Youthful Death and Melancholia: The Case of Rupert and Mary Brooke
Keywords:Mother, mourning, melancholia, poet-soldier, Rupert Brooke
This article considers how Mary Brooke, the mother of the poet-soldier Rupert Brooke, managed her mourning and melancholia in the wake of the death of her sons in the First World War. It briefly considers how Brooke’s death and poetry framed and, to some extent, predicted his popularity during and after the war. It goes on to explore how Mary Brooke constructed lasting literary and physical monuments to her son, which reframed his public life narrative and reflected her own culturally ingrained philosophical and aesthetic preferences. It examines how her experience reflects established and changing practices with respect to women and public death, and the elements that made her case exceptional. Finally, it places her story in the wider history of European melancholia as it relates to war, grief and creative expression.
Copyright (c) 2020 Alisa Miller
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