Get Rose Macaulay essential facts below. View Videos or join the Rose Macaulay discussion. Add Rose Macaulay to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay, (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. Macaulay's novels were partly influenced by Virginia Woolf; she also wrote biographies and travelogues.
Macaulay began writing her first novel, Abbots Verney (published 1906), after leaving Somerville and while living with her parents at Ty Isaf, near Aberystwyth, in Wales. Later novels include The Lee Shore (1912), Potterism (1920), Dangerous Ages (1921), Told by an Idiot (1923), And No Man's Wit (1940), The World My Wilderness (1950), and The Towers of Trebizond (1956). Her non-fiction work includes They Went to Portugal, Catchwords and Claptrap, a biography of John Milton, and Pleasure of Ruins. Macaulay's fiction was influenced by Virginia Woolf and Anatole France.
During World War I Macaulay worked in the British Propaganda Department, after some time as a nurse and later as a civil servant in the War Office. She pursued a romantic affair with Gerald O'Donovan, a writer and former Jesuit priest, whom she met in 1918; the relationship lasted until his death, in 1942. During the interwar period she was a sponsor of the pacifist Peace Pledge Union; however she resigned from the PPU and later recanted her pacifism in 1940. Her London flat was utterly destroyed in the Blitz, and she had to rebuild her life and library from scratch, as documented in the semi-autobiographical short story, Miss Anstruther's Letters, which was published in 1942.
The blue plaque on Hinde House at 11-14 Hinde Street where Macaulay lived from 1941 until her death
The Towers of Trebizond, her 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. For this work, she received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1956.
Macaulay was never a simple believer in "mere Christianity", and her writings reveal a more complex, mystical sense of the Divine. That said, she did not return to the Anglican church until 1953; she had been an ardent secularist before and, while religious themes pervade her novels, previous to her conversion she often treats Christianity satirically, for instance in Going Abroad and The World My Wilderness. She never married.
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.
First line of The Towers of Trebizond, cited by librarian Nancy Pearl in "Famous First Words: A Librarian Shares Favorite Literary Opening Lines,"  hosted by Steve Inskeep on NPR's Morning Edition, 8 September 2004, as an example among "some notable opening lines that have made Pearl's heart pound".
"Take my camel, dear", said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.
From Staying with Relations. Discussing the coat worn by a visitor, a character remarks:
Is rabbit fur disgusting because it's cheap, or is it cheap because it's disgusting?
Abbots Verney (1906) John Murray
The Furnace (1907) John Murray
The Secret River (1909) John Murray
The Valley Captives (1911) John Murray
Views and Vagabonds (1912) John Murray
The Lee Shore (1913) Hodder & Stoughton
The Making of a Bigot (c 1914) Hodder & Stoughton
Non-Combatants and Others (1916) Hodder & Stoughton
Hein, David. "Rose Macaulay: A Voice from the Edge." In David Hein and Edward Henderson, eds., C. S. Lewis and Friends: Faith and the Power of Imagination, 93-115. London: SPCK; Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2011.