A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A. L. Rowse
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He proclaimed himself a genius and raged against the slightest criticism from fellow scholars; he was a Marxist who despised the 'Idiot People'; he could be generous and affectionate yet hurled insults at his friends; he inveighed against Puritanism but was himself in many ways a Puritan: A. L. Rowse was a man of many contradictions.
In this clear-sighted and absorbing biography, Richard Ollard examines the many sides of Rowse's Protean personality to reveal a man who, whatever he was responding to - public affairs, the arts, natural beauty or events in his personal life - did so with tremendous energy and passion.
'An urbane study of the celebrated historian.' Antonia Fraser, Daily Mail
'Strikes a perfect balance between the Jekyll Rowse and the Hyde Rowse.' Bevis Hillier, Spectator
'Excellent.' Katherine Duncan-Jones, TLS
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Company. Three big mines of 5,400 feet deep, work getting unbearably hot as they go deeper, one degree for every hundred feet. Plenty of silicosis about. We looked in the morning at the big Berkeley open pit – like a Leonardo drawing, terrace upon terrace up the gigantic hillside, men and trucks like ants on an ant-hill, the whole thing humming, a cloud of copper dust hanging over it all. Almost exactly a year later (12 October 1965), again in America, this time at Saratoga Springs, he reverts.
Margot, Countess of Oxford and Asquith, 1, 2 Asquith, Raymond, 1, 2 Astor, Nancy, Viscountess, 1 Athenaeum Club, London, 1 Atlantic Monthly, 1 Attlee, Clement (later 1st Earl): ALR admires, 1, 2; rebukes Laski, 1; doubts on Churchill’s appointment as leader, 1, 2; recommends Beatrice Webb for OM, 1; retains Bridges in office, 1; ALR favours Morrison over, 1 Aubrey, John, 1, 2, 3; Brief Lives, 1, 2 Auden: A Personal Memoir (ALR), 1 Auden, Wystan Hugh: at Oxford, 1; offers erotic advances, 1; in.
Consigned, but he seems not to have taken it as an aspersion on his humble origins but rather as a recognition of his status as a scholar, for whom there was a separate table in Hall. His delight at his new quarters, his spacious sitting room, the brightly burning coal fire, the noble view down the Broad Walk to the river, leaps off the page. And can Meadows really have been such a socially depressed area if Harold Acton was Rowse’s neighbour on the next staircase? ‘Almost every undergraduate.
Of January he had been invited by C. K. Ogden, later to win fame as the inventor of Basic English but then known as an editor of outstanding originality, to contribute a pamphlet on a subject of his own choice to a series charting the new intellectual horizons of the post-war world. Rowse was both flattered and, for once, diffident. Could he, in his present state of health both physical and nervous, do himself justice? The choice of subject presented no problem: it would be the ubiquitous,.
Be a man of the thirties in an active sense of the term was to be, like it or not, preoccupied with politics. Having to take to the boats because the ship one is aboard is sinking does not predicate an initial interest in navigation or seamanship. It is not choice but a stark question of survival. Rowse was, as it happens, actively interested in politics but it was only one of the irons in the fire. Music, painting, architecture, poetry, history, literature in general, all of these interested him.