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famous and idolised poet of the First World War - a brief introduction


Portrait of Rupert Brooke



Almost all who met Rupert Brooke fell under the power of his charismatic personality, and his spell lasts to the present day. In spite of all the well deserved adverse criticism of his famous war sonnets he still has many admirers. There are two recent biographies of him. One came out in 1997 (by Mike Read); Rupert Brooke: Life, Death and Myth by Nigel Jones was published in October 1999 (320 pages, hardback, Richard Cohen Books), and a film about him is due out soon. The Rupert Brooke Society was launched on August 24th 1999. (Contact Susan Moore on 01223 845 788 or fax 01223 845 862. email

Brooke's importance as a poet lies partly in the extraordinary success he enjoyed as a spokesman for popular attitudes and beliefs in the opening months of the First World War. The selfless heroic gesture which he expressed in such beautiful and modest terms is still very appealing. Sadly, his verse should not be taken at face value; the heroism was a mask that hid the tragedy of his life.

For a brief account of his life see the extract from Minds at War. There is more in Minds at War about Brooke, (about 16 pages) including all his war sonnets,  his contrastingly sober last poem, Soon to Die, and many extracts from letters which are revealing about the state of his mind in the last months of his life. Both Out in the Dark and Minds at War carry information about how Brooke was posthumously made into a hero by the establishment.


Rupert Brooke - Rise to fame as a war poet

Rupert Brooke - Reaction to war

Rupert Brooke's war sonnet Peace (with notes)

Brief life of Rupert Brooke (from Minds at War)

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Copyright © 1999 David Roberts, Saxon Books. 
Portrait Copyright © 1999 Saxon Books and James Mitchell. Portrait based on the photograph by Scherril Schell. All rights reserved.