The Long Week-End, 1897-1919: Part of a Life

The Long Week-End, 1897-1919: Part of a Life

Wilfred R. Bion

Language: English

Pages: 287

ISBN: 095078950X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A reminiscence of the first twenty-one years of Wilfred Bion's life: eight years of childhood in India, ten years at public school in England, and three years of life in the army.

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It was with sinking feelings that I was awoken by someone stumbling clumsily amidst our tent guide-ropes. I felt sure he was looking for the opening flap; I felt sure it would mean that he was looking for me. After a time he gave up looking and started to shout. “Is Captain Bion here please?” I pulled my blankets over my head and for a second or two pretended not to hear. Of course nobody wanted an officer in the middle of the night for any pleasant reason. Again he shouted, more urgently. At

anyone catching Heaton anywhere; he was too wary an old bird, however downy. “What do they do?” “Oh, pray and that sort of thing.” “I saw the Prices coming out.” The Prices were Sixth Formers, very good athletes. “What do they do there?” “Nay; you ask them.” This was one way of calling me a chump, so I shut up. If it had been a pig being slaughtered Heaton would not have blushed at being questioned; some things a respectable god would know. But the Prayer Meeting belonged to a different

being called—” “What did he say Dad?” “He wants us to come to dinner.” It was a struggle, but he abandoned the Devil to tell me that I was to go with them so he could introduce me to his old friend. Dark suit—but no school cap, I thought. 3 MAHOGANY, silver candlesticks, two maids and plenty of white starch. The conversation was uneasy; I could not believe it would be anything else with me about. My father was trying to ask me something—I imagine it would be by way of getting me to

immensely relieved. “Did you say from the 51st Division sir?” “Yes, entirely their idea. My recommendation has not gone through to HQ. So it can go in ‘for Military Cross read Victoria Cross’”, he said with heavy playfulness. I could not think of any suitable reply, so I saluted and went to digest this turn in my fortunes. In fact I did very little digesting; the recommendation was so utterly unlike the experience I would have expected had I been told two months earlier that I should receive

staring at no-man’s land—the crater edge, the slow rise to the crest of the ridge, the grey mud so similar in all but colour to Hill 40, inspired a state which was not nightmare, not waking, not sleep. It was an animal existence in which the eyes held sway. One did not think; one did not look; one stared. What we felt reminds me of a young child who had been sexually assaulted by the Germans in their last days of power in a village near Lille. She had been cutting some meat off a dead mule by the

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