A. L. Rowse

A. L. Rowse

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Alfred Leslie Rowse, CH, FBA (4 December 1903 – 3 October 1997), known professionally as A. L. Rowse and to friends and family as Leslie, was a British historian from Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

. He is perhaps best known for his work on Elizabethan
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 England and his poetry about Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

. He was also a Shakespearean
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 scholar and biographer. He developed a widespread reputation for irascibility and intellectual arrogance.

Politics


In 1931, he contested the parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

ary seat of Penryn and Falmouth
Penryn and Falmouth (UK Parliament constituency)
Penryn and Falmouth was the name of a constituency in Cornwall represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1832 until 1950. From 1832 to 1885 it was a parliamentary borough returning two Members of Parliament , elected by the bloc vote system...

 for the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

, but was unsuccessful, finishing third behind the Liberals. In the general election of 1935
United Kingdom general election, 1935
The United Kingdom general election held on 14 November 1935 resulted in a large, though reduced, majority for the National Government now led by Conservative Stanley Baldwin. The greatest number of MPs, as before, were Conservative, while the National Liberal vote held steady...

 he again proved unsuccessful, however, managed to finish ahead of the Liberal in second place. In both the 1931 and 1935 elections, the Conservative had won with a minority of the vote. He became a supporter of calls made by the likes of Sir Stafford Cripps
Stafford Cripps
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

 for a 'Popular Front
Popular front
A popular front is a broad coalition of different political groupings, often made up of leftists and centrists. Being very broad, they can sometimes include centrist and liberal forces as well as socialist and communist groups...

' whereby Labour and Liberals should unite at election time to defeat the National Government. While Cripps was expelled for his views, Rowse worked on getting 'local arrangements' agreed by Labour and Liberal parties in Devon and Cornwall, making a common cause with the Liberal MP Richard Acland
Richard Acland
Sir Richard Thomas Dyke Acland, 15th Baronet was one of the founding members of the British Common Wealth Party. He had previously been a Liberal Member of Parliament and joined the Labour Party in 1945...

. A general election was expected to take place in 1939, and Rowse, who was again Labour's candidate for Penryn & Falmouth, was not expected to have a Liberal opponent which would make his chances of winning much greater. However, due to outbreak of war
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the election did not take place. This was in effect the end of his political career.

Life


Rowse was born in Tregonissey near St Austell
St Austell
St Austell is a civil parish and a major town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated on the south coast approximately ten miles south of Bodmin and 30 miles west of the border with Devon at Saltash...

, Cornwall, the son of Richard Rowse, a china clayworker, and Annie (née Vanson). His parents were poor and semi-illiterate but despite his origins, he won a place at St. Austell Grammar School
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

 (now Poltair School
Poltair School
Poltair School, located on the site of the former St Austell Grammar School, is a specialist Sports College.-Admissions:It has educational links with schools in Dithmarschen, Germany, notably the Gymnasium Heide-Ost...

 - who have named part of their curriculum the Rowse Pathway) and then a scholarship to Christ Church
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...

, Oxford in 1921. He was encouraged in his pursuit of an academic career by fellow Cornish man of letters, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch
Arthur Quiller-Couch
Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch was a Cornish writer, who published under the pen name of Q. He is primarily remembered for the monumental Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900 , and for his literary criticism...

, who lived at Polperro
Polperro
Polperro is a village and fishing harbour on the south-east Cornwall coast in South West England, UK, within the civil parish of Lansallos. Situated on the River Pol, 4 miles west of the neighbouring town of Looe and west of the major city and naval port of Plymouth, it is well-known for...

 and who recognised his ability from an early age. Rowse had doubts about his paternity and paid particular attention to his mother's association with a local farmer and butcher from Polgooth
Polgooth
Polgooth is a former mining village in south Cornwall, United Kingdom. It lies mainly in the parish of St Mewan and partly in the parish of St Ewe...

, near St. Austell, Frederick William May (1872–1953).

Rowse had planned to study English literature, having developed an early love of poetry, but was persuaded to read history. He was a popular under-graduate and made many friendships that lasted for life. He graduated with first class honours in 1925 and was elected a Fellow of All Souls College
All Souls College, Oxford
The Warden and the College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford or All Souls College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England....

 the same year. In 1929, he was awarded his Master of Arts
Master of Arts (Oxbridge)
In the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, Bachelors of Arts of these universities are admitted to the degree of Master of Arts or Master in Arts on application after six or seven years' seniority as members of the university .There is no examination or study required for the degree...

 degree, and in 1927 was appointed lecturer at Merton College, where he stayed until 1930. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

.

He chose to continue his career at Oxford becoming Sub-Warden of All Souls College. In 1952, he failed in his candidacy for election as Warden against John Sparrow and shortly afterwards began his regular trips to The Huntington Library
The Huntington Library
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is an educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington in San Marino, in the San Rafael Hills near Pasadena, California in the United States...

 in California where for many years he was a Senior Research Fellow. He received a doctorate from Oxford University in 1953. After delivering the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

's 1957 Raleigh Lecture on History about Sir Richard Grenville
Richard Grenville
Sir Richard Grenville was an English sailor, sea captain and explorer. He took part in the early English attempts to settle the New World, and also participated in the fight against the Spanish Armada...

's place in English history he became a Fellow of the Academy in 1958. Despite his academic and social success, he remained proud of his Cornish roots. He retired from Oxford in 1973 to Trenarren House, his Cornish home, from where he remained active as writer, reviewer and conversationalist until immobilised by a stroke the year before his death. His ashes are buried in the Campdowns Cemetery, Charlestown
Charlestown, Cornwall
Charlestown is a village and port on the south coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom, in the parish of St Austell Bay. It is situated approximately south east of St Austell town centre....

 near St Austell
St Austell
St Austell is a civil parish and a major town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated on the south coast approximately ten miles south of Bodmin and 30 miles west of the border with Devon at Saltash...

. There is a commemorative plaque to him in Truro Cathedral
Truro Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro is an Anglican cathedral located in the city of Truro, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom. It was built in the Gothic Revival architectural style fashionable during much of the nineteenth century, and is one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom...

 and a memorial stone on Black Head, overlooking St Austell Bay almost within sight of Trenarren.

Character


Rowse published around 100 books. He became a celebrated author and lecturer from the 1940s and travelled widely, especially in the United States. He also published many popular articles in newspapers and magazines in Great Britain and the United States. His brilliance was widely recognised, and his knack for the sensational, as well as his academic boldness (which some considered to be irresponsible carelessness), sustained his reputation. His opinions on rival popular historians, such as Hugh Trevor-Roper and A.J.P. Taylor, were expressed sometimes in very ripe terms.

In his later years, Rowse moved increasingly towards the political right, and many considered him to be part of the Tory tradition by the time he died. One of Rowse's life-long themes in his books and articles was his condemnation of the National Government's policy of appeasement
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

 in the 1930s and the economic and political consequences for Great Britain of fighting a second war with Germany. Another was his horror at the degradation of standards in modern society. He is reported as saying : "This filthy twentieth century. I hate its guts".

Bibliophile


One of Rowse's great enthusiasms was collecting books, and he owned many first editions, many of them bearing his acerbic annotations. For example, his copy of the January 1924 edition of The Adelphi
Adelphi (magazine)
The Adelphi or New Adelphi was an English literary journal published between 1923 and 1955.founded by John Middleton Murry. The first issue appeared in June 1922, with issues published monthly thereafter. Between August 1927 and September 1930 it was renamed the New Adelphi and issued quarterly...

 magazine edited by John Middleton Murry
John Middleton Murry
John Middleton Murry was an English writer. He was prolific, producing more than 60 books and thousands of essays and reviews on literature, social issues, politics, and religion during his lifetime...

 bears a pencilled note after Murry's poem In Memory of Katherine Mansfield
Katherine Mansfield
Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp Murry was a prominent modernist writer of short fiction who was born and brought up in colonial New Zealand and wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield. Mansfield left for Great Britain in 1908 where she encountered Modernist writers such as D.H. Lawrence and...

: 'Sentimental gush on the part of JMM. And a bad poem. A.L.R.'

Upon his death in 1997 he bequeathed his book collection to the University of Exeter
University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is a public university in South West England. It belongs to the 1994 Group, an association of 19 of the United Kingdom's smaller research-intensive universities....

, and his personal archive of manuscripts, diaries, and correspondence. In 1998 the University Librarian selected about sixty books from Rowse’s own working library and a complete set of his published books. The Royal Institution of Cornwall
Royal Institution of Cornwall
The Royal Institution of Cornwall was founded in Truro, Cornwall, United Kingdom, in 1818 as the Cornwall Literary and Philosophical Institution. The Institution was one of the earliest of seven similar societies established in England and Wales. The RIC moved to its present site in River Street...

 selected some of the remaining books, and the rest were sold to dealers.

Career


Rowse wrote poetry all his life. He contributed poems to Public School Verse whilst at St Austell Grammar School. He also had verse published in Oxford 1923, Oxford 1924, and Oxford 1925. His collected poems A Life were published in 1981. The poetry is mainly autobiographical, descriptive of place (especially Cornwall) and people he knew and cared for, e.g. The Progress of Love, which describes his platonic love for Adam von Trott
Adam von Trott zu Solz
Adam von Trott zu Solz was a German lawyer and diplomat who was involved in the conservative opposition to the Nazi regime, and who played a central part in the 20 July Plot...

, a handsome and aristocratic German youth who studied at Oxford in the 1930s and who was later executed for his part in the July Plot
July 20 Plot
On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The plot was the culmination of the efforts of several groups in the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi-led German government...

 of 1944 to kill Hitler. Unusually for a British poet, Rowse wrote a great number of poems inspired by American scenery. He maintained that in writing poetry one could get to the truth of a matter rather more than in prose.

His first book was On History, a Study of Present Tendencies published in 1927 as the seventh volume of Kegan Paul's Psyche Miniature General Series. In 1931 he contributed to T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

's quarterly review The Criterion. In 1935 he co-edited Charles Henderson
Charles G. Henderson
Charles Gordon Henderson was a historian and antiquarian of Cornwall.Charles Henderson's only quarrel with Cornwall was that it had given him no more than a quarter of his blood. His father, Major J. S. Henderson, was half Scottish and half of the Irish family of Newenham: his mother was a...

's Essays in Cornish History for the Clarendon Press. His best-seller was his first volume of autobiography A Cornish Childhood, first published by Jonathan Cape in 1942, that has gone on to sell nearly half a million copies worldwide. It describes his hard struggle to get to the University of Oxford and his love/hate relationship with Cornwall. Highly readable, it contains some of his best prose.

Shakespearean scholarship


Rowse's early works focus on 16th-century England and his first full-length historical monograph, Sir Richard Grenville of the Revenge (1937), was a biography of a 16th-century sailor. His next was Tudor Cornwall (1941), a lively detailed account of Cornish society in the 16th century. He consolidated his reputation with a one-volume general history of England, The Spirit of English History (1943), but his most important work was the historical trilogy The Elizabethan Age: The England of Elizabeth (1950), The Expansion of Elizabethan England (1955), and The Elizabethan Renaissance (1971–72), respectively examine the society, overseas exploration, and culture of late 16th-century England.

In 1963 Rowse began to concentrate on Shakespeare, starting with a biography in which he claimed to have dated all the sonnets, identified Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

 as the suitor's rival and solved all but one of the other problems posed by the sonnets. His failure to acknowledge his reliance upon the work of other scholars alienated some of his peers, but he won popular acclaim. In 1973 he published Shakespeare the Man, in which he claimed to have solved the final problem - the identity of the 'Dark Lady': from a close reading
Close reading
Close reading describes, in literary criticism, the careful, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of text. Such a reading places great emphasis on the particular over the general, paying close attention to individual words, syntax, and the order in which sentences and ideas unfold as they...

 of the sonnets and the diaries of Simon Forman
Simon Forman
Simon Forman was arguably the most popular Elizabethan astrologer, occultist and herbalist active in London during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and James I of England. His reputation, however, was severely tarnished after his death when he was implicated in the plot to kill Sir Thomas Overbury...

, he asserted that she must have been Emilia Lanier
Emilia Lanier
Emilia Lanier, also spelled Lanyer, was the first Englishwoman to assert herself as a professional poet through her single volume of poems, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum...

, whose poems he would later collect. He suggested that Shakespeare had been influenced by the feud between the Danvers and Long families in Wiltshire, when he wrote Romeo and Juliet. The Danverses were friends of the 3rd Earl of Southampton.

Rowse's "discoveries" about Shakespeare's sonnets amount to the following:
  • 1. The Fair Youth was the 19-year-old Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
    Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
    Henry Wriothesley , 3rd Earl of Southampton , was the second son of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton, and his wife Mary Browne, Countess of Southampton, daughter of the 1st Viscount Montagu...

    , extremely handsome and bisexual.
  • 2. The sonnets were written 1592-1594/5.
  • 3. The "rival poet" was the famously homosexual Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

    .
  • 4. The "Dark Lady" was Emilia Lanier. While Rowse's confidence that he had identified the Dark Lady caused some amusement, his use of the diaries of Simon Forman influenced other scholars.
  • 5. Christopher Marlowe's death is recorded in the sonnets.
  • 6. Shakespeare was a heterosexual man, who was faced with an unusual situation when the handsome, young, bisexual Earl of Southampton fell in love with him.


Rowse was dismissive of those who rejected his views, but he did not make such assertions without supplying reasons. In the case of Shakespeare, he emphasised heterosexual inclinations by noting that Shakespeare had managed to get an older woman pregnant by the time he was 18, and was consequently obliged to marry her. Moreover, he had saddled himself with three children by the time he was 21. In the sonnets, Shakespeare's explicit erotic interest lies with the Dark Lady; he obsesses about her. Shakespeare was still married and therefore carrying on an extramarital affair.

Rowse, who was openly gay
Coming out
Coming out is a figure of speech for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity....

, also wrote on the subject of human sexuality in his controversial book Homosexuals In History (1977).

Other subjects


He wrote other biographies of English historical and literary figures, and many other historical works. Among his biographies are ones of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Southampton, the major players in the sonnets. A devoted cat-lover, he also wrote the biographies of several cats who came to live with him at Trenarren, claiming that it was as much a challenge to write the biography of a favourite cat as it was a Queen of England. He also published a number of short stories, mainly about Cornwall, of interest more for their thinly-veiled autobiographical resonances than their literary merit. His last book, My View of Shakespeare, published in 1996, summed up his life-time's appreciation of The Bard of Stratford. The book was dedicated "To HRH the Prince of Wales in common devotion to William Shakespeare".

Honours


Rowse was a Fellow
Fellow
A fellow in the broadest sense is someone who is an equal or a comrade. The term fellow is also used to describe a person, particularly by those in the upper social classes. It is most often used in an academic context: a fellow is often part of an elite group of learned people who are awarded...

 of the Royal Historical Society
Royal Historical Society
The Royal Historical Society was founded in 1868. The premier society in the United Kingdom which promotes and defends the scholarly study of the past, it is based at University College London...

 and of the Royal Society of Literature
Royal Society of Literature
The Royal Society of Literature is the "senior literary organisation in Britain". It was founded in 1820 by George IV, in order to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent". The Society's first president was Thomas Burgess, who later became the Bishop of Salisbury...

. He was awarded an Honorary D.Litt by the University of Exeter
University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is a public university in South West England. It belongs to the 1994 Group, an association of 19 of the United Kingdom's smaller research-intensive universities....

 in 1960 and a D.C.L. by the University of New Brunswick
University of New Brunswick
The University of New Brunswick is a Canadian university located in the province of New Brunswick. UNB is the oldest English language university in Canada and among the first public universities in North America. The university has two main campuses: the original campus founded in 1785 in...

, Fredericton, Canada, the same year. He was elected to the Athenaeum
Athenaeum Club, London
The Athenaeum Club, usually just referred to as the Athenaeum, is a notable London club with its Clubhouse located at 107 Pall Mall, London, England, at the corner of Waterloo Place....

 under Rule II in 1972, received the Benson Medal
Benson Medal
The Benson Medal is a medal awarded by the Royal Society of Literature in the UK.It was founded in 1916 by A. C. Benson who was a Fellow of the Society, to honour those who produce "meritorious works in poetry, fiction, history and belles-lettres."...

 of the Royal Society of Literature
Royal Society of Literature
The Royal Society of Literature is the "senior literary organisation in Britain". It was founded in 1820 by George IV, in order to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent". The Society's first president was Thomas Burgess, who later became the Bishop of Salisbury...

 in 1982 and was made a Companion of Honour (somewhat belatedly) in the 1997 New Years' Honours List. In 1968 he was made a Bard
Bard
In medieval Gaelic and British culture a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities.Originally a specific class of poet, contrasting with another class known as fili in Ireland...

 of Gorseth Kernow
Gorseth Kernow
Gorseth Kernow is a non-political Cornish organisation, which exists to maintain the national Celtic spirit of Cornwall in the United Kingdom.-History:...

, taking the bardic name
Bardic name
A bardic name is a pseudonym, used in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany, by poets and other artists, especially those involved in the eisteddfod movement....

 Lef A Gernow ('Voice of Cornwall'), reflecting his high standing in the Cornish community. He did not receive the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 that he once coveted or a knighthood that many thought he deserved.

Posthumous reputation


Rowse was a hoarder and boasted that his unpublished diaries, journals, letters and pocket books would keep a Rowse industry going long after his death, in the manner of Boswell
James Boswell
James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland; he is best known for the biography he wrote of one of his contemporaries, the English literary figure Samuel Johnson....

 or Horace Walpole. The full force of this industry has taken time to get up steam: extracts chosen from his diaries for posthumous publication in 2003 proved disappointing, as it appeared that most of the more interesting material had already been quarried by Rowse himself for publication in his lifetime and the remainder seemed somewhat banal. It remains to be seen whether there is scope for a more lively (and possibly controversial) edition of diary extracts. A collected edition of Rowse's many letters has yet to be undertaken. Meanwhile, his posthumous academic reputation is on the rise. In books such as Tudor Cornwall and The Expansion of Elizabethan England he can be seen as a pioneer of the new British historiography that recognises the cultural differences of the constituent parts of the British Isles. Several of his best books remain in print or have been reprinted, and various authors have attempted analysis of his notoriously complex personality - see Biography below.

In the mass media



As well as his own appearances on radio and television, Rowse has been depicted in various TV drama documentaries about British politics in the 1930s and appeasement.

Christopher William Hill's radio play
Radio drama
Radio drama is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance, broadcast on radio or published on audio media, such as tape or CD. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story...

 Accolades, re-broadcast on BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 in March 2007 as a tribute to its star Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
Ian William Richardson CBE was a Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of the Machiavellian Tory politician Francis Urquhart in the BBC's House of Cards trilogy. He was also a leading Shakespearean stage actor....

 who had died the previous month, covers the period leading up to the publication of Shakespeare the Man in 1973 and publicity surrounding Rowse's unshakable confidence that he had discovered the identity of the Dark Lady of the Sonnets. It was broadcast yet again on 9 July 2008.

A Cornish Childhood has also been adapted for voices (in the style of Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood is a 1954 radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, adapted later as a stage play. A movie version, Under Milk Wood directed by Andrew Sinclair, was released during 1972....

) by Judith Cook, and is available from Plumstone Productions.http://www.ConnectCornwall.com

Mentioned in the parody "Diary by Isaiah Berlin" as told to Craig Brown, Private Eye no 1239, 9 July 2009, in which ALR plans a dinner for HRH Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II and the younger daughter of King George VI....

 at All Souls College.

Selected works

  • On History: a Study of Present Tendencies, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1927
  • Science and History: a New View of History, London: W. W. Norton, 1928
  • Politics and the Younger Generation, London: Faber & Faber, 1931
  • The Question of the House of Lords
    House of Lords
    The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

    , London: Hogarth Press, 1934
  • Queen Elizabeth
    Elizabeth I of England
    Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

     and Her Subjects (with G. B. Harrison), London: Allen & Unwin, 1935
  • Mr. Keynes and the Labour Movement, London: Macmillan, 1936
  • Sir Richard Grenville of the "Revenge", London: Jonathan Cape, 1937
  • Tudor Cornwall
    Cornwall
    Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

    , London: Jonathan Cape, 1941
  • A Cornish Childhood, London: Jonathan Cape, 1942
  • The Spirit of English History, London: Jonathan Cape, 1943
  • The English Spirit: Essays in History and Literature, London: Macmillan, 1944
  • West-Country Stories, London: Macmillan, 1945
  • The Use of History (key volume in the "Teach Yourself History" series), London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1946
  • The End of an Epoch: Reflections on Contemporary History, London: Macmillan, 1947
  • The England of Elizabeth: the Structure of Society. London: Macmillan, 1950
  • The English Past: Evocation of Persons and Places, London: Macmillan, 1951
  • An Elizabethan Garland, London: Macmillan, 1953
  • The Expansion of Elizabethan England, London: Macmillan, 1955
  • The Early Churchills, London: Macmillan, 1956
  • The Later Churchills, London: Macmillan, 1958
  • The Elizabethans and America: The Trevelyan Lectures at Cambridge, 1958, London, Macmillan, 1959
  • St Austell
    St Austell
    St Austell is a civil parish and a major town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated on the south coast approximately ten miles south of Bodmin and 30 miles west of the border with Devon at Saltash...

    : Church, Town, Parish, St Austell: H. E. Warne, 1960
  • All Souls
    All Souls College, Oxford
    The Warden and the College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford or All Souls College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England....

     and Appeasement
    Appeasement
    The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

    : a Contribution to Contemporary History, London: Macmillan, 1961
  • Ralegh
    Walter Raleigh
    Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

     and the Throckmortons, London: Macmillan, 1962
  • William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

    : a Biography, London: Macmillan, 1963
  • Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

    : a biography, London: Macmillan, 1964
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets, London: Macmillan, 1964
  • A Cornishman at Oxford
    Oxford
    The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

    , London: Jonathan Cape, 1965
  • Shakespeare's Southampton: Patron of Virginia, London: Macmillan, 1965
  • Bosworth Field and the Wars of the Roses
    Wars of the Roses
    The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

    , London: Macmillan, 1966
  • Cornish Stories, London: Macmillan, 1967
  • A Cornish
    Cornwall
    Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

     Anthology, London: Macmillan, 1968
  • The Cornish in America, London: Macmillan, 1969
  • The Elizabethan Renaissance: the Life of Society, London: Macmillan, 1971
  • The Elizabethan Renaissance: the Cultural Achievement, London: Macmillan, 1972
  • The Tower of London
    Tower of London
    Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

     in the History of the Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1972
  • Shakespeare The Man, London: Macmillan, 1973
  • Windsor Castle
    Windsor Castle
    Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

     In the History of the Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974
  • Victorian and Edwardian Cornwall from old photographs, London: Batsford, 1974 (Introduction and commentaries by Rowse; ten extracts from Betjeman)
  • Simon Forman
    Simon Forman
    Simon Forman was arguably the most popular Elizabethan astrologer, occultist and herbalist active in London during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and James I of England. His reputation, however, was severely tarnished after his death when he was implicated in the plot to kill Sir Thomas Overbury...

    : Sex and Society in Shakespeare's Age, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974
  • Discoveries and Reviews: from Renaissance to Restoration, London: Macmillan, 1975
  • Oxford
    Oxford
    The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

    : In the History of the Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975
  • Jonathan Swift
    Jonathan Swift
    Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

    : Major Prophet, London, Thames & Hudson, 1975
  • A Cornishman Abroad, London: Jonathan Cape, 1976
  • Matthew Arnold
    Matthew Arnold
    Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator...

    : Poet and Prophet, London: Thames & Hudson, 1976
  • Homosexuals In History, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1977
  • Shakespeare the Elizabethan, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1977
  • Milton
    John Milton
    John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

     the Puritan
    Puritan
    The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

    : Portrait of a Mind (London: Macmillan, 1977
  • The Byrons and the Trevanions, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1978)
  • A Man of the Thirties, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1979
  • Memories of Men and Women, London: Eyre Methuen, 1980
  • Shakespeare's Globe: his Intellectual and Moral Outlook, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1981
  • A Life: Collected Poems, Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1981
  • Eminent Elizabethans, London: Macmillan, 1983
  • Night at the Carn and Other Stories, London: William Kimber, 1984
  • Shakespeare's Characters: a Complete Guide, London: Methuen, 1984
  • Glimpses of the Great, London: Methuen, 1985
  • The Little Land of Cornwall
    Cornwall
    Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

    , Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1986
  • A Quartet of Cornish Cats, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986
  • Stories From Trenarren, London: William Kimber, 1986
  • Reflections on the Puritan
    Puritan
    The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

     Revolution, London: Methuen, 1986
  • The Poet Auden
    W. H. Auden
    Wystan Hugh Auden , who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet,The first definition of "Anglo-American" in the OED is: "Of, belonging to, or involving both England and America." See also the definition "English in origin or birth, American by settlement or citizenship" in See also...

    : a Personal Memoir, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987
  • Court and Country: Studies in Tudor Social History, Brighton: Harvester Press, 1987
  • Froude
    James Anthony Froude
    James Anthony Froude , 23 April 1818–20 October 1894, was an English historian, novelist, biographer, and editor of Fraser's Magazine. From his upbringing amidst the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement, Froude intended to become a clergyman, but doubts about the doctrines of the Anglican church,...

     the Historian: Victorian Man of Letters, Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1987
  • Quiller-Couch: a Portrait of "Q", London: Methuen, 1988
  • A. L. Rowse's Cornwall
    Cornwall
    Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

    : a Journey through Cornwall's Past and Present, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988
  • Friends and Contemporaries, London: Methuen, 1989
  • The Controversial Colensos, Redruth: Dyllansow Truran, 1989
  • Discovering Shakespeare: a Chapter in Literary History, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989
  • Four Caroline Portraits, London: Duckworth, 1993
  • All Souls
    All Souls College, Oxford
    The Warden and the College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford or All Souls College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England....

     in My Time, London: Duckworth, 1993
  • The Regicides and the Puritan
    Puritan
    The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

     Revolution, London: Duckworth, 1994
  • Historians I Have Known, London: Duckworth, 1995
  • My View of Shakespeare, London: Duckworth, 1996
  • Cornish
    Cornwall
    Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

     Place Rhymes, Tiverton: Cornwall Books, 1997 (Posthumous commemorative volume begun by the author)

Biography and bibliography


  • Capstick, Tony
    Tony Capstick
    Joseph Anthony 'Tony' Capstick was an English comedian, actor, musician and broadcaster.-Life and career:...

     (1997) A. L. Rowse: an Illustrated Bibliography. Wokingham: Hare's Ear Publication ISBN 0-9515686-5-5
  • Cauveren, Sydney (2000) A. L. Rowse: a Bibliophile's Extensive Bibliography. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press ISBN 0-8108-3641-6
  • Jacob, Valerie (2001) Tregonissey to Trenarren: A. L. Rowse - The Cornish Years. St. Austell: Valerie Jacob ISBN 0-9541505-0-3
  • Ollard, Richard
    Richard Ollard
    Richard Ollard was an English historian and biographer. He is best known for his work on the English Restoration period.-Life:...

     (1999) A Man of Contradictions: a Life of A. L. Rowse London: Allen Lane ISBN 0-7139-9353-7
  • Ollard, Richard
    Richard Ollard
    Richard Ollard was an English historian and biographer. He is best known for his work on the English Restoration period.-Life:...

     (2003) The Diaries of A. L. Rowse. London: Allen Lane ISBN 0-7139-9572-6
  • Whetter, James
    James Whetter
    James C. A. Whetter is a noted Cornish historian and editor of The Cornish Banner , a Cornish journal. His books include The History of Glasney College Padstow: Tabb House, 1988; Cornwall in the Seventeenth Century. Padstow: Lodenek Press, 1974; and The History of Falmouth Redruth: Dyllansow...

     (2003) Dr. A. L. Rowse: Poet, Historian, Lover of Cornwall Gorran, St. Austell: Lyfrow Trelyspen ISBN 0-9539972-1-9
  • Payton, Philip
    Philip Payton
    Philip John Payton is a British historian and Professor of Cornish and Australian Studies at the University of Exeter and Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies based at Tremough, just outside Penryn, Cornwall.-Birth and education:...

     (2005) A. L. Rowse and Cornwall Exeter: University of Exeter Press ISBN 0-85989-744-3
  • Adamson, Donald
    Donald Adamson
    Donald Adamson is a historian, biographer, philosophical writer, textual scholar, literary critic, and translator of French literature...

     is due to publish a biography of A. L. Rowse (from a friend's perspective), see article in the International Literary Quarterly

External links