Fremantle, Anne (Jackson)

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FREMANTLE, Anne (Jackson)

Born 15 June 1910, Tresserve, Savoie, France

Daughter of Frederick H. and Clara Duff Jackson; married Christopher Fremantle, 1930; children: three sons

Anne Fremantle belonged to a prominent English family and grew up in an atmosphere of social, artistic, and political awareness. Three-Cornered Heart (1970) provides a richly detailed, affectionate account of the Victorian girlhood of Fremantle's mother and of her own Georgian childhood, with some references to her adult life.

Fremantle attended Cheltenham Ladies College, and was a scholar of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she obtained an M.A. in history. With her artist husband, Christopher Fremantle, she had three sons. Her career as a journalist began in 1931 in London, where she worked on the London Mercury and New Statesman and reviewed regularly for the Times Literary Supplement. She was defeated as a Labour Party candidate in the 1935 general election. At the beginning of World War II, Fremantle drove an ambulance for the London County Council and made broadcasts in French and German for the BBC. In 1940 she came to the U.S. and worked in the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., becoming an American citizen in 1947. Fremantle worked for 10 years at the United Nations as an editor.

Fremantle combined journalism with academic positions at Fordham University in New York (1948-61) and New York University (1971-79) and was a fellow at Wesleyan University Center for Advanced Studies in Connecticut (1966). She has been an editor for the Catholic Book Club and Commonweal, and made frequent radio and television broadcasts, for NBC's The Catholic Hour and CBS' Invitation to Learning, among others.

Religion has always been central in Fremantle's life. She was baptized in the Church of England, became a Muslim at age nine under the influence of Marmaduke Pickthall and a Catholic catechumen while a girl living in France. Fremantle converted to Roman Catholicism in 1943. Her Catholic interests are reflected in two novels, Come to Dust (1941) and By Grace of Love (1957); and in Desert Calling (1949), a biography of Charles de Foucauld exploring the effect of religious conviction; and in the many anthologies she edited.

Fremantle early showed her skill at editing. Volumes edited by her include selections from the Church Fathers, medieval philosophy, Bible stories, papal encyclicals, Christmas stories, and Catholic thoughts, as well as selections from such diverse sources as the Protestant mystics, Mao Tse-tung, and contemporary Latin American writers. Among her translations are two hagiographies, Face of the Saints (1947) and Lives of the Saints (1951).

Fremantle's European background informs her writing, which is rich in literary and historical allusions. Widely read herself, she provides easy access into many areas. Europe: A Journey with Pictures (1954) and Holiday in Europe (1963) introduce Americans to complex cultures by explaining the past but emphasizing present vitality. Fremantle's knowledge of and fascination with the Middle Ages appears in James and Joan (1948), a semifictional study of a 14th-century Scottish poet-king. Without sentimentalizing, Fremantle's widely disseminated The Age of Faith (1957), like her collection of philosophy, The Age of Belief (1955, 1984), convincingly argues that the European Middle Ages have significance today. In Pilgrimage to People (1968), Fremantle combines travel information with international sympathy and Catholic awareness.

Joining the historian's grasp of detail with a delight in words, Fremantle writes in a clear and fluent style, frequently enlivened by wit. She makes accessible to the nonspecialist complex ideas, attitudes, and experiences drawn from her own extensive reading and wide range of interests.

Other Works:

Poems, 1921-1931 (1931). George Eliot (1933). Sicily by F. H. Jackson (edited by Fremantle, 1935). The Wynne Diaries, 1789-1820 (edited by Fremantle, 1936, 1937, 1939). Loyal Enemy: The Life of Marmaduke Pickthall (1938). The Commonweal Reader (edited by Fremantle, 1949). The Greatest Bible Stories: A Catholic Anthology from World Literature (edited by Fremantle, 1951). Mothers: A Catholic Treasury of Great Stories (edited by Fremantle, 1951). Christian Conversation: Catholic Thought for Every Day of the Year (edited by Fremantle, 1953). A Treasury of Early Christianity (edited by Fremantle, 1953). Visionary Novels: Lilith and Phantastes by G. Macdonald (edited by Fremantle, 1954). Christmas Is Here: A Catholic Selection of Stories and Poems (1955). The Papal Encyclicals in Their Historical Context (edited by Fremantle, 1956). Oddsfish! by R. H. Benson (edited by Fremantle, 1957). Fountain of Arethusa by M. Zermatten (translated by Fremantle and C. Fremantle, 1960). This Little Band of Prophets: The British Fabians (1960). Mao Tse-tung: An Anthology of His Writings (edited by Fremantle, 1962). The Social Teachings of the Church (edited by Fremantle, 1963). The Island of Cats (1964). The Protestant Mystics (edited by Fremantle, 1964). A Primer of Linguistics (1973). The Misused Love Letters and Regula Amrain and Her Youngest Son by G. Keller (translated by Fremantle, 1974). Latin American Literature Today (edited by Fremantle, 1977). Woman's Ways to God (1977). Saints Alive: The Lives of Thirteen Heroic Saints (1978). In Love with Love (edited by Fremantle, 1978). "St. Basil" in Saints and Ourselves (1981).


Censorship and Sense: Authorities Discuss Conflicting Views on the Banning of Books (audiocassette, 1971).

Other references:

NYTBR (22 June 1941, 29 Feb. 1948, 27 Nov. 1949, 6 March 1960, 29 Nov. 1970). SR (24 Feb. 1968). TLS (19 Nov. 1964).


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Fremantle, Anne (Jackson)

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