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Sassoon, Siegfried Loraine, 1886-1967 (poet and author)

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1886 - 1967

Biography

Poet and writer Siegfried Loraine Sassoon was born on 8 September 1886 at Weirleigh, near Matfield in Kent. His mother, Georgiana Theresa Thornycroft, was from a prominent family of sculptors and artists, while his father, Alfred Ezra Sassoon, came from a wealthy Jewish merchant family. His father left home when he was seven and died soon after, so Siegfried and his brothers, Michael and Hamo, were raised solely by their mother.

Educated at Marlborough College (1902-4), Sassoon read law at Clare College, Cambridge (1905-6) but left before taking a degree, choosing instead to live the life of a country gentleman, fox-hunting, cricketing, playing golf, and reading and writing poetry. His early poems were printed privately and distributed chiefly among family and friends.

It was the onset of the Great War that propelled Sassoon from a life of relative idleness and luxury into his role as soldier-poet and vitriolic critic of the War. In 1914, Sassoon enlisted as a trooper in the Sussex Yeomanry. The following year, he was commissioned in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and sent to France, where his bravery earned him the nickname 'Mad Jack'. In June 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in action. In April 1917, however, he was wounded in the shoulder, and while recuperating in England wrote his 'Soldier's Declaration', a statement in protest against the continuation of the War, calling for a negotiated peace. Sensitive to the needless suffering of his men, affected by the deaths of close friend, David Thomas, and of his younger brother Hamo (killed at Gallipoli in November 1915), and enraged with a sense that the conflict was being needlessly prolonged by those who had the power to end it, Sassoon had become increasingly disillusioned with the politics of the War. His protest statement was read out in the House of Commons and printed in 'The Times' in July 1917. Sassoon expected a court-martial; instead, due partly to the intervention of his friend Robert Graves, he was declared to be suffering from 'shellshock' and sent to Craiglockhart Military Hospital in Edinburgh. There he met the poet Wilfred Owen and became his friend and mentor. He also formed a friendship with psychologist and anthropologist William H. R. Rivers, who eventually helped persuade Sassoon to return to the front. In February 1918 he was posted to Palestine, but was sent back to France in May where he received a head wound which ended his direct involvement in the War.

During his time at the front, Sassoon wrote many of the war poems which were to establish his reputation as a poet. Caustic, bitter, moving and compassionate, his poems reflected the savage reality of war. These were published in a series of volumes entitled 'The Old Huntsman and Other Poems' (1917), 'Counter-Attack and Other Poems' (1918), 'Picture Show' (1919), and 'War Poems' (1919).

Throughout his life Sassoon continued to write and publish poetry. He also kept copious diaries, many of which later formed the basis of his prose work: the Sherston novels, a thinly veiled autobiographical trilogy based around the fictitious character George Sherston, beginning with 'Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man' (1928), and a second trilogy of true autobiography, beginning with 'The Old Century and Seven More Years' (1938). In 1948 he also published 'Meredith', his biography of the novelist and poet George Meredith. He remains best known, however, as a war poet.

Sassoon married Hester Gatty in 1933 and purchased Heytesbury House in Wiltshire. His marriage followed a series of homosexual relationships, most notably with artist Gabriel Atkin and socialite Stephen Tennant. His only son George was born in 1936, and his marriage dissolved a few years later. In 1957 Sassoon converted to Catholicism. He died in 1967 at the age of eighty.

In his lifetime Sassoon was honoured with a number of awards. In 1928 he received the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Prize for his book 'Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man'. In 1951 he was appointed CBE, while in 1957 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He received honorary degrees from the Universities of Liverpool (1931) and Oxford (1965), and was made an honorary fellow of Clare College, Cambridge in 1953. He is among sixteen Great War Poets commemorated in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Found in 81 Collections and/or Records:

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 Fonds

Alf Rosfelt: 'Imagery in Siegfried Sassoon's poetry', with related correspondence

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10385
Scope and Contents A copy of a thesis written by Rosfelt at Stockholms universitet, duplicated typescript, 107 numbered pages + title page and four pages of contents, the title page inscribed by Rosfelt with a dedication to Sir Geoffrey Keynes. With: a card from Rosfelt to Keynes, Vällingby (Sweden), 10 April 1971, enclosing the thesis; a letter from Rosfelt to Keynes, Vällingby, 12 August 1971, concerning his interest in Sassoon; and a letter from Keynes to Dennis Silk, Brinkley, 23 April 1974, enclosing the...
Dates: 1971-1974
 File

'An Ideal Sportsman' by Sassoon, from The Listener, 9 Oct. 1935

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9877/2/3/1/2
Scope and Contents From the Sub-Series:

Cuttings of reviews and press articles, chiefly from Durrant's Press Agency. Many list Sassoon or Faber and Faber as clients but some were clearly collated by Egremont during his own research.

Dates: 9 Oct. 1935
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Series

A.T. Bartholomew, register of Siegfried Sassoon's publications, 1930-1932

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8494
Scope and Contents Notebook listing information on printed poetry and prose works by Sassoon, marked 'begun August 1930'. Contents: pp. 1-25. list of printed work under the headings: title, issue (giving number of copies printed and date), and ATB's [notes on A.T. Bartholomew's copy]; pp. 25-40. blank pages; pp. 41-81. list of printed work [?acquired by A.T.B.], recorded under the headings: date, seller, particulars (noting whether copy was bound or inscribed, etc.), price. NB. Pagination is original. A single...
Dates: 1930-1932
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 File

'Aunt Eudora and the Poets' by Sassoon, from The Spectator, 31 Jan. 1936

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9877/2/3/1/3
Scope and Contents From the Sub-Series:

Cuttings of reviews and press articles, chiefly from Durrant's Press Agency. Many list Sassoon or Faber and Faber as clients but some were clearly collated by Egremont during his own research.

Dates: 31 Jan. 1936
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

card with quotation from letter H.M. Tomlinson to Siegfried Sassoon

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/22
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Fonds

Correspondence and papers concerning a volume of tributes to mark the eightieth birthday of Siegfried Sassoon

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10383
Scope and Contents

Correspondence and related papers concerning a volume of manuscript tributes compiled by Rupert Hart-Davis and Dennis Silk for presentation to Siegfried Sassoon on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. There are letters between the compilers discussing progress with the volume, and between Silk and a selection of those invited to contribute. The related items include photographic copies of some of the contributions.

Dates: 1964-1966
 Fonds

Correspondence and related papers of Ian Davie, chiefly consisting of letters from Siegfried Sassoon

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9862
Dates: Mar. 1959-10 Mar. 1965
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Fonds

Correspondence of Gilles David concerning Siegfried Sassoon

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9963
Scope and Contents

Letters addressed to Gilles David in response to enquiries made in the course of researching a thesis on Siegfried Sassoon

Dates: 1968-1974 (approximate)
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Fonds

Correspondence of Siegfried Sassoon and Dennis Silk, and related items

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10382
Scope and Contents

Correspondence between Siegfried Sassoon and Dennis Silk, together with poems, verse dialogues, newspaper cuttings, photographs and related items. The letters date between 1953 and 1967. They are from Sassoon, and addressed from Heytesbury, unless otherwise stated. A few were addressed jointly to Dennis and Diana Silk. There are three letters from Dennis Silk to Sassoon, and letters from a few other correspondents are included as enclosures.

Dates: 1918-2012 (bulk 1953-1967)
 File

Correspondents S, 1936-1963

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 1936-1963
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Other level

Cuttings of writings by Sassoon for the media and of an article on Sassoon by Graves, 1930-1936

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9877/2/3/1
Scope and Contents From the Sub-Series:

Cuttings of reviews and press articles, chiefly from Durrant's Press Agency. Many list Sassoon or Faber and Faber as clients but some were clearly collated by Egremont during his own research.

Dates: 1930-1936
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Fonds

Edmund Blunden: letters to Siegfried Sassoon and Dennis Silk

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10384
Scope and Contents

Ten letters from Edmund Blunden to Siegfried Sassoon, with one from Blunden to Dennis Silk and one from Clare Ross to Sassoon.

Dates: 1962-1966
 File

'Educating Aunt Eudora' by Sassoon, from The Spectator, 14 Feb. 1936

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9877/2/3/1/5
Scope and Contents From the Sub-Series:

Cuttings of reviews and press articles, chiefly from Durrant's Press Agency. Many list Sassoon or Faber and Faber as clients but some were clearly collated by Egremont during his own research.

Dates: 14 Feb. 1936
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Fonds

Egremont Sassoon papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9877
Scope and Contents Papers relating to Siegfried Loraine Sassoon accumulated by his biographer Max Egremont. The papers are arranged in two series: correspondence and research files.The correspondence includes Sassoon's incoming and outgoing letters, and letters received by various family members. A number of photographs of Sassoon are included with the letters. Sassoon's correspondence includes a large series of letters from his mother, Georgiana Theresa Sassoon (née Thornycroft, known as Theresa)...
Dates: 1890-2003 (circa)
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Series

From Edward Morgan Forster [Author], [Alexandria], 2 Oct. 1918

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.7973/F/14
Scope and Contents

Has been corresponding with [Siegfried] Sassoon;the prospect of an end to the war with Turkey; 'I look forward very little ... I am continually on the defensive against the entire universe'; 'I still see nothing but the abyss, the losing battle of individualism'; an invitation to dine with Sir Bartle Frere.

Dates: 2 Oct. 1918
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, 18 Hanover Terrace, 26 Nov 1936

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/1
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 26 Nov 1936
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury, 13 Jan 1953

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/18
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 13 Jan 1953
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury, 31 Mar 1954

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/20
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 31 Mar 1954
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury, 28 Oct 1954

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/21
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 28 Oct 1954
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury House, 27 Mar 1954

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/19
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 27 Mar 1954
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury House, Wiltshire, 23 Jun 1951

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/17
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 23 Jun 1951
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury House, Wiltshire, 18 Nov 1937

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/2
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 18 Nov 1937
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury House, Wiltshire, 26 Nov 1937

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/3
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 26 Nov 1937
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury House, Wiltshire, 3 Feb 1938

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/4
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 3 Feb 1938
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

from Siegfried Sassoon, Heytesbury House, Wiltshire, 28 Jun 1939

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8905/10/S/5
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Hassall died intestate. His working papers were taken to the Royal Society of Literature by his assistant Gillian Paterson, who arranged and (presumably) listed them. They were bought by CUL from Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1992. They were housed in paper box files 1 25 and cartons A D, as listed. They have now been re boxed, in 28 boxes and one packet, which has involved some reorganisation of the material and hence some rearrangement and re numbering of the original list.

Dates: 28 Jun 1939
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
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Additional filters:

ARCHON code (for CUL materials)
Archives and MSS Dept. (GBR/0012) 80
 
Type
Archival Object 56
Collection 25
 
Subject
Poetry 5
First World War (1914-1918) 2
British literature 1
Cricket 1
Dream interpretation 1

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