NABOKV-L post 0004875, Thu, 9 Mar 2000 16:09:26 -0800

VN & Rupert Brooke (fwd)
From: Galya Diment <>

Thought this may be of some interest to the list given Nabokov's
admiration for Brooke, who was an inspiration for one of VN's earliest
essays and translations. For an excellent analysis of Brooke in VN's life
and art, see D. Barton Johnson's article in Julian Connolly's recent "New
Perspectives" volume on Nabokov. GD

March 9, 2000

Poet Brooke Depicted as Cruel Lover

By The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- Rupert Brooke, whose World War I poetry made
him a literary hero, was in private life a cruel lover, according to a
woman whose memoir was made public Thursday by The British Library.

The handsome and well-born poet, one of the gilded youth of
the Edwardian era, wrote of an idyllic prewar England of village greens
and hedgerows.

But he achieved a kind of poetic immortality with the
wartime sonnet ``The Soldier'' and its lines, ``If I should die, think
only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field that is for
ever England.''

It was published in 1915, the same year Brooke died, aged
27, of blood poisoning while serving in the navy.

Although his homosexual relationships were long known,
Brooke's liaisons with women have more recently been revealed.

The memoir released Thursday by The British Library was
written by art student Phyllis Gardner a few years after Brooke's death.
The document was accompanied by about 50 love letters from the poet
charting an 18-month affair.

The memoir and letters were in a sealed parcel deposited
with the library in 1948 by Gardner's sister, with the provision it not be
opened for 50 years. The library's complex move into new headquarters
delayed the opening of the parcel.

The 90-page memoir says Brooke tortured Gardner emotionally
by flirting with other women, and threatened her with physical violence.

``After treating her so badly he eventually dumped her
unceremoniously for another woman who had taken his eye,'' library
spokesman Greg Hayman said.

``After his death she had flashes of him standing in the
middle of her room, and she had difficulty separating the vision from
reality,'' Hayman said. ``It agonized her greatly and she nearly went

The memoir describes the lovers swimming naked in the river
Cam, near Brooke's home at Grantchester, about a mile west of Cambridge.

Previously the only references to correspondence between
Brooke and Phyllis Gardner were in the ``Collected Letters of Rupert
Brooke'' by Sir Geoffrey Keynes, in which she was described merely as a

Brooke's letters to his lover include the poem ``Beauty and
Beauty,'' which was written for her but was later published.