Pack My Bag: A Self-Portrait

Henry Green,

Pack My Bag: A Self-Portrait
 
 

A luminous autobiography by one of England's most original, delightful, writers.

In 1938 Henry Green, then thirty-three, dreaded the coming war and decided to "put down what comes to mind before one is killed." Pack My Bag was published in England in 1940. When he wrote it, Green had already published three of his nine novels and his style"a gathering web of insinuations"was fully developed.

Pack My Bag is a marvelously quirky, clear-eyed memoir: a mother who shot at mangle wurzels (turnips) bowled across the lawn for her by the servants; the stately home packed with wounded World War I soldiers; the miseries of Eton, oddities of Oxford, and work in the family factory—the making of a brilliantly original novelist. "We have inherited the greatest orchestra, the English language, to conduct," Green once wrote. "The means are there; things are going on in life all the time around us." His use of language and his account of things that went on in his life inform this delightful and idiosyncratic autobiography, which begins: "I was born a mouthbreather with a silver spoon."


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