Journey's End Paperback
Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series
Hailed by George Bernard Shaw as 'useful [corrective] to the romantic conception of war', R.C.
Sherriff's Journey's End is an unflinching vision of life in the trenches towards the end of the First World War, published in Penguin Classics. Set in the First World War, Journey's End concerns a group of British officers on the front line and opens in a dugout in the trenches in France.
Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed.
Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of Journey's End in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic. R.C. Sherriff (1896-1975) joined the army shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, serving as a captain in the East Surrey regiment.
After the war, an interest in amateur theatricals led him to try his hand at writing.
Following rejection by many theatre managements, Journey's End was given a single performance by the Incorporated Stage Society, in which Lawrence Olivier took the lead role. The play's enormous success enabled Sherriff to become a full-time writer, with plays such as Badger's Green (1930), St Helena (1935), and The Long Sunset (1955); though he is also remembered as a screenplay writer, for films such as The Invisible Man (1933), Goodbye Mr Chips (1933) and The Dam Busters (1955). If you enjoyed Journey's End, you might like Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That, available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Its unrelenting tension, and its regard for human decency in a vast world of human waste, are impressive and, even now, moving' Clive Barnes
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 96 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 26/10/2000
- Category: Plays, playscripts
- ISBN: 9780141183268
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by laurapickle
Set in one of the many depressing dugouts in the trenches of World War I ‘Journey’s End’ is often cited as one of the best anti-war plays, and after finally reading it I understand why. The play allows a brief glance into the experiences of the officers in an Infantry company who must occupy their time on the Front Line just before an attack.Raleigh, a young school leaver fresh out of training, joins his old school friend and hero Stanhope, who has drastically changed after surviving three years in France. The play explores how the officers of the company cope with the strain of dealing with the uncountable horrors they must witness. Camaraderie and escapism seem to help the men to forget but when Raleigh’s school boy naivety is contrasted against his counterparts it is easy to see how the idealistic hopes of a generation were turned to disillusion. Men are taken away ruthlessly with no time to mourn their loss and the scarring effect of the war is seen ever more vividly as each act passes. ‘Journey’s End’ manages to convey the futility of war concisely and creates sympathetic characters who allow us a momentary glimpse into the war and an understanding of how much men, just like them, were forced to endure.
Review by Widsith