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Rose Macaulay (1881–1958)

Author of The Towers of Trebizond

52+ Works 3,477 Members 79 Reviews 15 Favorited

About the Author

Works by Rose Macaulay

The Towers of Trebizond (1956) 1,250 copies
The World My Wilderness (1950) 260 copies
Told by an Idiot (1923) 241 copies
Crewe Train (1926) 216 copies
Personal Pleasures (1935) 167 copies
Pleasure of Ruins (1953) 165 copies
Dangerous Ages (1921) 118 copies
Non-Combatants and Others (1916) 84 copies
They Were Defeated (1932) 79 copies
Keeping Up Appearances (1928) 69 copies
Life Among the English (1600) 69 copies
They Went to Portugal (1946) 59 copies
Staying With Relations (1930) 46 copies
Potterism (1920) 38 copies
Orphan Island (1924) 34 copies
Mystery at Geneva (1923) 27 copies
Going Abroad (1934) 21 copies
The Minor Pleasures of Life (1934) 21 copies
Letters to a sister (1964) 17 copies
A Casual Commentary (1925) 12 copies
The Furnace (2010) 12 copies
The Lee Shore (1912) 12 copies
I Would Be Private (1937) 11 copies
The shadow flies (1972) 9 copies
And No Man's Wit (1940) 8 copies
The two blind countries (2010) 7 copies
Milton (1935) 6 copies
THEY WENT TO PORTUGAL (2023) 6 copies
Three Days (2010) 5 copies
Abbots Verney (2018) 5 copies
The making of a bigot (2010) 4 copies
Catchwords and Claptrap (1926) 3 copies
Views and Vagabonds (2017) 3 copies
Evelyn Waugh (1946) 2 copies
El món, la meva selva (2023) 2 copies

Associated Works

Wuthering Heights (1847) — Introduction, some editions — 51,410 copies
Maiden Voyages: Writings of Women Travelers (1993) — Contributor — 189 copies
The Penguin Book of Modern Women's Short Stories (1990) — Contributor — 99 copies
The Gender of Modernism: A Critical Anthology (1990) — Contributor — 64 copies
The Second Ghost Book (1952) — Contributor — 46 copies
The Second Persephone Book of Short Stories (2019) — Contributor — 25 copies


1001 (123) 1001 books (141) 19th century (1,094) 19th century literature (118) British (643) British fiction (112) British literature (694) Bronte (287) classic (2,136) classic fiction (169) classic literature (307) classics (1,966) ebook (201) Emily Bronte (204) England (670) English (333) English literature (717) fiction (4,962) Folio Society (135) gothic (799) Heathcliff (119) historical fiction (170) Kindle (167) literature (1,085) love (324) moors (113) novel (993) own (238) paperback (110) read (585) revenge (107) Roman (154) romance (1,181) to-read (954) tragedy (138) travel (195) unread (223) Victorian (439) women (115) Yorkshire (210)

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Macaulay, Emilie Rose
Date of death
Country (for map)
England, UK
Rugby, Warwickshire, England, UK
Place of death
London, England, UK
Places of residence
Varezze, Italy
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Great Shelford, England, UK
University of Oxford(Somerville College)
Oxford High School for Girls
travel writer
literary critic
Bowen, Elizabeth (friend)
Conybeare, William John (grandfather)
Peace Pledge Union
Awards and honors
Order of the British Empire (Dame Commander, 1958)
Caroline Dawnay (PFD)
Short biography
Emilie Rose Macaulay was one of six children of a classical scholar at Cambridge. She lived near Genoa, Italy during her childhood, and finished her education at home in England in Oxford. Rose Macaulay never married and devoted her life to her writing. She had a secret affair from about 1918 to 1942 with Gerald O'Donovan, a former priest, himself a novelist. She travelled extensively and some of her popular works inspired by her trips include The Pleasure of Ruins (1953). She was awarded the DBE shortly before her death in 1958. Her private correspondence was published posthumously in the trilogy Letters to a Friend (1961), Last Letters to a Friend (1962) and Letters to a Sister (1964).




It was written during the First World Ward and set very shortly after it, in a Britain where eugenics has been legislated into public policy, and the Ministry of Brains controls who people can marry so that war will become impossible once stupidity has been bred out of the population. There’s a good deal of satire here, and some good observation of what happens when popular support for a political initiative collapses after a strong start; but it’s also a sympathetic observation of human nature and human behaviour, trying to put society together again after the catastrophe of war. Macaulay’s take on global politics is a bit naïve, but she’s good on the human heart; and this slim book was clearly a source of inspiration for both 1984 and Brave New World.… (more)
nwhyte | 3 other reviews | Nov 28, 2023 |
A very enjoyable read.
I loved the long ponderous sentences and long never-ending lists, often ending with something/someone obscure.
Written in a very tongue in cheek style but with the underlying serious problem of the many waring religions and committing one’s life to Christ.
Aunt Dot, who was looking for a home for what she called "all those poor young unmarried fathers, ruined by maintenance," p11
Of course from one point of view she was right about the church, which grew so far, almost it once, from anything which can have been intended, and became so blood-stained and persecuting and cruel and war-like and made a small and trivial things so important, and tried to exclude everything not done in a certain way and by a certain people and stamped out heresies was such cruelty and rage. … p196… (more)
GeoffSC | 36 other reviews | Aug 20, 2023 |
Interesting and amusing essays commenting on all parts/walks of life:
Choosing a religion, General Elections, Traveling by Train…
“How shall we elect to spend the brief span of our days on the upper surface of this planet?”
Bernard Shaw, "it is a mistake to get married, but a much bigger mistake not to"
“Truly the human race finds it's pleasures in odd ways, and one of the oddest is the absorption of ideas from black marks imprinted on white paper.”
GeoffSC | Aug 20, 2023 |
I don't want to put anyone off, but I think that readers will miss some of the humour in The Towers of Trebizond if they don't have enough background knowledge. Let me try to explain, with the help of Wikipedia (lightly edited as usual to remove unnecessary links).
Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay, DBE (1 August 1881 – 30 October 1958) was an English writer, most noted for her award-winning novel The Towers of Trebizond, about a small Anglo-Catholic group crossing Turkey by camel. The story is seen as a spiritual autobiography, reflecting her own changing and conflicting beliefs.

Well, yes it is, but that description (apart from the camel) makes it sound earnest and boring. The truth is that most of the time Macaulay is poking fun at religion in general and at hers in particular. It is often laugh-out-loud funny, but as I can see from reviews at Goodreads not everyone gets the joke.

Some will be put off by the beginning. It starts with her faux-naïve narrator's drollery about how her family navigated centuries of the fraught history of the church in England — and that relies on having some knowledge of British kings and queens and their hangers on and how they bumped each other off to suit the religious beliefs prevailing in their era; and on knowing something about church politics. Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall Trilogy would help with some but not all of this.

I knew about enough about English church politics because I have read Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire (1855-1867)...

... and I have also read Susan Howatch's Starbridge series (1987-1994) which is a family saga that traces the history of the Church of England... but it's also (more interestingly) about the same kind of ambitious shenanigans and scandals and human greed and theological argy-bargy that you find in Trollope. Both of these series are excellent reading, but... well, not a lot of people read the classics these days and my guess is that the appeal of the once best-selling Howatch series has faded.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2023/06/26/the-towers-of-trebizond-1956-by-rose-macaule...
… (more)
anzlitlovers | 36 other reviews | Jun 28, 2023 |



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