Thursday, 18 November 2010


The highly reputed American books magazine The Bloomsbury Review recently carried an enthusiastic response to our republication of Rose Macaulay's The Non-combatants and Others. The Review, which enjoys a readership of some 35,000, called the book
a valuable recovery
and say that author Rose Macaulay remains significant for
incisive portraits of a society during and between the world wars.
Dame Rose Macaulay was born in Rugby, Warwickshire, and educated at Oxford. She belongs to that noble but perhaps now undervalued tradition in British letters of writers who paid serious intellectual attention to Christian ideas and themes, and strove to weave these into their work. Macaulay had a problematic engagement with religious belief, and this was mirrored in her personal life by her affair with a former Jesuit priest. She reached the point of being able to return to the Anglican church in 1953, five years before her death.

Her strong interest in and involvement with the pacifist movement was reflected in her sponsorship of the Peace Pledge Union, and pacifism is an important element in Non-combatants, in which the heroine, Alix Sandomir’s, goes through a process of discovery, self doubt and reaffirmation of pacifist principles during the First World War.

Macaulay is responsible for what must be one of the best opening lines in literature, from The Towers of Trebizond:
"Take my camel, dear," said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass
while a character in Staying with Relations asks:
"Is rabbit fur disgusting because it's cheap, or is it cheap because it's disgusting?"


No comments: