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Hadrian the Seventh: extracts (7)

Then I began to write, simply because of the imperious necessity of expressing myself. And I had much to say. Note please that I asked nothing better than to be a humble chantry-priest, saying Mass for the dead. It was denied me. I turned to express beautiful and holy ideals on canvas. Again I was…

Baron Corvo aka Fr. Rolfe

Born on this date. If you appreciate the anarchic A Confederacy of Dunces you may well enjoy Rolfe’s super funny and outrageous novel Hadrian the Seventh. A classic in its own right is A. J. A. Symons’ biography of Rolfe, The Quest For Corvo. Below: Alec McCowen as Hadrian the Seventh, Mermaid Theatre, April 1968 winning his…

Ralph McInerny on Baron Corvo, the “Spoiled Priest”

Lovely talk by the late Ralph McInerny that opens with the vexed question of what one might mean by the “Catholic novel”, an idea deeply complicated by one of my favourite authors, the one and only Frederick Rolfe aka Baron Corvo, “the most anti-Catholic Catholic” (a la Buñuel). If you appreciate transgressive caustic humour (i.e. you are someone that hasn’t been…