Macaulay, Rose (1881–1958)

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Macaulay, Rose (1881–1958)

British novelist, poet, historian, journalist, literary critic, anthologist, travel writer, and broadcaster who was known for her caustic wit, satirical comedy, and, in late life, for her religious quest . Name variations: Emilie Macaulay; Dame Rose Macaulay. Born Emilie Rose Macaulay on August 1, 1881, in Rugby, England; died on October 30, 1958, in London of coronary thrombosis; one of seven children of Grace Mary (Conybeare) Macaulay and George Campbell Macaulay (a literary critic, translator, and academic); educated by parents at home, Varazze, Italy, 1887–94, except for six months at an Italian convent school in 1892; Oxford High School for Girls, 1894–99; Somerville College, Oxford University, 1900–03.


Femina-Vie Heureuse Prize for Dangerous Ages (1921); Honorary Litt.D from Cambridge University (1958); James Tait Black Memorial Prize for best novel in 1956 for The Towers of Trebizond ; Dame Commander of the British Empire (1958).

Returned to parental home, Aberystwyth, Wales, to begin career as novelist; with parents in Cambridge (1906–22), overlapping with London literary life from 1911 onward; formed liaison with Gerald O'Donovan (1917–42); central to London literary world (1922–58); published 23 novels of social satire and moral quest, a critical biography of Milton, five books of criticism, four books of history and travel, two volumes of poetry, an anthology, plus numerous uncollected book reviews, essays and newspaper articles (1906–56); frequent BBC radio performer (1934–54).

Selected writings:

(novels) Abbots Verney (1906), The Furnace (1907), The Secret River (1909), The Valley Captives (1911), Views and Vagabonds (1912), The Lee Shore (1912), The Making of a Bigot (1914), Non-Combatants and Others (1916), What Not: A Prophetic Comedy (1918), Potterism: a Tragi-farcical Tract (1920), Dangerous Ages (1921), Mystery at Geneva (1922), Told by an Idiot (1923), Orphan Island (1924), Crewe Train (1926), Keeping Up Appearances (1928), Staying with Relations (1930), They Were Defeated (1932), Going Abroad (1934), I Would Be Private (1937), And No Man's Wit (1940), The World My Wilderness (1950), The Towers of Trebizond (1956); (poetry) The Two Blind Countries (1914), Three Days (1919); (essays and criticism) A Casual Commentary (1925), Catchwords and Claptrap (1926), Some Religious Elements in English Literature (1931), Milton (1934), Personal Pleasures (1935), The Writings of E.M. Forster (1938); (anthology) The Minor Pleasures of Life (1934); (history and travel) Life Among the English (1942), They Went to Portugal (1946), Fabled Shore: from the Pyrenees to Portugal (1949), Pleasures of Ruins (1953), They Went to Portugal Too (1990); (letters) Letters to a Friend: 1950–1952 (1961), Last Letters to a Friend: 1952–1958 (1962), Letters to a Sister (1964).

In 1956, Rose Macaulay, British author and wit, published her last and most admired novel, The Towers of Trebizond, in which her androgynous narrator quests for spiritual perfection in an imperfect modern world of charlatans and fools. The narrator journeys from the ancient Turkish city of Trebizond, site of successive historical Hellenic, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires, to Jerusalem, nexus of continuing religious quarrel. The trek is empowered by a careening, insane, lovelorn white camel, and ends in the company of an ape who cannot make the decisions necessary to shift the gears of a car but can learn Anglican ritual: "When the congregation made the responses and joined the service, it joined too, softly chattering." The flawed, self-excusing narrator, unlike camel and ape, seeks spiritual absolution between poles of unrelinquished love with a married man and Christian morality: "the Church was meant to be a shrine of the decencies, of friendship, integrity, love, of the poetry of conduct, of flickering, guttering candles of conscience." The fictional narrator seeks but denies herself religious solace: "Still the towers of Trebizond, the fabled city, shimmer on the far horizon, gated and walled and held in luminous enchantment. It seems that for me, and however much I must stand outside them, this must for ever be." Macaulay's anguished, spiritually questing Towers of Trebizond was awarded the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize for best novel in 1956. It departed from the caustic, comic novels that had brought Rose Macaulay her first fame in the 1920s.

Moreover, The Towers of Trebizond's rendering of the narrator's clandestine heterosexual love affair contrasted sharply with Rose Macaulay's cultivated public persona. Tall, lean, and athletic, she was seen as "sexless though not unfeminine," this according to her friend Rosamond Lehmann . Storm Jameson found her "elegantly sexless." Observers commonly remarked upon her "sexless" and "ageless" presentation. Indeed, many of Macaulay's prior works had explored gender identities. Her own extremely discreet romantic liaison of 20 years' duration was not made public until a decade after her death and then only after the death of her lover's wife. However, her biographers concur in their understanding that, as Macaulay herself had asserted, The Towers of Trebizond was prompted by her "own story" about an adulterous affair in conflict with Anglican absolution. In 1930, she had alluded to her secret life in an epigraph she had written to introduce her novel Staying With Relations:

Shifting as mist, men's secret selves
Slip like water and drift like waves,
Flow shadow-wise, and peer like elves
Mocking and strange, from the deep caves.

Born on August 1, 1881, in Rugby, England, Emilie Rose Macaulay was the second child, one of four daughters and two sons, of Grace Conybeare Macaulay and George Campbell Macaulay. In his essay included in Studies in Social History, Noel Annan uses Rose Macaulay's pedigree as a hook that unravels the tangled line of intermarriages within the "intellectual aristocracy" of 19th-century England, a group of families characterized by liberal-minded, philanthropic intellectuals. Many in the Macaulay-Conybeare line were clerics. At the time she was born, her father was assistant headmaster at Rugby School. He left this post in 1887, sacrificing his professional career for the sake of his wife's health which was tubercular and deteriorating in the damp British climate. The Macaulays settled southeast of Genoa in the Italian fishing village of Varazze. Grace Macaulay's small inheritance allowed them to live abroad, if frugally; George Macaulay supplemented their income by translating classics and writing works of literary criticism. A gift of £1,000 from Grace's mother allowed them to purchase a villa with terraces that opened directly to the beach and sea, an idyllic playground for Rose and her siblings.

The five older children formed a cohort of "dolphin children." As home teachers, their parents encouraged questioning rather than rote learning: their father taught Latin, Italian, and mathematics, while their mother taught reading, writing, literature, and needlework. George gave benediction and read aloud to his family each evening; Grace ended the day with hymns, readings from The Book of Common Prayer, and fanciful stories about the Christian battle between good and evil. Afternoons were for outdoor play and private reading. Rose Macaulay lived her prepubescence "like a boy," boasting that she would have a naval career once she became a man. The six months she spent in 1892 at a convent school for girls seemed silly to her; learning was by memorization and behaviors rule-bound. Such restriction was in contrast with her free run of the shelves in her parents' library, where she read widely from Herodotus and Homer, Cervantes and Shakespeare, and 19th-century novelists and poets, including Swinburne, Tennyson, Browning, and Shelley. The Macaulay children were also encouraged to write their own verse. Looking back on her childhood, Rose Macaulay reminisced that "poetry flowed into life with surges of exquisite excitement."

In 1894, when Macaulay was 13, her family returned to England to live near Oxford. She and her sisters attended Oxford High School for Girls until she graduated in 1899. According to Jane Emery , one of Macaulay's biographers, the school's late Victorian education in which "moral rectitude was confused with appearance, etiquette, punctuality, and tidiness, … froze the Macaulay girls into social shyness." Although not an outstanding student, Rose did receive a Distinction in History which qualified her for admission to Oxford or Cambridge University. Constrained by family finances, she could not immediately attend university; money for advanced education was reserved for her brothers. A year later, however, her uncle Reginald Macaulay offered her money and secured a place for her as a resident student at Somerville College in Oxford, where she concentrated in modern history and bloomed into a talkative, debating young woman. Rose Macaulay graduated with an Aegrotat, a special ranking for students who would have scored at least a good second but were unable to sit because of illness. Women were allowed to sit for and be ranked on all Oxford University examinations, but it was not until 1920 that they could receive degrees.

At the worse, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.

—Rose Macaulay

In order to avoid controversy, Somerville College followed an official policy of not taking in the suffrage debate that raged at the turn of the century; Macaulay also avoided the suffrage campaign. Even after suffrage had been attained and she began to write for the feminist journal Time and Tide in the 1920s, she refused to write about women's issues, not wishing to be identified as "a writer for women."

As was expected of a young woman of her class, Rose Macaulay returned home to live with her parents who now resided in Aberystwyth, Wales, where her father had taken a position as professor of English language and literature at University College. Here, she began to write her first novel, Abbots Vernay (1906). In 1905, her father was appointed to a lectureship at Cambridge University where Macaulay continued to be a companion to both father and mother. Nevertheless, gradually by 1912 she was spending more and more time immersed in London literary life.

By 1912, she had already published several more novels: The Furnace (1907), The Secret River (1909), and The Valley Captives (1911), all of which asserted the values of conventional lifestyles and virtuous behavior. Views and Vagabonds (1912) lampooned Fabian socialism; for The Lee Shore (1912), she won a best-novel competition sponsored by the publisher Hodder and Stoughton. She was also writing parodies and poems for the Westminster Gazette in London, as was Rupert Brooke, a widely admired poet, who became her swimming and walking companion in a platonic friendship beginning in 1909. Macaulay never shared Brooke's agnosticism and Fabian socialism; instead she began to grope toward some sort of deeper religious faith to relieve the depression caused by the murder of her younger brother on the northwest frontier of India. By 1914, she was actively pursuing Anglican answers to murky ethical issues in consultation with an Anglican confessor in Westminster.

In London during 1910 and 1911, Rupert Brooke introduced Macaulay to his poet friends. Renting a flat of her own, she began to balance time between her parents' home and London. Her circle of friends gradually widened as did her reputation as a splendid conversationalist, gifted in repartee. Through Naomi Royde-Smith , the successful literary editor of the Westminster Gazette whom she met in 1912, Macaulay was further introduced into literary society and assimilated into the Bloomsbury group. Royde-Smith presented her to Walter de la Mare, Hugh Walpole, John Middleton Murry, and Katherine Mansfield , among others. In the essay "Coming to London," Macaulay wrote: "[They] seemed to me, an innocent from the Cam, to be more sparklingly alive than any in my home world …. They were all gay and intelligent and young or youngish, and haloed to me with the glamour and sophistication of Londoners." She was especially enamored of Royde-Smith together with her lover Walter de la Mare: "He and she with her gay and ridiculous wit and her wide literary range and critical appreciation, fitted exactly together."

Macaulay's reaction to the initial months of the First World War was one of high adventure and intensified longing to do man's work. She produced another novel, The Making of a Bigot (1914), and a volume of poetry, The Two Blind Countries (1914). Rupert Brooke died in April 1915 of septicemia contracted in military service; her father then died three months later of a stroke. Macaulay would officially live with her mother until her mother's death in 1925. She began war work as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), scrubbing floors in a military convalescent hospital near her mother's home in Great Shelford near Cambridge. Subsequently, she was happier working as a land girl on a nearby Station Farm. Once again living solely at home, she wrote Non-Combatants and Others (1916). In 1917, she took a position as a junior administrative clerk in the Exemptions Bureau of the Ministry of War in London, commuting from her mother's new domicile in Hedgerly near Beaconfield. Because of her knowledge of Italian culture and language, Macaulay was soon appointed to the Italian Section of the Department for Propaganda in Enemy Countries. Her novel What Not: A Prophetic Comedy (1918) ridiculed the type of bureaucracy she found in the Ministry of War. Her volume of poetry Three Days (1919) includes descriptions of war on the home front.

In the Department for Propaganda during the winter of 1918–19, Macaulay, age 38, met Gerald O'Donovan, age 46, married, an Irish Catholic ex-priest, a novelist (Father Ralph,1913), and publisher's reader. They were in love by 1920, and as biographer Emery writes, "It was a year in which they moved toward a lifetime commitment to be both together and apart, in disregard of their moral convictions." Macaulay lapsed from the Anglican Church; by 1922, she no longer felt she could legitimately receive Holy Communion.

From the end of the First World War until 1922 when Macaulay again moved to her own London flat, she and Naomi Royde-Smith shared a house in Kensington where Macaulay stayed some nights each week. Many observers of the period comment on Royde-Smith's weekly parties, known as "Naomi's Thursdays." They were attended by between 50 and 60 people, mostly writers, publishers, and artists, a mixture of established figures and newcomers. Storm Jameson, then an aspiring novelist, described Royde-Smith as "a little formidable with the air of a younger more affable Queen Victoria " and Macaulay as having a head covered with curls "like a Greek head in a museum" and a way of speaking "in arpeggios" and with "salty tongue." Nevertheless, in her autobiography written 20 years later, Jameson judged Naomi's salon to be "an urbane backwater." Macaulay and Royde-Smith had an emotionally charged falling out in 1922 over Royde-Smith's too public talk about Macaulay's relationship with Gerald O'Donovan. Royde-Smith went on to write novels, the most valued of which is The Tortoiseshell Cat (1925). In 1926, she married Ernest Milton, a well-known British actor.

With the popular success of Macaulay's tenth novel, Potterism (1920), she was able to live on the proceeds of her fiction. Her slang term "potterism" became a faddish '20s expression;

Royde-Smith, Naomi Gwladys (c. 1880–1964)

British journalist, novelist, anthologist, biographer, translator, and playwright . Name variations: Smith (Naomi Gwladys Royde); Mrs. Ernest Milton. Born Naomi Gwladys Smith in Llanwrst, Wales, around 1880 (some sources cite 1875 but birth date unknown); died on July 28, 1964, in a London hospital; eldest daughter of Ann Daisy (Williams) Smith and Michael Holroyd Smith; educated at Clapham High School, London, and at a private school in Geneva, Switzerland; married Ernest Milton (a British actor), in 1926.

Selected writings:

(fiction) The Tortoiseshell Cat (1925), The Housemaid (1926), Skin-Deep (1927), In the Wood (1928), The Lover (1928), Summer Holiday (1929), The Island (1930), The Delicate Situation (1931), The Mother (1931), The Bridge (1932); (short stories) Madame Julia's Tale (1932), Incredible Tale (1932), David (1933), Jake (1935), All Star Cast (1936), For Us in the Dark (1937), Miss Bendix (1938), The Younger Venus (1938), The Altar-Piece (1939), Urchin Moor: A Tale (1939), Jane Fairfax (1940), The Unfaithful Wife (1942), Mildensee: A Romance (1943), Fire-Weed (1944), Love in Mildensee (1948), The Iniquity of Us All (1949), Rosy Trodd (1950), The New Rich (1951), She Always Caught the Post (1953), Melilot: A Tale (1955); (plays) A Balcony (1926), Mafro, Darling (1929), Mrs. Siddons (1931), Pilgrim from Paddington (1933), The Queen's Wigs (1934), Private Room (1934); (miscellaneous) The Double Heart: A Study of Julie de Lespinasse (1931); The Private Life of Mrs. Siddons (1933), Outside Information (1941), The Ox and the Ass at the Manger (translation from French of J. Supervielle, 1945), The State of Mind of Mrs. Sherwood: A Study (1946), The Idol and the Shrine (biography and translation from French of journals of E. de Guérin, 1949).

In the years before the First World War, Naomi Royde-Smith adopted the novelist Rose Macaulay as her protégée, introducing her to her literary friends, including Walter de la Mare, Hugh Walpole, John Middleton Murry, and Katherine Mansfield . Macaulay remembers that she was especially enamored of Royde-Smith and her lover Walter de la Mare, the poet: "He and she with her gay and ridiculous wit and her wide literary range and critical appreciation, fitted exactly together." As the successful literary editor of the Westminister Gazette and a dashing host of literary gatherings, Royde-Smith's patronage was considered enormously influential.

Royde-Smith was born in Llanwrst, Wales, the daughter of Ann Daisy Williams Smith and Michael Holroyd Smith. All biographical references omit her birth date. The Smith family moved to London where Royde-Smith attended Clapham High School and then a private school in Geneva, Switzerland. By 1906, she was responsible for the popular "Problems and Puzzles" page of the Westminister Gazette, characterized in 1964 as the "last literary evening paper that London has known." Between 1912 and 1922, she was the Gazette's powerful literary editor. Many of the important writers of the '20s published their first contributions in her columns.

After the war, until 1922, observers of the period comment on "Naomi's Thursdays," Royde-Smith's weekly parties which were prominent events in postwar London. Her salons, given together with her house mate, Rose Macaulay, attracted a mixture of established and aspiring writers, publishers, and artists. Storm Jameson described Royde-Smith as "a little formidable with the air of a younger more affable Queen Victoria ."

In 1926, Royde-Smith married the British actor Ernest Milton and began to write well-received novels which gently satirized class and gender, such as The Tortoiseshell Cat (1925) and The Delicate Situation (1931), a historical novel set in the Victorian 1840s. Her childhood is detailed in her novel In the Wood, published in America as Children in the Wood. Of The Housemaid (1926), the reviewer for The New York Times wrote: "Cutting as it does across a wide spectrum of contemporary British life, it holds an almost sociological interest." Nevertheless, by 1929 Royde-Smith's novels were considered romantic, whimsical, sentimental comedies. Of her long short story The Lovers (1929), the reviewer for The Spectator noted: "It is all an intangible web of music, golden light, regret, the transmission of dreamy suprasensual emotion." Royde-Smith also wrote a play about Sarah Siddons and A Study of Julie de Lespinasse (1933). Although her plays were performed in London, they were not as highly regarded as her fiction. None of Naomi Royde-Smith's novels have been reprinted. Even her 50 books in the British Library seem hidden, listed as they are under a name that she never used: Smith (Naomi Gwladys Royde).

Royde-Smith died in a London hospital on July 28,1964. Lovat Dickson wrote in tribute that one could tell that Royde-Smith had been "beautiful and young and romantic and clever" because she was beautiful when old and still sharply clever, "keeping her mind in working condition, by writing her novels, plotting them with extreme care and ingenuity."


Dickson, Lovat. "Miss Naomi Royde-Smith [obituary]," in The Times (London). July 30, 1964.

Emery, Jane. Rose Macaulay. London: John Murray, 1991.

Kunitz, Stanley, and Howard Haycroft, eds. Twentieth Century Authors. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1942.

Smith, Constance Babington. Rose Macaulay. London: Collins, 1972.

Jill Benton, Professor of English and World Literature, Pitzer College, Claremont, California

it referred to second-rate sentimentalism, cheap short-cuts, mediocrity, muddle, cant, and self-interest. Attacking shoddy journalism, Macaulay dedicated Potterism "to the unsentimental precisions in thought, who have, on this confused, inaccurate, and emotional planet, no fit habitation." She was striking the satirical note that would characterize her famous novels of the 1920s, including Dangerous Ages (1921), which presented problems central to four generations of women and for which she was awarded the Femina-Vie Heureuse Prize. Others novels followed: Mystery at Geneva (1922), Told by an Idiot (1923), Orphan Island (1924), Crewe Train (1926), Keeping Up Appearances (1928), and Staying With Relations (1930). The critic William C. Frierson described these works in his essay "The Post War Novel, 1919–1929": "The tone of Rose Macaulay's work is sprightly and belies the author's pessimism. But pessimism gradually obtrudes as the reader discovers that the characters which are presented sympathetically acknowledge no values, no obligations, and the pressure of no lasting affection."

In 1925, soon after her mother's death, Rose Macaulay, age 44, established a permanent residence in London. During the mid- to late-1920s, Macaulay traveled often in Italy, France, and the Pyrenees with Gerald O'Donovan. She also joined her brother and sister for an automobile tour of the United States, motoring from Oregon southward to the Mexican border and then across the southwest to Florida. She was an intrepid driver, dangerous and nonchalant, writing in 1935: "I love driving my car…. All is bliss. Wehum songs of triumph, as all charioteers have." Her friendships with Leonard and Virginia Woolf deepened. In her diary, Virginia Woolf appraised Macaulay: "In some lights she has the beautiful eyes of all of us distinguished women writers; the refinement; the clearness of cut; the patience & humbleness. It is her voice and manner that makes me edgy." Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson were also intimates. Macaulay became a regular member of the Friday Hampstead Circle, meeting for games, charades, recitations and sing-alongs with Ivy Compton-Burnett , Victor Gollancz, Max Beerbohm and sometimes James and Nora Joyce . Her biographers assert that no dinner party in London was considered complete without Rose Macaulay's conversational sparkle and wit.

By the early 1930s, according to Emery, Rose Macaulay was worried lest her writing be too popular and not be considered intellectual, this despite the collection of essays, A Casual Commentary (1925), which had been aimed by her publisher at highbrow readers, and another selection of essays, Catchwords and Claptrap (1926) which was published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf's highbrow Hogarth Press. Macaulay began to limit her journalistic assignments to critical and social commentary. In 1931, she produced two works of literary criticism, Some Religious Elements in English Literature and Milton. Her novel of 1932, They Were Defeated, was unlike any she had written before; it was a historical novel about the poet Robert Herrick who lived in the 17th century. The few novels she produced in the comic vein were written half-heartedly, to please her publishers. She began to write a regular column, "Notes on the Margin," for Time and Tide and in 1936 wrote a weekly column, "Marginal Comments," for The Spectator. She was also making frequent appearances in BBC debates and broadcasts. She closed the decade with the first book-length criticism to be published about the works of E.M. Forster.

Macaulay entered politics in the mid-1930s in order to speak for peace. She never became a Marxist, nor did she abandon her Liberal Party affiliation, but she shared many of the younger generation's concern with justice and wrongful use of force; she became friends with younger literati such as Stephen Spender and Rosamond Lehmann. She was a member of the National Council for Civil Liberties headed by E.M. Forster; she collaborated with Daniel George Bunting, compiling a book for the International Peace Campaign on the subject of humanity's varying attitudes toward peace and war; she was a speaker for the Peace Pledge Union, resigning in 1938 after the Germans invaded Austria. When the Second World War broke out, Macaulay, age 59, was quick to find war work; she volunteered and was accepted as an ambulance driver in London, driving on night shifts during bombing raids so that she would have time to write during the day. Her apartment was completely burned out by a bomb in 1941, destroying her own valuable library as well as her father's. She grieved: "My lost books leave a gaping wound in my heart and mind."

In 1939, Gerald O'Donovan, Macaulay's love of over 20 years, was seriously injured in an automobile accident for which she was responsible. Macaulay suffered. Three years later, in 1942, O'Donovan died of cancer. Her guilt, remorse, and pledged love are poignantly described in a short story, "Miss Anstruther's Letters," which, according to her biographer Constance Babington Smith , she wrote in farewell to O'Donovan on his deathbed. The novel she produced eight years later, The WorldMy Wilderness (1950), reflected the sadness of these years. About this novel Penelope Fitzgerald writes: "However faulty the main characters may be, there is one striking fact about them; their mistakes are not the result of caring nothing about each other, but of caring too much."

Macaulay worked to forget her despair. She toured Portugal in 1943 gathering information for her tome on British and Portuguese history, 400 pages of which was published in They Went to Portugal (1946); the rest was published after her death in They Went to Portugal Too (1990). She was a well-known public figure, frequently participating in the BBC radio programs "Critics," "Brains Trust," "Book Reviews," and "Frankly Speaking." She also sat on the Council for the International Liberal Party. In 1946, she motored, alone, some 4,000 miles in Spain and Portugal in order to amass material for her well-received travel and history book, Fabled Shore: From the Pyrenees to Portugal (1949). She sought new friendships. Her relationship with the Classical scholar and historian Gilbert Murray blossomed in 1949. In 1950, she began correspondence with Father John Cowper Hamilton Johnson who had been her Anglican confessor between 1914 and 1916 in Westminster. He was now living in a religious community in Boston. Macaulay made her first confession in 30 years and received absolution in the Anglican Church. Her epistolary friendship with Father Johnson lasted for eight years until her death and is recorded in two volumes of collected letters.

Although Macaulay did not call herself a feminist, she lived her life insisting that women and men were equal. In her novel of 1920, Potterism, she asserted through one of her female avatars that "young women had to wrest what they wanted," and she had done exactly this in her lifetime, believing that all women could. In her last novel, The Towers of Trebizond, she created a feminist narrator who typically recognizes the shared qualities of women and men although she acknowledges that women are clearly disadvantaged:

And it is a fact that women get called rude names more often than men, because it is not expected that they will hit the people who call them names so that they are called old trouts, old bags, cows, tramps, bitches, whores, and many other things, which no one dares to shout after men, though when they are not there men may safely be called sharks, swine, hogs, snakes, curs, and other animals.

Independent and class-bound, eccentric, libertarian, and anti-authoritarian, Rose Macaulay was, nevertheless, keenly aware of the human struggle between human desire and moral behavior located somewhere in Trebizond between the poles of camels and apes. She wrote to Father Johnson in 1951: "Human passions against eternal laws—that is the everlasting conflict." Her moralism based on her faith in Christian sensibilities and human rationality was the foundation of her satire.

On October 30, 1958, at age 77, Rose Macaulay, having chosen a life of "love with no ties," died quickly of a heart attack in her London apartment. She had recently returned from a Hellenic cruise to Trabzon on the Black Sea, the modern incarnation of Trebizond.


Bensen, Alice. Rose Macaulay. NY: Twayne, 1969.

Emery, Jane. Rose Macaulay: A Writer's Life. London: John Murray, 1991.

Macaulay, Rose. "Miss Anstruther's Letters [short story]," in London Calling. Ed. by Storm Jameson. NY: Harper and Brothers, 1942 (reprinted in Rose Macaulay by Constance Babington Smith. London: Collins, 1972).

——. Potterism. NY: Boni and Liveright, 1920.

——. "Problems of a Woman's Life [essay]," in A Casual Commentary. NY: Boni and Liveright, 1926.

——. The Towers of Trebizond. NY: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1956.

——. The World My Wilderness. London: Collins, 1950 (reprinted with an Introduction by Penelope Fitzgerald. London: Virago, 1992).

Smith, Contance Babington. Rose Macaulay. London: Collins, 1972.

suggested reading:

Annan, Noel. "The Intellectual Aristocracy," in Studies in Social History. Ed. by J.H. Plumb. London: Longmans, Green, 1955.

Crawford, Alice. Paradise Pursued: The Novels of Rose Macaulay. NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press of the Associated University Presses, 1995.

Howatch, Susan. Introduction to They Were Defeated by Rose Macaulay. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

Passty, Jeanette N. Eros and Androgyny: The Legacy of Rose Macaulay. NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1988.

Spender, Dale. Time and Tide Wait for No Man. London: Pandora Press, 1984.

Wedgwood, Cicely Veronica. Introduction to They Were Defeated by Rose Macaulay. London: Collins, 1960.


Correspondence held in the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin.

Correspondence with Gilbert Murray, 1934–57, held in Bodleian Library, Oxford University, England.

Family and personal papers, juvenilia, and correspondence held in the E.M. Macaulay Archive in the Wren Library of Trinity College, Cambridge University, England.

Recorded radio broadcasts held in the BBC Archive of Written Records at Reading, England, and in the BBC Archive of Recorded Sound in London.

Jill Benton , Professor of English and World Literature, Pitzer College, Claremont, California

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Macaulay, Rose (1881–1958)

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