Goodbye to All That Essay

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In the following essay, Fussell examines human caricature in Good-Bye to All That, asserting that "ninety percent of the characters" are "knaves" or ' fools."

Of all memoirs of the war, the "stagiest" is Robert Graves's Good-bye to All That, published first in 1929 but extensively rewritten for its reissue in 1957. Like James Boswell, who wrote in his journal (October 12, 1780), "I told Erskine I was to write Dr. Johnson's life in scenes," Graves might have said in 1929 that it was "in scenes" that he was going to write of the front-line war. And working up his memories into a mode of theater, Graves eschewed tragedy and melodrama in favor of farce and comedy, as if anticipating Friedrich Dürrenmatt's observation of 1954 that "comedy alone is suitable for us," because "tragedy presupposes guilt, despair, moderation, lucidity, vision, a sense of responsibility," none of which we have got:

In the...

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This section contains 7,444 words
(approx. 19 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Goodbye to All That Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
Goodbye to All That from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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