Robert Graves: War’s ultimate victors, the rats

Antiwar literary and philosophical selections

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Robert Graves: A certain cure for lust of blood

Robert Graves: Even its opponents don’t survive war

Robert Graves: Recalling the last war, preparing for the next

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Robert Graves
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)

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The first trenches we went into on arrival were the Cuinchy brick-stacks…

Cuinchy-bread rats. They came up from the canal, fed on the plentiful corpses, and multiplied exceedingly. While I fought here with the Welsh, a new officer joined the Company and, in token of welcome, was given a dug-out containing a spring-bed. When he turned in that night, he heard a scuffling, shone his torch on the bed, and found two rats on his blanket tussling for the possession of a severed hand…

We planned our rushes from shell-hole to shell-hole, the opportunities being provided by artillery or machine-gun fire, which would distract the…

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