Prologue Family Ties



As a young man, Siegfried Sassoon often felt embarrassed when people mistook him for one of the rich and influential Sassoons, whom he was reluctant to admit he did not really know, though the family connection did exist. Recalling these incidents in The Weald of Youth (1942), he comments that he had been “unwilling to confess that I was only a poor relation”, adding that he was proud of the Thornycroft blood from his mother’s side of the family, “and more than that in hereditary characteristics” (WY, 251). But his family connection with the Orient had intrigued him from his earliest youth. In The Old Century (1938) he writes:

Ever since I could remember, I had been remotely aware of a lot of rich Sassoon relations. I had great-uncles galore, whom I had never met, and they all knew the Prince of Wales … Never having received so much as a chuck under the chin from any of these great-uncles, I couldn’t exactly feel proud of them for being so affluent and having entertained the Shah of Persia when he was in England; but I was, as a matter of course, impressed by the relationship, and often wondered what they looked like. (OC, 92)


Family Firm Family Connection Hereditary Characteristic Early Youth Handwritten Manuscript 
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  1. 1.
    Dame Felicitas Corrigan, Siegfried Sassoon: Poets Pilgrimage (London, 1973), p. 17.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Keith Middlemass, Edward Vll (London, 1975), p. 44.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See Stanley Jackson, The Sassoons: Portrait of a Dynasty (London, 1968), pp. 84–88.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    In 1871 her sister Laura became the second wife of Lawrence AlmaTadema (1836–1912), the Dutch-born painter who in the 1880s and 90s achieved popular successes with his imaginary scenes from classical Greece, Rome and ancient Egypt.Google Scholar

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© Paul Moeyes 1997

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