Rose Macaulay

Life
1881-1958 [Dame Emilie Rose Macauley]; English novelist; brought up in Oxford, Wales and partly on the Ligurian coast nr. Genoa; new Rupert Brooke in childhood through her father, his teacher; friend of Victor Gollancz and Ivy Compton-Burnett; encouraged Elizabeth Bowen and found her a first publisher; supporter of the League of Nations; engaged in lasting friendship with Gerald O’Donovan; works incl. The World My Wilderness and The Towers of Trebizond, [her last], fiction; They Went to Portugal and Fabled Shore [Spain], travel.

Works
inc. contrib. to Cassell English Writers series; works incl. The World My Wilderness (1950; 1992), 253pp.

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Criticism
Sarah Le Fanu, Rose Macaulay (London: Virago 2003), 388pp. [reviewed by Hermione Lee in The Guardian, 14 June 2003; infra.]

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Commentary
Hermione Lee, review of Sarah Le Fanu, Rose Macaulay, in The Guardian, (14 June 2003), writes of her ‘long clandestine affair began in 1918 with Gerald O’Donovan, a lapsed Irish priest, himself a novelist, a married man who never left his wife and children but incorporated Rose into his family life.’ Further: ‘She led a double life for more than 20 years - when Gerald died in 1942, she even wrote an anonymous obituary. After her own death, when her confessional letters to an Anglican priest were published, her friends were astonished to find she had kept this secret from them. They had her pigeonholed as a “spinster” or a “Eunuch” (Woolf). / One of the secrets that LeFanu investigates, but doesn’t solve, is whether the secret affair, with no hope of children, was particularly suited to a woman whose sexuality was “ambivalent”. As a child, she wanted to be a naval captain; many of her heroines are boyish or androgynous; she shared a house for a time with the literary editor Naomi Royde-Smith, de la Mare’s lover. LeFanu deals with her subject’s sexuality rather tentatively; she doesn’t say whether she thinks Macaulay was bisexual or not. (I would have liked to know more, for instance, about her attitude to Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, which she was prepared to defend.)’ See also under Elizabeth Bowen, Notes, supra. [Accessed online 7 Nov. 2006.]

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Notes
The Foolish Lovers (London: Collins [1920]) by St John Ervine contains backpage advertising lists for novels by Rose Macauley, Dangerous Ages; Mystery at Geneva; Orphan Island; Potterism; Told by an Idiot.

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