Rose Macaulay

Rose Macaulay books and biography

Rose Macaulay

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Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay, DBE (1 August 1881 - 30 October 1958), affectionately known as Emilie (her actual first name), was an English novelist. She published thirty-five books, mostly novels but also biography and travel.

The novels include Abbots Verney (1906), The Lee Shore (1920), Potterism (1920), Dangerous Ages (1921), Told by an Idiot (1923), And No Man's Wit (1940), and The Towers of Trebizond (1956).

  • Born in Rugby, Warwickshire, England.
  • Attended Oxford High School for Girls.
  • Studied Modern History at Somerville College, Oxford.
  • During World War I, worked in the British Propaganda Department, after some time as a nurse and then as a civil servant in the War Office.
  • Received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Towers of Trebizond in 1956.
  • Pursued a romantic affair with Gerald O'Donovan, a writer and former Jesuit priest, from 1918 until his death in 1942.
  • Created Dame of the British Empire (DBE) in 1958, shortly before her death at age 77.

The Towers of Trebizond , Macaulay's final novel, is generally regarded as her masterpiece. Strongly autobiographical, it treats with wistful humour and deep sadness the attractions of mystical Christianity, and the irremediable conflict between adulterous love and the demands of the Christian faith.

Reviewers have described Macaulay as "one of the few significant English novelists of the twentieth century to identify herself as a Christian and to use Christian themes in her writing." Rose Macaulay was never a simple believer in "mere Christianity," however, and her writings reveal a more complex, mystical sense of the divine. During the British Empire's mid century peak she may be counted among such writers as C. S. Lewis, Austin Farrer, and Dorothy L. Sayers (the last a close friend of Macaulay's), whose writings were more consistently orthodox in tone.

Memorable quotes

Adultery is a meanness and a stealing, a taking away from someone what should be theirs, a great selfishness, and surrounded and guarded by lies lest it should be found out. And out of meanness and selfishness and lying flow love and joy and peace beyond anything that can be imagined.

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.

First line of The Towers of Trebizond, cited by librarian Nancy Pearl in "Famous First Words: A Librarian Shares Favorite Literary Opening Lines," [1] hosted by Steve Inskeep on NPR's Morning Edition, September 8, 2004, as an example among "some notable opening lines that have made Pearl's heart pound".


  • Hein, David (Winter 2006). "Faith and Doubt in Rose Macaulay's The Towers of Trebizond". Anglican Theological Review 88 (1): 47-68. ISSN 0003-3286.
  • Crawford, Alice (1995). Paradise Pursued: The Novels of Rose Macaulay. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. ISBN 0-8386-3573-3.
  • Emery, Jane (1991). Rose Macaulay: A Writer's Life. London: J. Murray. ISBN 0-7195-4768-7.
  • Passty, Jeanette N. (1988). Eros and Androgyny: The Legacy of Rose Macaulay. London and Toronto: Associated University Presses. ISBN 0-8386-3284-X.
  • Fromm, Gloria G. (October 1986). "The Worldly and Unwordly Fortunes of Rose Macaulay". The New Criterion 5 (2): 38-44. ISSN 0734-0222.
  • Moore, Judith (November 15, 1978). "Rose Macaulay: A Model for Christian Feminists". Christian Century 95 (37): 1098-1101. ISSN 0009-5281.
  • Babington Smith, Constance (1972). Rose Macaulay. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-211720-7.
  • Bensen, Alice R. (1969). Rose Macaulay. New York: Twayne Publishers.

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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