Friends and Apostles: The Correspondence of Rupert Brooke and James Strachey, 1905-1914

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The correspondence between the poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) and his friend James Strachey, later the primary English translator of the works of Sigmund Freud, appears in print here for the first time. These rich and varied letters - often irreverent, sometimes humorous, and so profoundly revealing that Brooke's literary executors long resisted their publication - illuminate one of the final pieces of the complex puzzle of Brooke's life. Brooke appears to have written more frequently to Strachey than to anyone other than his mother, and was more candid in this correspondence than in others in which he often assumed a variety of carefully constructed poses. Friends from schooldays, Brooke and Strachey were undergraduates at Cambridge when James fell in love with his handsome, celebrated companion. As well as their shared interest in politics, literature, art and theatre, the letters deal often and explicitly with the subject of homosexuality and with the sometimes scandalous activities of many of their close circle. Brooke and Strachey compare observations of fellow members of the exclusive Cambridge 'Apostles' (which included James's brother Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, E.M. Forster and Bertrand Russell), of mutual Bloomsbury friends (such as 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 Rupert Brooke and his poetry, and reveals the complexities of the man behind the heroic legend that his early death inspired. Keith Hale has a PhD in Modern British Literature from Purdue University and is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Guam. He has published two novels and a volume of travel writing.