Charles Brasch: Journals, 1938–1945

Author(s): Charles Brasch


For most of his adult life, Charles Brasch s most intimate companion was his diary. In these journals, written in London during the Second World War, he is a young man searching for answers. Is he a pacifist? Should he join the army? Is he homosexual? Should he marry? Should he return home to New Zealand when the war ends? Are his poems any good? Some questions are resolved in the course of the journals, others not, but it all makes compelling reading. So, too, do the people we meet in these pages: kith and kin, conscientious objectors, civil servants working at Bletchley Park (as Brasch was to), members of the Adelphi Players, fellow fire wardens, refugees from Europe, and artists and writers both English and Kiwi. As Rachel Barrowman writes in her introductory essay, on his return home Brasch was to hold "a central place in New Zealand literary life for two decades," as founder of "Landfall," and as patron, mentor and writer. In these splendid journals, he prepares for that role."


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Rachel Barrowman’s ‘Finding “a Home for the Spirit”’ discusses the journals as an exploration of ‘identity and self … during the restless war years’. When Brasch resolved to return to New Zealand at the end of 1945, it was ‘part of a cultural mission: to make his contribution to the development in New Zealand of a mature … literary and arts culture’.

Charles Brasch (1909-1973) was a major figure in New Zealand's cultural life of the mid twentieth century - a poet, patron and founding editor of Landfall. His books included several volumes of verse, a collection of essays (The Universal Dance, 1981), a memoir (Indirections, 1980), and an edited volume of work from Landfall (Landfall Country, 1962). Substantial contributions have been made to this work by Margaret Scott, Rachel Barrowman, Andrew Parsloe, Marilyn Aitcheson, Alan Roddick, Wendy Harrex and Fiona Moffat.

General Fields

  • : 9781877372841
  • : Otago University Press
  • : Otago University Press
  • : January 2013
  • : 215x145mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : September 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Charles Brasch
  • : Hardback
  • : English
  • : 828.91403
  • : 648