Likened to James Joyce and Franz Kafka, W.N.P. Barbellion's Journal is one of the great diaries and caused a sensation when first published in 1919. Begun when its author was 13 years old, the Journal at first catalogues his misadventures in the Devon countryside – collecting birds' eggs, spying girls through binoculars – but evolves into a deeply moving account of his struggle with multiple sclerosis.
Yet, for all its excruciating honesty, W.N.P. Barbellion has an extraordinary lust for life. As Zeppelins loomed above South Kensington, the humour and beauty he found in the world around him – in music, friendship, nature and love – deepens not just the tragedy of his own life, but the millions of lives lost during the First World War.
"Funny and sad, brilliant and caustic, misanthropic and wretched"
– Tim Dee
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