinces - a little- sometimes including very difficult tales for a young person to comprehend.
My late youngest brother heard them when he was older but they left a profound impression with both of us.
As I get older I think more and more about "history" as the passage of time in our lives.
We moved into this house in 1991 - 21 years ago.
I can recall vividly everything about the purchase of the house and our move.
Twenty one years after my father left the army WW2 was declared. I cannot imagine what the effect of that could have been on someone with the smells and sounds of the trenches still in their nostrils and ears.
now that is very interesting stuff ladies - i didn't know the shell shock hospital was still functioning in ww2
or that a movie had been made of regeneration
those war poems are powerful stuff - my kids were taught them at school - as was I
It might be worth seeing if you can get hold of Regeneration It was quite well-received and was nominated for a BAFTA.
Birdsong is indeed excellent. No film yet (been in development' for 14 years!) but a two-part BBC thing was shown earlier this year. I didn't watch it, I'm afraid.
I read the Trilogy so that I could get a better picture of the period, as I wanted to know what my mother's young uncle must have undergone before he was killed. The books are kept in my Family History section.
I did see Birdsong and found it rather disturbing.
ph i am such a fool - it was sassoon not sitwell!!!! sorry about that