Stephen Tennant and Siegfried Sassoon

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Siegfried Sassoon almost defines minor literary talent. Which isn’t as undistinguished as it might sound. Minor talent hugely exceeds none.

One aspects of the poet and memoirist’s life Max Egremont explores in Siegfried Sassoon : A Life is his relationship with Stephen Tennant. The latter sounds like my kind of guy. But then again, I too, often have had fatally flawed taste in lovers.

It shows on the one hand the passionate attraction between the two (“I ask only to be near him always,” Sassoon once wrote) and on the other the hulking temperamental fractures - Sassoon’s disapproval of Tennant’s flibbertigibbet friends, “Steenie“‘s habitual flightiness - that would eventually drive them apart. In the end, the narcissistic and consumptive Tennant seems to have decided that having “Sieg” on the premises, where he antagonised the nursing staff and barred the door to callers, was making him worse.

Twilight after the trenches

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