"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
For more information about the books of Nicholas Murray
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Rupert Brooke And Other Matters

A blogless two weeks comes to an end as I return from 13 days drifting lazily through the Greek islands. I started at Skyros where Rupert Brooke ("some corner of a foreign field/That is for ever England") is buried in a solid marble tomb set in a local olive grove some distance from the shore but well known to the local (highly-priced) taxi drivers like Manolis who paces up and down having a fag while we pay our homage.  Brooke's heroic patriotic stuff was written in the first phase of the Great War when this was what was wanted from the poets pre-Somme but actually he did not die like some Arthurian knight in the lust of battle (yes, my holiday reading included Malory's Morte d'Arthur) but from blood-poisoning from an insect bite on 23rd April 1915 the night before his fellow sailors left the island for the Dardanelles and the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.  The bronze statue seen here of an "ideal poet" absurdly romanticises Brooke and it was interesting to discover that when it was unveiled in 1931 some of the locals were unhappy about its anatomical specificity.

A Note on Twitter
I have dabbled in Twitter but returning to a thicket of tweets and chirps I realise that this is something I can no longer sustain if my brain is to be kept in one piece so I am retiring from the battlefield.

1 comment:

Andrew Kenneally said...

Though it might appear harsh, do figures like Brooke deserve to be treated at all reverentially for their acquiescing all but enthusiastically in the insane slaughter-fest of WW1, even if Brooke's death had been more boys' own than malarial. If such shining lights of the mental firmament agreed to become murderers of unknown other young men for no good reason, then what chance had those less advanced members of the race of discerning truth from falseness? The fruits of idolatry.