Letters from Mark Sykes to his wife Edith

Scope and Content

These letters, dated from 1901, continue Mark's experiences of war. During these letters, he became more engaged in army life, and was instrumental in designing and building fortifications for the defence of various posts in South Africa. He also saw some more direct action, which was vividly described in his letters. These letters express a growing contempt for British government and society, as well as for the Army as the war continued without cause or purpose, and leadership proved incompetent and contradictory. The general despondency and disillusion of the men is also expressed. These letters see a number of references to literature, in particular his opinion that 18th century literature, and Parliament were more honest and good than its equivalent in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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