Sonnets and Verses

Title-page of one of the few surviving copies of Sassoon’s 'Sonnets and Verses', 1909.

Cambridge University Library will be hosting events relating to Siegfried Sassoon during the course of the exhibition. These will take place in the Morison Room, accessible via the Exhibition Centre. Full details are below.


Bookings for Festival of Ideas events will open on Monday 6 September. Please ring 01223 766766 to request a festival programme.


Thursday 21 October 2010, 17.30–18.30


A War Poet in the Making?: Siegfried Sassoon's Pre-War Writings

Siegfried Sassoon had already published ten books before the Great War began. Alison Hennegan, Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Trinity Hall, explores continuities between his youthful writings and the war poems for which he remains best known. Her talk will be complemented by a special display of Sassoon's early publications.

Admission free, but pre-booking essential: telephone 01223 766766 from Monday 6 September.


Saturday 30 October 2010, 11.00–12.30


Bombshells and Bedbugs

What was life like for a soldier in the Great War? Find out in this interactive workshop led by Robina Hodgson of the Imperial War Museum. Using a historical collection of uniforms, weapons, personal belongings and artwork from the IWM, Robina will describe the day-to-day life of conscript soldiers and officers in the trenches during the Great War. There will be the opportunity to handle artefacts such as uniforms and gas masks, and participants will be encouraged to think about how people record their experiences in letters, diaries and poetry, linking this to the ‘Dream Voices’ exhibition.

For children of 12 years and upwards, with accompanying adults.

Admission free, but pre-booking essential: telephone 01223 766766 from Monday 6 September.



Tuesday 9 November 2010, 17.30–18.30


Who Chooses the War Poets?

The War Poets of the Great War are today a group more readily identified than the Imagists or even the Georgians, to whose ranks several of them were conscripted ('I am held peer by the Georgians!' announced Wilfred Owen).  How did Owen, Sassoon, Blunden, Rosenberg and Graves come to be so quickly accepted as the representative voices of their generation? What part have anthologies and their editors played in this process? And now, after two decades in which concerted efforts have been made to broaden the range of war poets and the definition of war poetry, what impact might the newly acquired Sassoon archive have on public understanding of war poetry, almost a century after the Great War?

Friends of Cambridge University Library £2.50, others £3.50 (junior members of Cambridge University: Free)

There is no pre-booking for this event, but parties of six or more are requested to notify the Secretary of the Friends in advance: