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 will be beneficiant and affectionate but hurled insults at his associates; he inveighed opposed to Puritanism yet was once himself in lots of methods a Puritan: A. L. Rowse used to be a guy of many contradictions.
during this clear-sighted and soaking up biography, Richard Ollard examines the various aspects of Rowse's Protean character to bare a guy who, no matter what he was once responding to - public affairs, the humanities, traditional good looks or occasions in his own lifestyles - did so with great strength and passion.
'An urbane research 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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Additional info for A Man Of Contradictions: A Life Of A. L. Rowse
Like other art forms, it perseveres through adaptation to circumstances. First the old techniques must be mastered so that they may be remolded. They follow a kind of progression which rarely happens sequentially or all at once. Picasso had his blue period; Mozart his early sonatas; new forms gradually absorb then overtake older ones. The first modern diplomatic transformation described by Mattingly followed this pattern, as French and other European envoys learned and extended the ways of Italians.
These were to be mastered by cadres of subject specialists. This was ironic: for all that Wilson paid homage to popular democracy, the progressive impulse, having been co-opted by him at home, continued its push to transform political questions into administrative ones abroad. Even some old diplomats were persuaded of this wisdom. “If Europe and indeed the whole world ... ”2 Little of this was new, either. ”3 The Enlightenment imagined a world governed by reason and civilization, hosting a “family of nations,” perhaps no longer in need of diplomats.
Others would likely agree with the conclusion of W. W. Gottlieb, writing in 1957, that diplomacy is not, despite the unquestionable influence of the personal element, the product of either the goodwill or evil intentions, the blunders or masterstrokes of individuals or nations. 2 This “silent history” or, to use the term of the historian Bernard Bailyn, latent history, may still reveal the active role of diplomacy and its agents. Others, not all traditionalists, may disagree. Both, suggested Tocqueville, may be equally deceived.
A Man Of Contradictions: A Life Of A. L. Rowse by Richard Ollard