Brooke, Rupert. title page. 1914 & Other Poems. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1915.World War I1915
Although Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) died before ever seeing battle, he was renowned for his war sonnets. W.B. Yeats noted that Brooke was “handsomest young man of England,” a fact that may account for some of his fame. Educated at Cambridge, he became a thespian, scholar, and soldier. Brooke, commissioned in the Royal Navy, never got to see battle. He died in 1915 at sea from sepsis. An eerie photograph portrait of the author’s profile, dated 1913, appears opposite the title page in this edition. Following the title page with publisher information and the typical copyright statement, we encounter a brief biographical note listing Brooke’s education and war time experience. His five war sonnets, titled “1914,” became notable for their romantic and patriotic view of the war.
As a young man, Brooke wrote poems and published in anthologies and periodicals; his first volume of poetry, simply titled Poems, appeared in 1911 and (according to a note printed in this edition of 1914 and Other Poems) was reprinted in 1913 and twice in 1915. The contents of this volume are separated into sections beginning with the war sonnets titled “1914” followed by “The South Seas” and finally “Other Poems.” The last page of the book lists where the book was printed and contains a small slip that is taped to the back page, which was to be affixed to the spine of the book. An original slip is glued on the spine with the title of the collection and the author’s name and the publisher with a red border. Although this book is technically a first edition, the presence of two slips suggests it may be a stereotype printing of a later impression of the first edition. The collection’s pages are roughly cut and housed inside a hard blue cover.