Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)
ph_0111201665-Brooke.jpg Rupert Brooke Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Rupert Brooke’s lasting work is to be found exclusively in his poetry, but his work in several other literary forms at least deserves mention. Brooke was attracted to the theater, and two of his works, one as a critic and one as an artist, reflect this interest. John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama (1916) was written as his fellowship dissertation and later published; although much criticized for its lack of scholarly decorum, it reveals a lively style and an author fascinated with the remarkable developments in Elizabethan theater. His only play, a one-act tragedy titled Lithuania (pb. 1935), can be read with some satisfaction despite its bizarre plot and uncertain tone. As always with Brooke, his skill with language helps camouflage his errors and excesses. As a journalist, Brooke mixed with strong effect the lyricism of a poet with the enthusiastic observations of an excited traveler, most prominently in a series of articles that described his tour of the United States, Canada, and the South Seas, written for the Westminster Gazette. In these delightful pieces, he adeptly and wittily penetrates such subjects as the American personality, a baseball game at Harvard, and the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. These display British wonder, sometimes dismay, at the “new world” but always stop short of tasteless condescension. Finally, Brooke was a masterful and enthusiastic correspondent; his letters contain enchanting representations of matters both personal and universal as he comments on a variety of subjects.