Rupert Brooke

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Rupert Chawner Brooke (middle name sometimes given as Chaucer)[1] (3 August 1887 – 23 April 1915[2]) was an English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War (especially The Soldier). He was also known for his boyish good looks, which prompted the Irish poet William Butler Yeats to describe him as "the handsomest young man in England".


Early life and education

Brooke was born at 5 Hillmorton Road in Rugby, Warwickshire,[3] the second of the three sons of William Parker Brooke, a Rugby schoolmaster, and Ruth Mary Brooke, née Cotterill. He was educated at two independent schools in the market town of Rugby, Warwickshire; Hillbrow School and Rugby School.

While travelling in Europe he prepared a thesis entitled "John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama", which won him a scholarship to King's College, Cambridge where he became a member of the Cambridge Apostles, helped found the Marlowe Society drama club and acted in plays including the Cambridge Greek Play.

Life and career

Brooke made friends among the Bloomsbury group of writers, some of whom admired his talent while others were more impressed by his good looks. Virginia Woolf boasted to Vita Sackville-West of once going skinny-dipping with Brooke in a moonlit pool when they were at Cambridge together.[4]

Brooke belonged to another literary group known as the Georgian Poets and was one of the most important of the Dymock poets, associated with the Gloucestershire village of Dymock where he spent some time before the war. He also lived in the Old Vicarage, Grantchester (a house now occupied by Cambridge chemist Mary Archer and her husband, the novelist Jeffrey Archer).

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