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Frederick Rolfe

I’ve been exploring a terrific repository of “Rolfeana” curated by blogger/translator James Conway on his very interesting Strange Flowers blog, its tagline — “A cabinet of human curiosities”. If like me you have a soft spot for radical individualists (i.e. transgressive “characters”), then  James’ blog is just the ticket: [i]s a product of the blogger’s obsession with history’s…

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…

Baron Corvo Centenary

To commemorate the centenary of Corvo’s death (October 25, 1913) I’m pleased to discover that Boo-Hooray Gallery will be marking the event with some style (well at least in Venice) – Corvo might well approve. It’s nice that there are others out there who appreciate the Baron. Some vulgarian referee showed up his ignorance about Corvo’s…

Frederick Rolfe a.k.a. Baron Corvo

Given a papal change is underway, Rolf’s Hadrian the Seventh is as timely as ever, and in my view happens to be one of the top five novels of the 20th Century. Here is David Bradshaw’s reliable Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry. Part and parcel of the Corvo legend is Symons’ classic biography of Corvo, Corvo brought to Symons’…

Life as Literature

I’ve been thinking a lot about my instinctive predilection for writers whose life and work bleed into each other, an attraction I felt long before I was fully aware of their biographical details. The first was Kafka; the second Rolfe; the third Musil; the fourth Mishima and the fifth, Toole. I’ve come to the conclusion that these philosophical novelists…