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Teachers' Notes

Resource created by: Kings College Archive

This resource enables students to compare and contrast the poetry of Rupert Brooke with that of his contemporary Ferenc Békássy, using archival documents and manuscripts.


Curriculum Links

  • KS4 English Literature - First World War poetry; Analysis of language form and structure; Understanding of the relationship between texts and contexts
  • KS5 English Literature - First World War poetry

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the pre and post-war poetry of Rupert Brooke and Ferenc Békássy
  • Understanding of how social, historical and cultural contexts inform the two poets’ work 
  • Skills to compare and contrast the work of two different war poets


Discussion Ideas

  • How does reading Ferenc Békássy’s poetry inform or change your perception of Rupert Brooke’s work?
  • Why do you think Békássy’s poetry is less well known than that of Brooke?
  • What sort of responses to his war service do you think Békássy was trying to express in ‘1914’?
  • How might Békássy’s war service have differed from that of Brooke?
  • How might Rupert Brooke’s post-war fame affect how we read his poetry?
  • In what ways do people record their responses to conflict today?


Activity Ideas

Comparing texts:
As a class or individually, students can examine Békássy’s poem ‘1914’ and consider the ways in which it might differ from or resembles Brooke’s ‘The Soldier’.

Focus on different sections of the poems, for instance compare the opening of each poem, considering the themes, language and poetic techniques at work.
  • Discuss what the aim of each poem might be?  
  • How do Békássy and Brooke present this within their poems?
  • Which poem do you think is more successful and why?
Contrast these poems with earlier work by the two poets (Békássy’s 1913 poems Sonnet’ and The Adventurer’, and Brooke’s ‘The Sentimental Exile’
  • How have the themes and form of their work altered in the later poems?
  • Can you pick out any continuity within the poetic techniques or aspects of the content?
  • Which poems do you feel are the most successful?
Contextual research:
Carry out further research into the Neo-Pagans. 
  • Which other key literary figures were involved in the group?
  • What effects did such groups have on their members?
  • Can you see any influences at work in Brooke or Békássy’s poetry?
  • In what sort of ways do you think such groups and movements were important to writers and creative people in the past?
Research the role of the Hungarian Army during the First World War:
  • How might Békássy’s war service have affected his perspective on the war?
  • What was happening on the Eastern Front in June 1915?
  • Can you discover any oral history or accounts that might inform your understanding?