Christine Brooke-Rose

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Christine Frances Evelyn Brooke-Rose
Born(1923-01-16)16 January 1923
Geneva, Switzerland
Died21 March 2012(2012-03-21) (aged 89)
Cabrières-d'Avignon, France
Occupationwriter, literary critic
Rodney Ian Shirley Bax
(m. 1944; div. 1948)
(m. 1948; div. 1975)
Claude Brooke
(m. 1981; div. 1982)

Christine Frances Evelyn Brooke-Rose (16 January 1923 – 21 March 2012[1]) was a British writer and literary critic, known principally for her experimental novels.[2]


Christine Brooke-Rose was born in Geneva, Switzerland to an English father, Alfred Northbrook Rose, and American-Swiss mother, Evelyn (née Brooke).[3] They separated in 1929. She was brought up mainly in Brussels with her maternal grandparents, but also studied at St Stephen's College Broadstairs before attending Somerville College, Oxford (MA) and University College, London (PhD).[2] During World War II, she worked at Bletchley Park as a member of the WAAF specializing in intelligence, assessing intercepted German communications. She later completed her university degree. She then worked for a time in London as a literary journalist and scholar. She was married three times: to Rodney Bax, whom she met at Bletchley Park; to the poet Jerzy Pietrkiewicz; and briefly to her cousin, Claude Brooke.

While serving at Bletchley Park and married to Bax, she had an affair with American army officer Telford Taylor, who was himself married. This led to the end of her marriage with Bax,[4] although Taylor's marriage endured for some years thereafter. Taylor was in charge of the American liaison section at Bletchley, and was later Counsel for the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials.

On separating from Pietrkiewicz in 1968, she moved to France, teaching at the University of Paris, Vincennes from 1968 to 1988. In 1975, while teaching linguistics and English literature at the University of Paris, she became professor of English and American literature and literary theory.[5] In 1988, she retired and moved to the south of France, near Avignon.[2]


Brooke-Rose later recalled that during her time at Bletchley Park, being exposed to "that otherness" helped her in her journey to become a novelist, by making her aware of the viewpoint of the "Other".[5]

She shared the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction for Such (1966).

She was also known as a translator, winning the Arts Council Translation Prize in 1969 for her translation of Alain Robbe-Grillet's Dans le labyrinthe (In the Labyrinth).

Her novel Remake (1996) is an autobiographical novel:

It is an autobiographical novel with a difference, using life material to compose a third-person fiction, transformed in an experiment whose tensions are those of memory – distorting and partial – checked by a rigorous and sceptical language which probes and finds durable forms underlying the impulses and passions of the subject. It is not a simple process of chronological remembering. Remake captures not facts but the contents of those facts, the feelings of a war-time child, the textures of her clothing, tastes and smells, her mother, an absent father, a gradual transformation into adulthood.[2]



  • The Languages of Love (1957)
  • The Sycamore Tree (1958)
  • The Dear Deceit (1960)
  • The Middlemen: A Satire (1961)
  • Out (1964)
  • Such (1966)
  • Between (1968)
  • Thru (1975)
  • Amalgamemnon (1984)
  • Xorandor (1986)
  • The Christine Brooke-Rose Omnibus: Out, Such, Between, Thru (first edition, 1986; second edition, 2006)
  • Verbivore (1990)
  • Textermination (1991)
  • Remake (1996) autobiographical novel
  • Next (1998)
  • Subscript (1999)
  • Life, End of (2006) autobiographical novel

Short story collection

  • Go When You See the Green Man Walking (1970)


  • Gold: A Poem (1955)

Essays and criticism

  • A Grammar of Metaphor (1958) criticism
  • A ZBC of Ezra Pound (1971) criticism
  • A Structural Analysis of Pound's Usura Canto: Jakobson's Method Extended and Applied to Free Verse (1976) criticism
  • A Rhetoric of the Unreal: Studies in Narrative and Structure, Especially of the Fantastic (1981) criticism
  • Stories, Theories, and Things (1991) literary theory
  • Poems, Letters, Drawings (2000)
  • Invisible Author: Last Essays (2002)

Translations into English

  • Children of Chaos, by Juan Goytisolo (London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1958).
  • Fertility and Survival: Population Problems from Malthus to Mao Tse Tung, by Alfred Sauvy (New York: Criterion, 1960; London: Chatto and Windus, 1961).
  • In the Labyrinth, by Alain Robbe-Grillet (London: Calder and Boyars, 1968).

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1965: Society of Authors Traveling Prize, for Out
  • 1966: James Tait Black Memorial Prize, for Such
  • 1969: Arts Council Translation Prize, for In the Labyrinth

Further reading[edit]

  • Sarah Birch (1994). Christine Brooke-Rose and Contemporary Fiction.
  • Judy Little (1996). The Experimental Self: Dialogic Subjectivity in Woolf, Pym, and Brooke-Rose.
  • Ellen J. Friedman and Richard Martin (1995). Utterly Other Discourse: The Texts of Christine Brooke-Rose.
  • Nicoletta Pireddu (2006). "Scribes of a Transnational Europe: Travel, Translation, Borders", The Translator 12(2), pp. 345–69.
  • G.N. Forester and M.J. Nicholls (2014). Verbivoracious Festschrift Volume 1: Christine Brooke-Rose.


  1. ^ Margalit Fox (10 April 2012). "Christine Brooke-Rose, Inventive Writer, Dies at 89". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d "Christine Brooke-Rose is dead", PN Review, 22 March 2012
  3. ^ "Christine Brooke-Rose: Writer acclaimed for her inventive and playful". The Independent. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  4. ^ Recollections of Brooke-Rose quoted in Smith, Michael. The Secrets of Station X. Biteback Publishing. 2011.
  5. ^ a b Jeffries, Stuart (23 March 2012). "Christine Brooke-Rose obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 March 2018.

External links[edit]