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Pack My Bag: A Self Portrait [Paperback]

Henry Green , Sebastian Yorke


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Book Description

12 May 2004
This autobiography of Henry Yorke (nom de plume Henry Green) was written at the outbreak of World War II, in the belief that he would not survive the war years. Yorke was at that time the author of the novels "Blindness", "Living" and "Party Going", and he was, to his self-confessed surprise, to survive the war and complete a further half-dozen novels, including the acclaimed "Loving". His last book, "Doting", was published in 1952. Henry Yorke was brought up in a large country house near Tewkesbury Abbey, and was subsequently educated at Eton and Oxford. At Eton he wrote his first novel, and while at Oxford it was published, causing a minor stir among his fellow students. Friends of that period included Anthony Powell, Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton and others. This volume, which describes the early years, concentrates on the peculiar impressions of being at Oxford, the Hunt Balls, the libraries, the parties, the dons, the flappers, the solitary afternoon drinking or idle visits to the cinema.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; New edition edition (12 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811215725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811215725
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,097,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
I WAS born a mouthbreather with a silver spoon in 1905, three years after one war and nine before another, too late for both. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adoring 26 Jun 2004
By College Professor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A paraphrase of this memoir would give the sense that 'Henry Green' was a typical British writer of the 1930s: a superposh old Etonian who precociously published his first novel at Oxford, and was driven by class guilt to work as a foundryman. Or, in his words, 'as was said in those days I had a complex and in the end it drove me to go to work in a factory with my wet podgy hands'. The prose style is what makes this book an absolute one-off - chatty, cleverly idiomatic, bathetic, loveable and self-effacing. 'Pack my Bag' isn't a book you'd read for the plot (unless you're interested in the faux-hardships of wealthy, hypersensitive schoolboys?), but its account of the Great War is full of compelling anecdotes (like the shellshocked soldier who stayed at the country estate of Green's parents - 'no longer human when he came to us'). If you like these subtle-ish modernist writers like Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth Bowen you might fall for Green, as sophisticated a stylist as any of the big modernist names (Woolf, Lawrence etc), but with an intimacy and sweetness that you don't necessarily associate with experimental writing. And he's funny, too. No wonder the people who love Henry Green really, really love Henry Green.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh 28 July 2011
By Debra Monroe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a Henry Green completist. I am wild about his novels. So I expected to like this, and I'm enough of an egghead not to bore easily. I also love history and biography and autobiography. But it's not at all compelling. He wrote it because he assumed he'd die in the war. He didn't die in the war. The most interesting part of his life and his most mature observations were yet to come. He hadn't really lived yet. This book is full of typically adolescent introspection: all molehills, no mountains.
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