By Richard Ollard
He proclaimed himself a genius and raged opposed to the slightest feedback from fellow students; he was once a Marxist who despised the 'Idiot People'; he can be beneficiant and affectionate but hurled insults at his pals; he inveighed opposed to Puritanism yet was once himself in lots of methods a Puritan: A. L. Rowse was once a guy of many contradictions.
during this clear-sighted and soaking up biography, Richard Ollard examines the numerous facets of Rowse's Protean character to bare a guy who, no matter what he was once responding to - public affairs, the humanities, usual attractiveness or occasions in his own lifestyles - did so with large power and passion.
'An urbane learn of the prestigious historian.' Antonia Fraser, Daily Mail
'Strikes an ideal stability among the Jekyll Rowse and the Hyde Rowse.' Bevis Hillier, Spectator
'Excellent.' Katherine Duncan-Jones, TLS
Read or Download A Man Of Contradictions: A Life Of A. L. Rowse PDF
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Extra info for A Man Of Contradictions: A Life Of A. L. Rowse
Thatcher wouldn’t see me, but she asked me to see her minister at the foreign office, Lynda Chalker E N G L A N D : S T O R I E S O F I N S P I R A T I O N 49 . . I’ve been saying for the last, well thirty years anyhow, you cannot reform apartheid, you’ve got to abolish it . . The only instrument that you can use apart from armed force is an effective sanctions policy . . Thatcher has been prepared to divide the Commonwealth on that issue twice already, and of course Reagan has been so supportive by his policy of ‘Constructive Engagement’.
There is something missing, do you understand what I mean? Bohley’s passionate response to my question provides very useful information regarding her construction of the ‘audience’ to whom she has been speaking for the previous two-and-a-half hours. While she begins by questioning the lack of specificity of my question (‘How? Where? ’ she asks me), she then maps this critique onto a more fundamental concern: ‘people in the West’ – and here she is clearly referring to me – ‘have not comprehended that the Wall is gone’; ‘they want to understand, but they do not want to understand themselves’.
Perhaps not. But this encounter did leave me with a gentle assurance that at least sometimes we can, and do, hear stories which extend beyond our own experiences. And when people feel that they are being listened to, they are quite likely to continue sharing their stories with us. And so then it is left to us to ask ourselves the hard questions about what we are doing and why we are doing it. What do we think it means to listen to others who are in pain (or who are overcome with joy, or in the throes of a life transition) and what is the ongoing nature of the responsibility we have towards those who have made our research possible?