A Country Without a Soul


Abstract: In an attempt to escape his romantic entanglements and recover from his nervous collapse, the romantic young English poet Rupert Brooke visited the United States as well as central and western Canada in 1913. The deeply personal travel articles he submitted to pay for his expenses, later published as Letters from America, stand apart from the enthusiastic accounts of economic progress and beckoning wilderness written by his fellow British travellers in that age of renewed British interest in the self-governing dominions. Though an imperialist, himself, Brooke was highly critical of the individualism and materialism that he felt characterized Canada even more than the country to the south, and he felt alienated in a thinly-populated country that he claimed was without tradition and without a soul.