Date of Award
Master of Arts
Charles L. P. Silet
Rupert Brooke wrote to his friend Jacques Raverat in 1909 of "The great essential thing ... the Organized Chance of Living Again: The SCHEME" a proposal that he and some chosen friends would meet on May 1, 1933, at Basle Station, Switzerland to escape the boredom of middle age by performing a disappearing act of sorts. Dead to the world left behind, they would instead embrace a new life:
... We'll show the grey unbelieving age ... that there's a better Heaven than the pale serene Anglican windless harmonium-buzzing Eternity of the Christians, a Heaven in Time, now and for ever, ending for each, staying for all, a Heaven of Laughter and Bodies and Flowers and Love and People and Sun and Wind, in the only place we know or care for, ON EARTH. (Letters 195)
This sentiment was highly colored by the loosely structured ideology of what Virginia Woolf dubbed "Nee-Paganism," a pastoral mode of thinking and living that found Brooke and his Cambridge friends constructing summer camps consisting of bathing, reading, and glorifying youth. They rebelled gently against Victorian ideals through a freer mingling of the sexes that held friendship to be a higher good than marriage (Delany xiii-xviii) . The concerns contained in this letter are also, after a series of transformations, representative of some of Brooke's best, and often underexamined, poetry. Others assert that these lines represent nothing so much as Brooke's refusal to leave youth and irresponsibility behind him.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu
Tracy Charity Schoenle
June 3, 2013
Schoenle, Tracy Charity, "Rupert Brooke: 'An organized chance of living again'" (1997). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 104.