Rupert Brooke Contribution to Poetry

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      Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), though his war poetry is small in bulk, Brooke is usually considered typical of the early group of war poets, perhaps because his sonnet, "If I should die, think only this of me," has appeared in so many anthologies of twentieth century verse. Educated at Rugby and Cambridge, Brooke began to write poetry while still at the University. In 1911 he settled at Grant Chester, the village near Cambridge which he was to immortalize in "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester," and then during 1913-1914 he travelled in America and the South Seas. He joined the Army in 1914, and in the following year died on active service at Scyros, in the Mediterranean.

Brooke's poetry is essentially that of a young, cultured man of leisure. His earliest work betrays something of the affected cynicism of the decadence but, after a brief and not very successful excursion into the fields of cruder realism, he turned to nature and simple pleasures as his chief inspirations.
Rupert Brooke

      Brooke's poetry is essentially that of a young, cultured man of leisure. His earliest work betrays something of the affected cynicism of the decadence but, after a brief and not very successful excursion into the fields of cruder realism, he turned to nature and simple pleasures as his chief inspirations. On these and themes of similar simplicity, Brooke wrote with a youthful, healthy joy in life, a subtlety of observation, and an appreciation of natural beauty, which found for his work a ready place in Georgian Poetry.

      Like Davies, however, Brooke seldom delved below external appearances, and the thought underlying his work usually lacks depth and originality. The ease and limpid simplicity of his verse, partly the result of considerable metrical skill, are eminently suited to his subjects. A reputation (partly deserved, but probably exaggerated) for sentimentality, and the reaction against his attitude to war have resulted in a sharp decline in his once great popularity; but his faults were largely those of youth, and his qualities suggest that he had considerable potentialities.

      His poetry was published in Poems (1911); 1914 and other Poems (1915); and Collected Poems (1918). His one critical work, John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama (1916), indicates a real appreciation of the dramatist and his period. Letters from America (1916) is his other prose work.

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