In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

LETTERS IN CANADA: 1948 287 which Dr. A. Vibert Douglas has reviewed, on the general field of rnathe~ rnatics and physics, have been separated: one will be found among the biographies, the other in the final sub-section. G. V. Ferguson's john W. Dafoe which might have been considered with the other biographies has been included in Section IV with books on the social sciences. Three other works are not mentioned because they are to be reviewed in a later number of the Quarterly: The Philosophy of Francis Bacon by Fulton H. Ander~ son, Matthew Arnold: A Study in Conflict by E. K. Brown, and Booker T. Washington by Basil Mathews. 1. Biography and Autobiography THE EDITOR In the first chapter of Red Wine of Youth: A Life of Rupert Brooke) Arthur Stringer tells us that this biography was to have been by the late Richard Halliburton, author of The Royal Road to Romance) who began to gather information as ·early as 1927 for the book which was not yet written when he was lost in the Pacific in 1939. ]\1r. Stringer has now brought the work to completion in his own way. This is a popular, not an academic, biography, but there is much less of the "romance" of youth, love, and travel than we could have expected from Halliburton, and none of the voluble egotism. Mr. Stringer keeps out of the story entirely though his habit of referring to his subject as "Rupere' and of being equally informal with most of the poet's friends does suggest that the author thinks of himself as an unnoticed member of the circle. The biographical narrative takes us from Brooke's earliest years at Rugby, where his father was a housemaster , to Cambridge, London, and the company of the Georgian poets, then across Canada on the journey to the South Seas, and back (via the United States) to the England of 1914, military service at Antwerp and in the Near East, and death in April, 1915, in the poet's twenty-eighth year. Brooke appears to better advantage in the months of war than in the years of peace. His frequently recurring moods of boredom, restlessness, and vague malaise before 1914 can become tiresome to the reader. He sighed for Grantchester when he was in Berlin, and for anywhere else when he was in Grantchester. But the war gave him a new purpose and happiness, and the "1914" sonnets brought him immediate fame. He was no longer just another minor poet, but the voice of self-dedicated youth. He was entertained at 10 Downing Street; he was quoted from the pulpit of St. Paul's; and later when he, a very junior officer of the Gallipoli force, was ill at Port Said, even the commander-in-chief came to visit him solicitously. His death was lamented as a national loss. He was added to the company of "the inheritors of unfulfilled renown." But since 1915 his name has been slowly fading. Although Mr. Stringer recounts the life-story sympathetically and fairly completely (the love-affairs are treated with a positively Victorian vagueness or reticence), he does not help us much with the questions which the reader in 1949 may be inclined to ask. What were 288 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY Brooke's ideas on life and the poet's art as they appear outside the poems? Where does he belong in literary history? Is he just another late romantic, a minor descendant of Byron? In what general direction was his poetry tending? Does his interest in Donne and Webster give us reason to believe that he would have become another neo~metaphysical if he had lived into the next decade which saw the arrival of Eliot? These are some of the questions which one would hope to find discussed in a biography of Brooke. Leopold Weld's Whom the Gods Love: The Story of Evariste Galois is likewise the record of brilliant youth and early death. Dr. A. Vibert Douglas has contributed the following review. "This book could only have been written by a man who is himself a mathematician, knowing by experience the intense intellectual, indeed spiritual, joy...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 287-291
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.