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Literature / Goodbye To All That

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Goodbye To All That (originally rendered Good-Bye To All That) is Robert Graves' 1929 autobiographical novel, which primarily details his experience as an officer in the British army during the First World War.

This work contains examples of:

  • Badass Bookworm: Fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon is described as routinely performing acts of almost suicidal daring, such as single-handedly clearing a German sniper's den (after which he proceeds to sit down in the abandoned enemy trench and take out a book of poems). He earns the nickname "Mad Jack" among his comrades.
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  • The Captain: By 1916, Robert Graves himself.
  • Combat Medic: Doctor J. C. Dunn, the Regimental Medical Officer of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, is also a veteran of the Boer War, and so when a shell takes out a group of commanding officers in 1917, he doesn't hesitate to take temporary command of the soldiers himself.
  • Friendly Enemy: The British and Germans shout friendly banter at each other across no-man's land, and in between fighting use their machine-guns to rap out the melodies of songs together. After an unsuccessful assault by the British, the Germans also allow their enemies ample time to collect their dead and wounded, and fire off warning shots to let them know their time is up. Graves reports that ill-will towards the Germans themselves is virtually non-existent in his battallion.
  • My Nayme Is: The Royal Welch Fusiliers are resolutely attached to their idiosyncratic spelling of the demonym of Wales. Because tradition.
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  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Graves is wounded severely in the Battle of Somme. Military authorities report to his family that he died of his wounds, and his death is announced in The Times. However, he survives, and sends a letter to The Times informing them that he isn't dead.
  • Warrior Poet: Siegfried Sassoon, and Graves himself.
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