Synopses & Reviews
The correspondence between the English poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) and his friend James Strachey, later the primary English translator of the works of Sigmund Freud, here appears in print for the first time. These rich and varied letters--often irreverent, sometimes humorous, and so disturbingly honest that Brookes literary executors long opposed their publication--illuminate one of the last pieces of the complex puzzle of Brookes life. It is an important piece, for Brooke wrote more frequently to Strachey than to anyone other than his mother. And he was more candid with Strachey than in letters to others, in which he often assumed a variety of carefully constructed poses.
Friends from boyhood, Brooke and Strachey were at Cambridge when James fell in love with his handsome, charming schoolmate. As well as their shared interest in politics, literature, art, and theater, the letters deal often and explicitly with the subject of homosexuality, and also with the sometimes scandalous activities of many in their close circle. Brooke and Strachey compare observations of fellow members of the exclusive Cambridge group known as "the Apostles" (which included Jamess brother Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster, and Bertrand Russell, among others), of mutual friends in Bloomsbury (including Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and George Mallory), and of such fellow Fabian Socialists as Hugh Dalton and Beatrice Webb. The correspondence provides important new biographical, psychological, and cultural insights into Brooke and his poetry, and it reveals the complexities of the real man behind the heroic legend that his early death inspired.