Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Later this month, we are publishing Rose Macaulay's Non-Combatants and Others, a powerful, deeply-felt novel based around the themes of war, pacifism and society during the First World War. During the War, Macaulay worked as a nurse, civil servant and then in the British Propoganda Department, although her views later led her to become a sponsor of the Peace Pledge Union in the interwar period.

Macaulay and her novel fit very well with the Capuchin mission of returning to recognition writers who, as well as being great exponents of their art, also explore unusual and important territories. Macaulay is often held up as one of the few significant twentieth century writers who were avowedly Christian and who deployed Christian themes in their writing, although her journey to faith was not a straightforward one. Macaulay's best known novel, The Towers of Trebizond, for which she won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, pits the attractions of mystical Christianity against the temptations of adulterous love, and draws heavily on her own life for its themes and content. One of the legacies bequeathed by this novel is an opening line that must rank among the most arresting in English language prose fiction:

"Take my camel, dear" said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on
her return from High Mass.

Macaulay was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1958.


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