The 1929 Club – Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves

1929 club

Goodbye to All That cover

I was very happy to see that Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves was published in 1929 so I could read it for The 1929 Club which is co-hosted by Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings and Simon at Stuck in a Book. I’ve been interested in World War 1 since ‘doing’ it at school and luckily Jack has the same interest so we’ve visited some of the locations mentioned in the book, including trenches.

But at the beginning of the book Graves writes about his family history, his childhood and schooldays which were quite miserable, he wasn’t really very likeable to most of his peers it would seem. However, one of his teachers was George Mallory of Everest fame and he did go climbing with him which is definitely a claim to fame, but over the years Graves met up with lots of people who were going to achieve fame of some sort, even in the trenches.

For me it was the wartime parts of the book which were most interesting. Almost as soon as he finished his schooldays at Charterhouse he had decided to enlist, like the rest of them he was scared of missing what was going to be a very short war. Strings were pulled and he joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers at Wrexham, and yes that is the correct spelling of ‘Welsh’ within that regiment. His parents were thrilled to bits, but he started off guarding German prisoners. He was so proud of his regiment despite being quite uncomplimentary about many of the people he met there. At this stage of the war the ‘highheidyins’ seem to have been very lenient with soliders who refused to conform and just had them categorised as ‘unlikely to be of service in His Majesty’s Forces’ and sent them home!

There’s humour but also a lot of the horrors of war and the stupidity of their orders. Given what he was doing eventually it seems amazing that he survived the war at all. I believe that Graves said that some of this memoir is fictional, as you would expect really, but amazingly he did meet up with and make friends of a sort with Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. But eventually fell out with Sassoon, a recurring theme with Robert Graves.

By 1926 and now married he had had enough of Britain and left for Egypt where he settled for a short time, working at a university as a teacher, but his pupils were less than sparkling, his marriage began to fall apart and he moved on again.

This was a good read, really harrowing at times as you would expect but Robert Graves comes across as being a difficult person – as many writers are.

My copy of the book is a Folio edition with endpapers showing a map and inset of Northern France during World War 1.

Perrault’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Edmund Dulac

Folio Perrault's fairy tales

Anbolyn@Gudrun’s Tights has joined in a children’s literature challenge which you can read about here. Really this challenge is right up my street as I love children’s classics, but then again I promised myself that I wouldn’t join in any challenges this year – so I’m not doing it, but I will lurk around the periphery of it, just to see if there are any books which I should have read but haven’t.

Anyway, I had been planning to start a ‘Books from my bookshelves’ series of posts, a sort of – now and again thing, just whenever the urge strikes me – or as we used to say in Scotland – ‘when it comes up my back’ meaning just when I feel like it. Don’t ask me the origins of that strange Scottish phrase!

So, on that note I thought I would share with you one of my lovely Folio books. It’s Perrault’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Edmund Dulac.

The book contains:

The Sleeping Beauty
Little Red Riding Hood
Blue Beard
Puss in Boots
The Fairy
Hop-o’-my Thumb
Beauty and the Beast

The Dulac illustrations are beautiful, as indeed is the whole book. This illustration is captioned AND THERE IN A ROW, HUNG THE BODIES OF SEVEN DEAD WOMEN. Well, fairy tales are all about warning youngsters of the dangerous situations that they might find themselves in if they aren’t careful! If you want to see more of Edmund Dulac’s work have a look here.

Dulac's Blue Beard

You can download Charles Perrault’s Fairy Tales here.