'More About Amusement': An unrecorded and unpublished four-page manuscript
No Place. No Publisher. No date..
Four pages, 4to. Signed at top of first and at the end. The piece features a series of observations on the relationship between pleasure and work. Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell was born in 1892, the second child and first son of Sir George and Lady Ida Sitwell. Educated at Eton from 1905-1910, Sitwell expected to attend Oxford; however, his father sent him to prepare for entrance to military college. When Sitwell failed the entrance exams, his father arranged a commission for him in the Sherwood Rangers. After a year at Aldershot, Sitwell suffered a nervous breakdown and received a transfer to the Grenadier Guards stationed in London. While in London, Sitwell began socializing with an elite group that included Margot Asquith, Mrs. George Keppel and her daughter Violet (to whom Sitwell was briefly engaged) and Lady Sackville. At the outbreak of World War I he was posted to Flanders. Left unfit for active service by an injury, Sitwell returned to England where he began publishing anti-war satires and in 1923 he produced his sister's performance of Façade. In 1926 Sitwell made the first of many trips to the United States after which he visited the Italian Riviera, North Africa, and the Orient. From 1933 until the start of World War II, Sitwell contributed a weekly article to the Sunday Referee, a collection of these essays appeared in 1935 as Penny Foolish. "The whole essence of amusement lies in the change it provides from work. If, on the contrary, you are over given to pleasure, work becomes the amusement. Many people suffer from too much pleasure-chasing. Yet this states of affairs, objectionable as it may be to the puritans, offers certain advantages to the nation. It makes people work hard...when they work at all; it accounts for the doctrine of the nobility of labour; it was responsible for the popularity of the 'Late Great' War - and of the General Strike, too - with a large section of the community who, during these periods, worked for the first time in their lives, worked with zest , and found it most stimulating...at any rate for a little. Everybody, most especially the pleasure seeker, likes to feel he is useful, can 'do his bit', and would be missed should anything happen to him. And, to those not used to it, there is something dignified, attractive even, in finding themselves in a position where they find it necessary to 'keep a stiff upper-lip' and 'see it through' and all the rest of it. Alas! the chief reason of the popularity of the war, and the hold it has on the world, is the temporary and emotional escape it offers to those who lead lives that are stunted for too much work and not enough pleasure, or for too much pleasure and not enough work...The truth is that all organised pleasures are becoming dreary. The pleasure-seekers know that all is not well with them, but dare not ask themselves the reason. "See Ruritania from an arm-chair" we notice advertised and placarded up everywhere...But the whole point of travelling is to get out of your beastly old arm-chair, which you are so tired of, and to throw away your crutches, mental as much as physical, and walk. Thus, as pleasure, more and more organised, becomes increasingly dreary and stereotyped, before long, surely, a re-action will set in, and we may expect, instead of the present one, to read and advertisement of this sort "Do you need rest and recreation? See Ruritania under our auspices with every possible circumstance of discomfort and danger. Floods, fires and brigands guaranteed"? A crusade, without doubt, should be started for the derationalisation of pleasure. It must once more be imbued with vitality. Gradually it might even be possible to substitute intelligent entertainments for the stupid ones to which the habitual pleasure-addicts have become accustomed, and without their noticing it or being aware of any feeling of unease". Very good, some staining due to rusty paperclip, paper remnants to the first page, folding marks, some handling wear overall.