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Modern Classics Goodbye To All That [Paperback]

Robert Graves
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 28 2000 0141184590 978-0141184593
An autobiographical work that describes firsthand the great tectonic shifts in English society following the First World War, Robert Graves' "Goodbye to All That" is a matchless evocation of the Great War's haunting legacy, published in "Penguin Modern Classics". In 1929 Robert Graves went to live abroad permanently, vowing 'never to make England my home again'. This is his superb account of his life up until that 'bitter leave-taking': from his childhood and desperately unhappy school days at Charterhouse, to his time serving as a young officer in the First World War that was to haunt him throughout his life. It also contains memorable encounters with fellow writers and poets, including Siegfried Sassoon and Thomas Hardy, and covers his increasingly unhappy marriage to Nancy Nicholson. "Goodbye to All That", with its vivid, harrowing descriptions of the Western Front, is a classic war document, and also has immense value as one of the most candid self-portraits of an artist ever written. Robert Ranke Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist, and critic. He is best known for the historical novel "I, Claudius" and the critical study of myth and poetry "The White Goddess". His autobiography, "Goodbye to All That", was published in 1929, quickly establishing itself as a modern classic. Graves also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, "The Greek Myths". His translation of "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in "Penguin Classics". If you enjoyed "Goodbye to All That", you might like Ford Madox Ford's "Parade's End", also available in "Penguin Modern Classics". "His wonderful autobiography". (Jeremy Paxman, "Daily Mail").

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About the Author

Robert Ranke Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist, and critic. He is best known for the historical novel I, Claudius and the critical study of myth and poetry The White Goddess.

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First Sentence
As a proof of my readiness to accept autobiographical convention, let me at once record my two earliest memories. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War Is An Easy Target For Satire April 30 2012
By Daffy Bibliophile TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not being at all familiar with the writing of Robert Graves, I felt that his autobiography might be an interesting place to start, and I wasn't wrong. This is a delightful book to read, Graves' writing flows effortlessly even when discussing the obscenities of the First World War. Graves acknowledges that he wrote "Goodbye To All That" in order to make enough money to pay down his debts and leave England for good, which he did. Written in about eight weeks in 1929, this book takes a darkly humourous approach to Graves' experiences in the trenches. Part memoir, part satire, it's a unique look at the cruel absurdity of war in general and the First World War in particular.

Graves starts by discussing his childhood, including time spent in Germany visiting relatives (his mother's side of the family was German) and his time at a public school, Charterhouse. However, the book deals mainly with his experiences on the Western Front. Of upper-class background he enlisted in the British Army a day or two after the declaration of war. He mentions others of his generation: Siegfried Sassoon, T.E. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy (Hardy was of a different generation, but Graves gives an interesting account of their meeting). Of the three, Sassoon was the only personal friend of Graves and served in the same regiment during the war.

"Goodbye To All That" is considered one of the true classics of First World War literature and it easily lives up to its reputation; this edition also contains a prologue and an epilogue both written in 1957.
I recommend it for those interested in the First World War as well as for those who simply enjoy an extremely well-written book. Neither reader will be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye To All That Jan. 28 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A view of WW1 from the "inside". Great reading. The personal involvement of the author gave it a reality that the reader "shared".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars autobiography from the trenchs Sept. 14 2007
By Graves - Published on
Possibley one of the best known autobiographies to be written from the trenchs of the First World war Robert Graves in later years would be a professional writer and in his autobiography he brings all his considerable skill to bear.

Born into privilage in Victorian England he was among the rush of young men who scrambled to enlist when war broke out in 1914. As a young gentleman of a proper education he is accepted as an officer in the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers a unit that produced some of the most proliffic writers of the entire war.

Graves coveres the prejudices of his age. Not just the us vs them of the war, but between classes in England, between officers and enlisted with in his own army, between different regiments in the army and between regulars and volunteers within his own officers' mess. For example when he is first commissioned, his commander is reluctant to send him overseas. He feels Graves is not sporting enough, because Graves did not ask for time off to go hunting.

As the book unveils, the glossy patina of 'joining the grand adventure' wears away in the horrors of the trench and frustrations with senior officers, and Graves takes the reader along with him. You start out shiny and hopeful and end feeling as if you too are caked with grime, not just mud but the blood spilled to no good end.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps still the premiere war memoir in English Sept. 5 2011
By Robert Moore - Published on
GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT is about considerably more than just Graves's experiences in the trenches in WW I, but it is that section of the book that makes this memoir stand apart from most others. That, and the exceptional honesty of the book, which manages to be tell-all without being gossipy. There is also a sense of renunciation; instead of nostalgic longing to recover the past as one find in other memoirs, Graves is anxious to put the past aside for good, to have done with it entirely.
The best parts of the book are those dealing with his dreadful time in school, he time serving in the war, and his various friendships. Some of those friendships sneak up on you. He writes at length of a literature professor at school named George Mallory who profoundly molded his reading and literary sensibilities. He writes for page after page about "George," but it isn't until he begin a chapter with the words, "George Mallory did something better than lend me books: he too me climbing on Snowdon in the school vacation." It wasn't until that moment that I realized that George Mallory the literature instructor was THAT George Mallory, the famous mountain climber who attempted Everest (and perhaps conquered it) "because it is there." George becomes one of Graves's greatest friends, and even serves as best man in his wedding. The other friendship I found fascinating, perhaps because the man himself remains one of the most mystifying characters of the 20th century, was T. E. Lawrence. As Lawrence removed himself from the public eye more and more in the 1920s and 1930s, being in 1920 perhaps one of the most famous individuals in the British Empire, he changed personas from Lawrence of Arabia to Private Shaw, reenlisting in the Army as an auto mechanic. Graves remained a good friend of his throughout the entire period, and wrote one of the first serious biographies of Lawrence. I enjoyed one passage where he is in Lawrence's quarters at (I think) Cambridge, eyeing the manuscript of Lawrence's own war memoirs, what would eventually become THE SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM (Graves would be one of a select few to receive a copy of the first privately printed edition, which remains one of the great published books of the 20th century, with expensively reproduced drawings and illustrations--subsequent editions remove most of the illustrations).

But the heart of the book is the account of his experiences at the front. Although this war produced a disproportionate amount of great literature, I personally believe that the two greatest literary monuments to the Great War (unless one also includes Lawrence's THE SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM) are Graves's memoir and the poetry of Wilfrid Owen. The sections of the book dealing with the war seem to alternate between the startling everyday to the nightmarish. In many sections the mood seems to be straight out of Dante's PURGATORIO, at the worst his INFERNO. But throughout, the story is carried forward by Graves's relentlessly honest pen. Although Graves's wrote an absolutely stunning number of books, in particular the two Claudius novels, this fine volume just might be his greatest work.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic May 30 2013
By Aussie Bruce - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read this many times over the years. A priceless part of the First World War library on why a generation of civilised mankind went off to slaughter each other. All the more readable because of the writing skill of a distinguished author. Then as now young men go off to war for excitement, adventure and escape from the mundane. They stay entrapped in the protracted stinking bloody awfulness because of loyalty to their comrades, not because of lofty ideals sprouted by politicians and the clergy. This book brilliantly illustrates that timeless truism, right down to the sense of the aggrieved victim after their return to the mundane following their traumatic experiences. War memoirs inevitably follow this pattern, with varying degrees of resentment, right up to the conflicts of today.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in the trenches Nov. 25 2012
By Erez Davidi - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Goodbye to All That" is rather well known as one the best first-hand accounts of WWI. It does a remarkable job in telling of the daily life in the trenches, and also succeeds fairly well in conveying the terrible routine in the trenches. Life was not without drama in the trenches. Perhaps the most notable moment was when Graves was left to die, and his family was indeed notified that their son has been killed, even though in the end he managed to recover. It is rather well known that the fighting in the trenches was especially difficult, yet "Goodbye to All That" helps to understand and appreciate what it actually meant. The lion's share of the book concentrates on WWI; however, I found the first part of the book, which chiefly deals with Graves upbringing and the life of the upper class in England in the pre- WWI period, fascinating. This book is often praised for its detailed descriptions of the trenches. However, in my opinion, it is not praised often enough for its vivid picture of life in the upper classes in England.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbeatable July 29 2012
By Adam Roscoe - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A full and frank review of the brutalities of war and the virtual elimination of a generation. We are lucky that Graves survived and continued to write.
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