By Richard Ollard
He proclaimed himself a genius and raged opposed to the slightest feedback from fellow students; he used to be a Marxist who despised the 'Idiot People'; he may be beneficiant and affectionate but hurled insults at his acquaintances; he inveighed opposed to Puritanism yet used to be himself in lots of methods a Puritan: A. L. Rowse was once a guy of many contradictions.
In this clear-sighted and soaking up biography, Richard Ollard examines the various facets of Rowse's Protean character to bare a guy who, no matter what he used to be responding to - public affairs, the humanities, traditional attractiveness or occasions in his own existence - did so with large power and passion.
'An urbane research of the distinguished historian.' Antonia Fraser, Daily Mail
'Strikes an ideal stability among the Jekyll Rowse and the Hyde Rowse.' Bevis Hillier, Spectator
'Excellent.' Katherine Duncan-Jones, TLS
Read or Download A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A. L. Rowse PDF
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Extra info for A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A. L. Rowse
He was once by no means ashamed, certainly was once particularly proud, of being negative. He adored, no guy extra warmly, the outdated kinds of Cornish dialect and vocabulary. however the slipshod and the vulgar have been easily offensive. No ask yourself that during antithesis to Shakespeare’s imaginative and prescient he dragged his toes unwillingly from tuition. yet his very good fortune there generated its personal anxieties. He threw himself, as he was once continually to do, so headlong into what he used to be doing that he was once fearful that he may possibly lose his wakening intuition for writing poetry. An ardent adolescent couldn't foresee the longevity, the inexhaustible tenacity, which used to be to maintain him writing until eventually good into his nineties. He released a stout quantity of gathered poems entitled A existence in 1981, carrying on with to revise the textual content until eventually the spring of 1995. An anxiousness, specifically whilst one is younger, isn't the much less excessive for proving unfounded. extra urgent was once the query of securing admission to the college, with out which the distinction of the world’s day could fade. Cornwall in sturdy occasions had now not a lot to provide within the method of a occupation, and the days have been bleak and becoming bleaker. The County scholarships that H. A. L. Fisher had brought as Minister of schooling in Lloyd George’s coalition govt have been reduce. there has been now just one for the entire of Cornwall. Rowse gained it, thank you partially to the championship of Quiller sofa whom he had no longer then met. a lot afterward he heard from one other resource that whereas Q. used to be addressing the County schooling Committee in his favour a observe used to be handed to him: ‘Do you recognize that this boy is a socialist? ’ Q. tore it up and took no observe. Sixty kilos a yr used to be a grand first step. however the minimal at which Oxford may be controlled within the twenties was once �200. And Oxford it were from the instant that his college front have been mooted. His first, and so much influential, headmaster have been an Oxford guy. Exeter, the normal Oxford collage for West kingdom males, used to be the objective. yet Exeter used to be now not providing a scholarship in English, Rowse’s topic. the single fast threat was once a background award in a gaggle of schools that incorporated Balliol and St John’s. Doubtfully Rowse went in for it and never strangely had no good fortune. but it seemed that Christ Church, the main remarkable of all Oxford faculties, was once supplying a scholarship in English. fast choice used to be required. It used to be prepared that the boy may still take the recommendation of Q. , uniting the skills of an area eminence, Professor of English Literature at Cambridge and himself a loyal Oxford guy. The account of all this, and its chuffed factor, topped by means of an award from the Drapers corporation that introduced the total-up to the necessary �200, is so vividly rendered in A Cornish youth that it might be a disgrace to destroy it for the reader. yet now not the least vital aspect is that from this second dates the friendship among the outdated guy and the younger, the courteous, tranquil, large-minded Tory and the brash, fierce, selfish insurgent, which was once to set a trend for thus a lot of his destiny improvement.