Rugby School


Mullin, Katherine. "Knox, Edmund George Valpy (1881–1971)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Oxford: OUP, 2011.

  • Thornton, R. K. R. "Wratislaw, Theodore William Graf (1871-1933)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
Index to poems

Born on June 9, 1922, in Shanghai, the son of American missionaries (John Gillespie Magee and Faith Emmeline Backhouse), John Gillespie Magee Jr. received his education at the American School, Nanking (1929-31), St. Clare's near Walmer, Kent (1931-35), Rugby School (1935-39), and Avon Old Farms School, near Hartford, Connecticut (1939-40). Young Magee won the Rugby Poetry Prize in 1939 for his "Brave New World," and after returning to America privately published a collection of his poems. Although he had been accepted at Yale University in July 1940, Magee joined the Royal Canadian Air Force that year. He received training in flying in Ontario at Toronto, Trenton, St. Catherine's, and Uplands. He passed his Wings Test in June 1941 and was sent overseas to Llandow in South Wales, Royal Air Force Digby (Lincolnshire), and Wellingore, during which period he had the rank of Pilot Officer. Magee flew the Spitfire as part of No. 412 Fighter Squadron. On September 3, while test-flying a Spitfore V, Magee began writing the sonnet we know now as "High Flight" at 30,000 feet. He finished it upon landing and and sent a copy to his parents. His father, Assistant Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church. Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C., printed it in the church magazine. At 19 years old, on December 11, 1941, John died when his Spitfire V crashed after a mid-air collision in the clouds with a trainer plane from RAF Cranwell. He was one of the first US war casualities (America has only entered the conflict on December 7, when Pearl Harbour was attacked). American and British newspapers reprinted "High Flight" widely following his death after Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress, displayed it in an exhibition of poetry, "Faith and Freedom," which took place in Washington in February 1942. By the time that President Ronald Reagan quoted from this sonnet in a tribute to the American astronauts killed in the Challenger 7 space shuttle disaster in January 1986, "High Flight" had become hugely popular among fliers universally. Some of Magee's papers survive in the Library of Congress.

  • Hagedorn, Hermann. Sunward I've Climbed. New York: Macmillan, 1942.
  • McGee John. The Complete Works of John Magee, The Pilot Poet, including a short biography by Stephen Garnett. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire: This England Books, March 1989. 821.912 M116 Toronto Public Library
  • Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations Requested from the Congressional Research Service. Ed. Suzy Platt. Washington: Library of Congress, 1989.

Rupert Brooke was born August 3, 1887, at Rugby, Warwickshire, and educated there and at King's College, Cambridge, which he left with a degree in 1909. His first book of verse, Poems, came out in 1911. After studying briefly in Munich in 1912, he returned to live in England at the Old Vicarage in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire. The next year he travelled abroad in Canada, the United States, and the south seas, particularly Taihiti, where he loved a native woman named Taata Mata. At the start of War World I, Brooke joined the Hood Battalion of the British Naval Division and served in the attack on Antwerp. Over the winter he trained at Blandford Camp in Dorsetshire. His five famous war sonnets appeared in New Numbers in early 1915. They sold in such great quantity that the journal exhausted its war supply of paper and closed down. Brooke left by sea with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force for the Dandanelles in early 1915. At the rank of sub-lieutenant, he died of blood poisoning at sea near Scyros on April 23, 1915, and was buried there. His book, 1914 and Other Poems, was published posthumously in 1915. The nation canonized Brooke after his death, but history ultimately chose Wilfred Owen's anti-war lyrics over Brooke's patriotic war sonnets. This reaction has obscured his merits in poems such as "Heaven," "Tiare Tahiti," and "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester."

  • A Bibliography of Rupert Brooke, 3rd edn., comp. Geoffrey Keynes (London: R. Hart-Davis, 1964). Z 8122 .6 K4 1964 Victoria College Library
  • Brooke, Rupert. 1914 & other poems (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1915). PR 6003 R4N5 Robarts Library
  • --. "1914", Five sonnets (London, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1915). PR 6003 R4N5 1915b Robarts Library
  • --. The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke: with a Memoir (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1918). end B766 A15 1918a Fisher Rare Book Library
  • --. Four poems: The fish, 1911. Grantchester, 1912. The dead, 1914. The soldier, 1914. Drafts and fair copies in the author's hand, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (London: Scolar Press, 1974). end ovs B766 A155 Fisher Rare Book Library
  • --. Poems (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1911). end B766 A155 1911 Fisher Rare Book Library
  • --. Poetical works, 2nd edn., ed. Geoffrey Keynes (London: Faber and Faber, 1970). PR 6003 R4 1970 Robarts Library
  • --.The Letters of Rupert Brooke, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (London: Faber and Faber, 1968). PR 6003 R4Z515 Robarts Library
  • Caesar, Adrian. “Brooke, Rupert Chawner (1887-1915).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
  • Hassall, Christopher. Rupert Brooke: A Biography (London: Faber and Faber, 1964). PR 6003 R4 Z67 Robarts Library
  • Hastings, Michael. Rupert Brooke (London: Michael Joseph, 1967). A fine book of photographs. PR 6003 R4Z68 Erindale College Library
  • Lehmann, John. Rupert Brooke, his Life and his Legend (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1980). PR 6003 R4Z685 Robarts Library
  • New numbers (Ryton, Dymock, Gloucester: Crypt House Press, 1914). PR 500 N47 Robarts Library
  • Rupert Brooke in Canada, ed. Sandra Martin and Roger Hall (Toronto: PMA Books, 1978). FC 74 B78 1978 Robarts Library