'The Tasking', 'Unwonted Themes' and 'Meredith Biographical References etc.', 1947-1957 (circa; the Meredith notes precede 1948; the poems date circa 1951-1957)
Scope and Contents
Notebook comprising draft poems for 'The Tasking' and 'Unwonted Themes' at one end, and notes for 'Meredith' from the other. The notebook also includes an almost continuous run of diary entries for 5 Feb. 1953 - 4 Apr. 1954. While the diary entries begin from the poetry end, many share pages with the Meredith notes. Contents:
'The Tasking. Unwonted Themes': /1r-29v & 76r. Contains the following draft poems and related notes: - Title page: /1r. - 'The Abstractionist': /1v. - Lists of poetry, including lists of poems sent to 'H.M.T.' and 'R.L.' and lists marked 'Sparrow Selection', 'Lighter Verse', 'Spiritual', and 'Meditative': /1v-2r. - 'An Unlit House', 29 Nov. 1953: /2v. - 'The Meaning', 3 Dec. 1953: /2v. - 'The Attitude', 26 Jan. 1954: /2v. - 'Awareness of Alcuin', 14-16 Mar. 1951: /3r. - 'Prayer Unperfected', 1 Feb. 1955, with a related note by Sassoon: /3r. - 'Renewals', 8 Feb. 1954: /3v. - 'Heart's Homeland', with a note 'A drawing room ballad title but what else can I call it?', 1 Dec. 1953: /3v. - 'World without End', 18 Mar. 1951: /4r. - 'The Dispersal' (with initial titles of 'The Higher Life to Come' and 'The Unrescued'), 10 Feb. 1954: /4r. - Erased poem with only corrections in pen legible: /4v. - 'Cosmic Collector' and 'Active Executor' - short verses about Sir Geoffrey Keynes: /4v. - 'World Unrest', 9 Feb. 1954: /4v. - 'The Father of Tranquillity' (four-line verse), 10 Feb. 1954: /4v. - 'Travelling Library', 20 Mar. 1957: /5r. - 'An Invocation', 27 Oct. 1953: /5r. - 'Antithesis', 13 Dec. 1953: /5r. - 'Affirmation', 27 Feb. 1950: /5v. - 'Well Worth Remembering' or 'The Question', 10 Dec. 1953, with an accompanying note by Sassoon: /5v. - 'The Need', 21-22 Mar. 1957: /6r. - 'The Contention', 21 Dec. 1953: /6v. - 'The Darkness', 22 Jan. 1954: /6v. - 'The Messenger', 29 Mar. 1951, with an accompanying note on his spiritual poetry: /7r. - Poem initially entitled 'The Idealist' beginning 'If all those eyes that look on life with trust', 16-17 Aug. 1951: /7v. - 'God's Fool', 6 Oct. 1951: /7v. - Erased poem with only corrections in pen legible: /8r. - 'The Last Laugh', 29-30 Aug. 1951: /8r. - 'An Ambiguity', 20 Mar. 1954: /8r. - 'Repeat Performance', 18 Feb. 1954: /8v. - 'A Step Forward', 26 Feb. 1954: /8v. - 'Existence', 11 Feb. 1954: /8v. - 'A Whispered Warning', 18 Feb. 1954: /8v. - 'Self-Portrait', 1 Mar. 1954: /8v. - 'A Trancendency', 22 Dec. 1953, with an accompanying note by Sassoon: /8v. - 'Death Defeated', 9 Mar. 1954: /8v. - 'The Best of It', 27 Feb. 1952: /9r. - 'A Chord', 5 Mar. 1952: /9r. - 'The Worst of It', 29 Feb. 1952, with a related note dated 25-27 Dec. 1953: /9v. - 'The Making', 23 Oct. 1953: /10r. - 'One's Way' with initial titles of 'The Way' and 'One must; one can; one might', 17 Dec. 1953: /10r. - 'A Shropshire Stoic', 9 Mar. 1952: /10v. - 'A Seated Figure', a poem about Thomas Hardy, 29 Sep. 1952: /10v. - Poem beginning 'Up in the wood all afternoon a busy man I've been': /11r. - 'Private Tuition': /11v. - 'Reorientation', 14 Mar. 1952: /11v. - 'Outnumbered', 16 Mar. 1952: /11v. - Poem beginning 'Watchful I waited, hopeful of what he had to say', 15 Mar. 1952: /12r. - Poem beginning 'Did we get things all wrong before Freud?': /12r. - Poem beginning 'Perusing a fortuitous photograph', 24 Nov. 1952: /12r. - 'Beyond Recovery', 17 Mar. 1952: /12v. - 'The Welcoming', 12 Mar. 1954: /12v. - 'Another Spring', 31 Mar. 1954: /13r. - 'September Sky', 27 Sep. 1952: /13v. - 'Self Epitaph', 12 Nov. 1952: /13v. - 'Homo Dubitans', 9 Nov. 1952: /13v. - 'Human Bondage', 30 Sep. 1952: /14r. - 'A Reunion', 26 Sep. 1952: /14v. - 'The Alliance', 14 Feb. 1954: /14v. - 'The Inapprehensible' , 1-2 Oct. 1952: /15r. - Poem beginning 'Toward Him to whom I owe bestowed existence', 18 Nov. 1952: /15r. - Poem beginning 'I used to think God would one day emerge', 6 Oct. 1952: /15v. - 'What of the Immanent Will?', 21 Feb. 1954: /15v. - 'The Humbled Heart', 2-3 Mar. 1954: /15v-16r. - 'Mind to Body', 8 Oct. 1952: /16r. - Poem beginning 'Anonymous (for want of other word, Referred to as the soul)', 9 Oct. 1952: /16r. - 'Unreplying', 12 Oct. 1952: /16v. - 'The Visitant', 13 Dec. 1953, with an accompanying note in which he also mentions the poetry of Dylan Thomas: /16v-17r. - Poem beginning 'I see the shadow of my halted hand', 14 Oct. 1952: /17r. - 'October Trees', 17 Oct. 1953: /17r. - 'All very well', 15-16 Oct. 1952: /17v. - ['Inseparate'?], poem beginning 'Listening for intimations from outside', 23 Oct. 1952: /17v. - Diary-style entry on his poetry entitled 'Apologia for being boring', beginning, 'If asked to explain the object of these humdrum explorations of my elderly self, what should I say?', 20 Oct. 1952: /18r. - 'The Offering', 18 Oct. 1952: /18v. - 'Faith Unfaithful', 21 Mar. 1954: /18v. - 'Sic Sedebat', 12 Nov. 1953, with an accompanying note dated 5 Feb. 1955: /19r. - Poem beginning 'Too much alone, a derelict non-seeker', 16 Jan. 1954: /19r. - 'The Centenary', 8 Mar. 1954: /19r. - 'Evensong', 21 Oct. 1952, with an accompanying note: /19v. - 'An Olfactory Episode', 27 Oct. 1952: /20r. - 'Man and the Universe', 19 Nov. 1952, illustrated with a sketch or doodle: /20r. - Poem beginning '[New?] encountered saint, I know that you exist' (with excised titles 'Unrevealing', 'Undiscovered Christ' and 'Sainthood Suffering'), 22-23 Oct. 1952, with an accompanying note dated 13 Nov. 1952: /20v. - Notes concerning his poetry, including extracts from letters by 'Bob G.H.', 'Swinny' and 'E.B.', dated 14-20 Nov. 1952: /20v-21r. - 'A Reasonable Explanation', 28 Oct. 1952: /21v. - 'A Belated Discovery', 9 Nov. 1953, with an accompanying note: /21v. - 'Neighbours', 26 Nov. 1952: /22r. - 'Not Myself', 24 Nov. 1954: /22r. - 'Wordsworth's Day'', 24 Nov. 1952: /22r. - Four-line poem beginning 'In solitude I thought - & found it queer', 13 Mar. 1954: /22r. - 'Eclipse', 9 Oct. 1953: /22v. - Four-line poem beginning 'Call it conclusion ...', 10 Oct. 1953: /22v. - 'Unuplifted', 8 Nov. 1952: /23r. - Poem beginning 'Wild music, sound no more' (with excised title 'Renunciation'), 25 Nov. 1952: /23v. - 'Youth in Summer', 25 June 1953: /24r. - 'Better without it', 28 Aug. 1953, with related notes on reputation dated 29-30 Aug. 1953: /23v-24r. - 'An Epitome', 20 Nov. 1952: /24v. - 'The Half Century', 3 Dec. 1952: /24v. - 'The Defenders', 27 Aug. 1953: /24v. - 'The Solution': /25r. - 'The Interpretation', 11 Mar. 1954: /25r. - 'Two Twinklings', 29 Dec. 1952: /25v. - 'Preserving Peace', 25 Mar. 1954 (excised): /25v. - 'Can it be?...' 17-19 Dec. 1952: /26r. - 'Surrendered Self (continuation of Prayer Unperfected)', 3 Feb. 1955: /26r. - 'The Unphysical Future', 19 Dec. 1952: /26v. - 'Deliverance', 17 July 1953: /26v. - Poem beginning '"Show me your face, Futurity", I cried', 6 Feb. 1955: /27r. - 'The Tasking', 20 Dec. 1952, with related notes dated 6 Dec. 1953 and 6-7 Mar. 1954: /27v. - 'The Exclusion', 7 Mar. 1953: /27v. - Poem beginning 'From inexperience I was wont to claim', 30 Dec. 1952: /28r. - 'Apologia', 31 Dec. 1952: /28r. - 'The Knowing', 17 Jan. 1953, with a related note: /28v. - Poem beginning 'These last three hours how busy I have been', 18 Jan. 1953: /29r. - 'Change of Garments', 15 July 1953: /29r. - 'Romantic Concerto': /29r. - 'The Trial', 19-20 Jan. 1953: /29v. - Thematic outline of 'The Tasking': /76r. Diary entries for 5 Feb. 1953-4 Apr. 1954: /30r-77r. - These concern poetry and personal or family matters, and include entries on a visit from E.M. Forster (7-14 July 1953: /40), on the death of Dylan Thomas (10 Nov. 1953: /49r), on the award of a CBE to Glen Byam Shaw (1 Jan. 1954: /57v; see enclosure), and an entry in which Sassoon writes that he would like to meet [Dr William H.R.] Rivers in 'the next world' or tell him about the past thirty years (26 Oct. 1953: /64v). Entries then continue from the opposite end of the notebook: - 'Meredith Biographical References etc.' (starting from the back of the notebook): /77v- 52r. These include a quotation by George Meredith with a watercolour illustration of his initials; notes on his friends and poems; things said about Meredith; chapter outlines; notes on problems of construction; a chronology; the story of Meredith's first marriage; notes and reminders on various queries to follow up; and short sections of prose by Sassoon on Meredith, including part of the section 'on E.H. as a novel' ['Evan Harrington']. - Notes for a review of Walter de la Mare's 'Winged Chariots' for The Spectator: /51v-47r. - 'Notes for Oundle talk': /46v-45v. - Diary entry dated 6 Aug. 1951 (on Ralph Hodgson): /45r.
Two enclosures are to be found in separate envelopes. The foliation is the archivist's. For further 'Meredith' notes, see also MS Add.9852/6/7.
- 1947-1957 (circa; the Meredith notes precede 1948; the poems date circa 1951-1957)
Conditions Governing Access
Fragile, with many loose or detached pages - please handle with care.
1 volume(s) (77 ff.)
Language of Materials
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Notebook with marbled boards.
- Forster, Edward Morgan, 1879-1970 (novelist and critic)
- Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928 (novelist and poet)
- Hodgson, Ralph, 1871-1962 (poet)
- Keynes, Sir Geoffrey Langdon, 1887-1982 (Knight, surgeon and bibliophile)
- Mare, Walter John de la, 1873-1956 (author and poet)
- Meredith, George, 1828-1909 (novelist and poet)
- Rivers, William Halse Rivers, 1864-1922 (psychologist and anthropologist)
- Thomas, Dylan, 1914-1953 (poet and prose writer)
- From the Fonds: Sassoon, Siegfried Loraine, 1886-1967 (poet and author) (Person)