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Goodbye to All That (Twentieth Century Classics) [Paperback]

Robert Graves
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Goodbye to All That (Penguin Modern Classics) Goodbye to All That (Penguin Modern Classics) 4.4 out of 5 stars (58)
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Book Description

22 Feb 1990 Twentieth Century Classics
Thus begins Robert Graves' classic 1929 autobiography with its searing account of life in the trenches of the First World War; and yet this opening passage, together with much significant material, has been unavailable since 1957, when a middle-aged Graves totally revised his text,robbing it of the painfully raw edge that had helped to make it an international bestseller. By 1957 major changes in his private life had taken place. Graves was no longer living with Laura Riding, under whose influence and in whose honor the original had been written. By cutting outall references to Riding, by deleting passages which revealed the mental strains under which hehad labored, and by meticulously editing the entire text, Graves destroyed most of what he hadmade so powerful but also removed from it the only context in which it could be fully understood. We are pleased to offer the original 1929 edition on the occasion of Graves 100th anniversary, edited and annotated by Robert Graves's nephew and biographer, whose lucid introduction greatly enhances its value. Richard Perceval Graves lives in Shrewsbury, Britain, and has published Robert Graves: TheAssault Heroic 1895-1926 (1986). His most recent publication is Richard Hughes (1994) another book on his uncle, Robert Graves and the White Goddess, is scheduled for 1995.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (22 Feb 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140180982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140180985
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Graves was born in 1895 in Wimbledon, the son of Irish writer Perceval Graves and Amalia Von Ranke. He went from school to the First World War, where he became a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. After this, apart from a year as Professor of English Literature at Cairo University in 1926, he earned his living by writing, mostly historical novels, including: I, Claudius; Claudius the God; Count Belisarius; Wife of Mr Milton; Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth; Proceed, Sergeant Lamb; The Golden Fleece; They Hanged My Saintly Billy; and The Isles of Unwisdom. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That, in 1929, and it was soon established as a modern classic. The Times Literary Supplement acclaimed it as 'one of the most candid self portraits of a poet, warts and all, ever painted', as well as being of exceptional value as a war document. Two of his most discussed non-fiction works are The White Goddess, which presents a new view of the poetic impulse, and The Nazarine Gospel Restored (with Joshua Podro), a re-examination of primitive Christianity. He 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 Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1961 and made an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, in 1971.

Robert Graves died on 7 December 1985 in Majorca, his home since 1929. On his death The Times wrote of him, 'He will be remembered for his achievements as a prose stylist, historical novelist and memorist, but above all as the great paradigm of the dedicated poet, "the greatest love poet in English since Donne".'

(Image courtesy of The William Graves Collection.)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Robert Graves' superb autobiography tells the story of his life at public school and as a young officer during the First World War.

'From the moment of its first appearance an established classic' --John Wain in the Observer

'It is a permanently valuable work of literary art, and indispensable for the historian either of the First World War or of modern English poetry... Apart, however, from its exceptional value as a war document, this book has also the interest of being one of the most candid self- portraits of a poet, warts and all, ever painted. The sketches of friends of Mr Graves, like T. E. Lawrence, are beautifully vivid' --The Times Literary Supplement

'One of the classic accounts of the Western Front. . . In it the veteran survivors recognised their own war' – The Times

For more titles in the Penguin Classics range, visit Amazon.co.uk's Penguin Classics Bookstore.


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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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! 30 Aug 2008
Format:Paperback
GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT is the autobiography of the 34 year old Robert Graves, who, at this book's 1929 publication, was a former army captain who served with distinction in The Great War, an emerging poet, and a father, separated from his wife, with four young children. As a Yank, I'm not quite sure where Graves fit in the English class system of his day. But his family was distinguished and comfortable and Graves endured the bullying at Charterhouse, a prominent English public school.

Certainly, the two great themes of GBTAT are life in the British army in World War I and the friendships of Graves, the poet. For anyone with special interests in the war, I recommend Chapter 15, where he describes his participation in the disastrous Battle of Loos, a poorly planned and executed debacle where many senior officers showed haughty indifference to the plight of the common soldier. Those interested in the lives of poets might read Chapter 28, where Graves describes the many poets living in his midst at Oxford in 1919. Meanwhile, Chapter 29 offers profiles of T.E. Lawrence, his friend, and Thomas Hardy, who Graves visits while biking with his wife.

Graves's style in GBTAT is fabulous. This style is very efficient--he never lingers--yet also slightly discursive. This has the effect of building a rich texture around the distinctive theme of each chapter. In Chapter 9, for example, Graves describes his experiences as a rock climber. Here, his subject is the techniques and dangers of this sport, as well as its sometimes eccentric practitioners. But, he also works in a story about George Mallory, a mountaineer who died on Mount Everest, who was a friend and teacher at Charterhouse.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye! 23 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An outstanding recollection of life during the Great War. It is so helpful for those who wish to attempt to think constructively about 'the war to end all wars', to read about how those involved at the time felt and thought. We have heard so much from those who would characterize all involved as deluded. It is good to be reminded of the real challenges the army faced and the camerarderie felt towards those they served with.

A first class read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jeremy Bevan TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Anyone who's studied the First World War will know that it was characterised throughout by folly and incompetence. But there is really nothing quite like an account written by someone who was actually there to bring those sad truths home in all their awful clarity. The writer Richard Graves, an officer for much of the war with the Royal Welch [sic] Fusiliers, tells it with a startling mixture of passion - both anger and great affection - and cool detachment. This was, perhaps, an essential survival mechanism for one in whom the mental scars of the conflict remained raw and unhealed for years afterwards. It would be hard to credit that the British army would mount a gas attack on German lines without checking which way the wind was blowing first - if it wasn't for the fact that Graves reports it; or to believe the petty spite, snobbery and classism the riddled the upper echelons of the officer class - if it were not there, in black and white. But Graves is unsparing, of himself as much as others. Recording his friend Siegfried Sassoon's protests against the war, he observes: `We decided that it was no use making a protest against the war. Every one was mad; we were hardly sane ourselves' (207).

This is more than just an account of the war of course, though Graves' telling of his part in it occupies the majority of the book. In many ways, his account of his early life at home and at (public) school, with its classism (`But now I realised that the servants were the lower classes, and that we were ourselves' (18)) and bullying prefigure what is to come in the trenches. To that extent, it's a very well-constructed book.

However, I felt it tailed off into something rather inconsequential once the war had ended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good value good condition 14 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good value good condition
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remembering the start of the WW1 13 July 2014
Format:Hardcover
A great read.
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