Good-Bye to All That Critical Context - Essay

Robert Graves

Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Most obviously Graves’s Goodbye to All That belongs with that distinguished body of writing, both poetry and prose, which emerged from the maelstrom of the Great War. Siegfried Sassoon published his thinly disguised fictional account of his wartime experiences, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man and Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, in 1928 and 1930, followed by Sherston’s Progress in 1936; the three volumes were later collected and entitled The Memoirs of George Sherston (1937). Edmund Charles Blunden published Undertones of War in 1928 and on the German side, Erich Maria Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front, 1929) appeared in 1929. Graves also wrote poetry on his war experiences, although it was perhaps not as memorable as that of his fellow English writers, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, and Isaac Rosenberg. All, with the exception of Brooke, left to posterity a horrific picture of twentieth century war.

Goodbye to All That can also be seen as a continuation of other literary themes and movements. Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War (1895), a naturalistic account, is in some ways a predecessor of Graves’s work, and the subject of war as literature can be traced at least as far back as the work of the Greek historian Herodotus. Some critics have argued that Graves is also in the romantic...

(The entire section is 491 words.)