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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 can be beneficiant and affectionate but hurled insults at his associates; 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 numerous facets of Rowse's Protean character to bare a guy who, no matter what he used to be responding to - public affairs, the humanities, normal attractiveness or occasions in his own existence - did so with super strength and passion.
'An urbane research of the prestigious 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
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Extra resources for A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A. L. Rowse
Feiling’s mom used to be the sister of Anthony desire the novelist and his first cousin used to be Kenneth Grahame, the writer of The Wind within the Willows. often a detailed relations hyperlink of this kind may stimulate Rowse’s belief of the nature in query. yet consequently he attracts no inference, except recording the grotesque situation of Feiling being known as directly to establish the physique of Kenneth Grahame’s in simple terms son who had devoted suicide whereas an undergraduate on the House1 basically years prior to Rowse himself got here up. Grudgingly, nearly stealthily, he admits that as a historian Feiling was once delicate to personality and innovative in its depiction – frequently a excessive suggestion in his eyes. He censures Namier,2 whom he beloved and renowned, for his vindictiveness in blockading Feiling’s election to the British Academy. Odium academicum, it is just too transparent from those unpublished (and in his personal time unpublishable) memoirs, took over the place odium theologicum left off. The center of his judgment of his previous train was once that he used to be intellectually cowardly and within the word he ascribes to Lord David Cecil, additionally Feiling’s student, ‘lacked backbone’. yet, as we will see, there has been to be a deeper explanation for Rowse’s resentment. In his final time period or he had yet one more historical past show, additionally like Feiling a Fellow of All Souls, the medievalist Ernest Jacob. Rowse fifty years later used to be to bring within the Cathedral that also is the school Chapel of Christ Church a far widespread and it appears affectionate éloge. His genuine view, said at a few size in his All Souls personality sketches, was once less charitable. within the context of his time at Christ Church he nonetheless remembered with rage the hours he had spent at Jacob’s insistence suffering via that ancient slough of despond the fats volumes of T. F. Tout, simply to discover that during his Finals there have been no questions that will have justified those efforts. within the Oxford of that day dons usually became interested in junior individuals in their university whom they didn't educate. For future years R. H. Dundas, a Classics don with specified accountability for the traditional heritage facet of Greats, used to be to make some degree of understanding each undergraduate who got here as much as the home. Rowse and he by no means bought on as is obvious from an surprisingly candid correspondence among them of a miles later date preserved in Rowse’s papers. but in A Cornishman at Oxford, Rowse memorably remembers the tact and sensible generosity Dundas shewed as Senior Censor, the don charged with everyday self-discipline and management, while he wanted funds to help himself within the holiday and didn't wish to sponge on his mom and dad. A. E. J. Rawlinson, then educate in Divinity, and his warm-hearted spouse Mildred either went out in their method to befriend this evidently gifted younger guy. on the time Rowse used to be thankful. Later mirrored image even if freed him from any feeling of legal responsibility. It was once, he got here to think, easily head-hunting on behalf of a creed that was once wasting its footing in its personal highbrow fort. Of the opposite Christ Church dons who weren't at once excited about educating him via a ways crucial, certainly in many ways a determine on whom he aspired to version himself, was once J.