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The literature of the First World War

Special Collections’ current exhibit, The Great War: A Centennial Remembrance, features some of the novels and poetry produced during and after the First World War. This month marks the centennial of the war’s first famous collections of poetry, Rupert Brooke’s 1914 & Other Poems.

rupert brooke portraitBrooke wrote the sonnets of 1914 in December of that year while serving in the Royal Naval division, just a few months after the war broke out. He died in April of 1915 from blood poisoning, and his poems were published posthumously. Brooke’s war sonnets like “The Soldier” have come to represent the youthful martyrdom and naive patriotism of a generation.

For more information on Rupert Brooke and the literature of the Great War, see the 1998 Lee Library Exhibit Anthem for Doomed Youth which is archived at the library’s exhibits website. Visit the library’s current Great War exhibit on level 1 to see Brooke’s poetry as well as first editions of First World War novels and poems like Robert Graves’ Over the Brazier and Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. The exhibit is open through July 2015.


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