Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903-1979

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English author; best known for his mystery novels; also wrote under name: Leo Bruce; d. 1979.

From the description of Rupert Croft-Crooke collection, 1930-1974. (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 70974921

British author of poetry and prose.

From the description of Papers, 1956-1977. (Washington State University). WorldCat record id: 29853024

English poet, novelist, and playwright.

From the description of Letters in verse and prose, 1925-1926. (Washington State University). WorldCat record id: 29853002

Rupert Croft-Cooke was born June 30, 1903 in Edenbridge, Kent, and was educated at Tonbridge School and Wellington College. He began teaching when he was seventeen. He went to Paris that year as a private tutor, then spent two years in Buenos Aires, where besides teaching English he founded and edited the journal La Estrella . In 1925 he returned to London and pursued a career as a free-lance journalist and writer. Soon after, he opened a bookshop in Rochester, Kent, and took up the antiquarian book trade. At the same time he also entered the field of broadcasting, giving a series of radio talks on psychology. In 1930 he went abroad again, spending a year in Germany, writing, and later lecturing in English in Switzerland and Spain. He joined the British Army in 1940 and saw service in Africa and India. After his discharge in 1946 he returned to writing and produced several works reflecting his military experience. He became the book critic for The Sketch in 1947, a position he held until 1953. He died June 10, 1979.

One of the most prolific writers for the British mass market in the 20th century, Croft-Cooke produced countless magazine and journal articles and more than 125 books--everything from co-books to political commentary, from books about circuses to steamy romances. His greatest success, however, came in the genre of detective fiction; he published nearly thirty detective novels, mysteries and thrillers.

His first book, Songs of a Sussex Tramp, a collection of poetry, was published in 1922, when he was nineteen. When, shortly after the appearance of his Songs, another of his works precipitated a suit for slander, his publisher, in order to recoup losses he had suffered, forced Croft-Cooke to produce ten books without renumeration. After a self-imposed two year-long exile in Argentina, he returned to England in 1925. He continued to write and his work appeared in the literary magazines New Writing, Adelphi, Chapbook, The New Coterie and English Review. In the late 1920s several of his pieces were published in the American magazine, Poetry.

With the coming of the Great Depression in the 1930s, however, Croft-Cooke rejected the "cult of poetry and literature" and embraced the "cult of experience." Characterizing himself as a "writer for the middle class," he produced numerous works in diverse genres for the mass market. In addition to more than twenty volumes of autobiographical writing and several romantic novels, he also wrote books on travel, food and wine, circus life and gypsies. He explored the politics of the Hitler era, creating a near best-seller in The Man in Europe, as well as Rule Britannia, and The Last Days of Madrid . Croft-Cooke's greatest popularity with both British and American readers was based on his detective fiction and thrillers. Using the pseudonym Leo Bruce, he wrote two series of detective novels. The first, begun in 1936, was based on the adventures of Sergeant Beef, a bumbling village policeman. His second sleuth was introduced in 1952. This new hero, Carolus Deane, a witty and urbane gentleman, was the antithesis of Sergeant Beef. Both series of novels created Croft-Cooke's greatest literary success.

From the guide to the Rupert Croft-Cooke Papers, 1956-1977, (Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903-1979. Letter, 1937 [September?] : Kent, concerning his book, Darts. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
referencedIn Lord Alfred Douglas Collection, 1890-1951 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
creatorOf Rupert Croft-Cooke Papers, 1956-1977 Washington State University Libraries: Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. Series V., Editor Files, 1873-1984 (bulk 1960-1980). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Manuscripts and Miscellaneous Materials, 1854-1962 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
creatorOf Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903-1979. Rupert Croft-Crooke collection, 1930-1974. Boston University. School of Medicine
referencedIn Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Correspondence, 1819, 1849-1957, 1962 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
referencedIn Papers of Rupert Croft-Cooke, 1922-1965 University of Exeter
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. Series VII., Other Department Files, 1916-1996 (bulk 1943-1969). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Correspondence, 1819, 1849-1957, 1962 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
referencedIn Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903-1979. Letter, 1937 [September?] : Kent, concerning his book, Darts. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series I., General Correspondence, 1922-1977 (bulk 1946-1966). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903-1979. Papers, 1956-1977. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series II., Alfred A. Knopf Personal, 1874-1984 (bulk 1953-1984). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903-1979. Letters in verse and prose, 1925-1926. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903- person
correspondedWith Douglas, Alfred Bruce, Lord, 1870-1945 person
associatedWith Rupert Croft-Cooke person
correspondedWith Torrey, Lincoln person
associatedWith William Andrews Clark Memorial Library corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
English literature--20th century
Literature
Occupation
Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
Authors, English
Function

Person

Birth 1903-06-20

Death 1979-06-10

Britons

English

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