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Hadrian VII par Frederick Rolfe
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Hadrian VII (original 1904; édition 2001)

par Frederick Rolfe (Auteur)

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'If there be one place in all this orb of earth where a secret is a Secret, that place is a Roman Conclave' Part novel, part daydream, part diatribe, this strange masterpiece tells the story of George Arthur Rose, a poor, frustrated writer who lives in a shabby bedsit, saving his cigarette ends and eating soup - until one day he is made Pope. As the first English pontiff in five centuries, he is a mass of contradictions: infallible and petulant, humble and despotic. Yet Hadrian the Seventh is really a knowing self-portrait of its flamboyant author Baron Corvo, a would-be priest with aristocratic pretensions, and one of the greatest eccentrics of English literature.… (plus d'informations)
Membre:Snipert
Titre:Hadrian VII
Auteurs:Frederick Rolfe (Auteur)
Info:New York Review Of Books (2001)
Collections:Liste de livres désirés
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Mots-clés:Aucun

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Hadrian the Seventh par Frederick Rolfe (Author) (1904)

  1. 10
    The Quest for Corvo : An Experiment in Biography par A. J. A. Symons (Cecrow)
  2. 01
    Laura Warholic: Or, The Sexual Intellectual par Alexander Theroux (slickdpdx)
    slickdpdx: Both are stories of embittered artists redeemed, told by authors with a love for language and the esoteric.
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Affichage de 1-5 de 12 (suivant | tout afficher)
Frederick Rolfe was born in London, the son of a piano-tuner, and left school at the age of 14. Rolfe converted to Roman Catholicism and this conversion became a strongly felt desire to join the priesthood himself. Rolfe went to college in Rome but was eventually thrown out because his inability to concentrate on his priestly studies and his erratic behaviour meaning that his desire to join the priesthood was constantly frustrated and never realised. Instead Rolfe became a free-lance writer relying on benefactors for support but he had a tendency to fall out with those who tried to help and support him. He eventually died in poverty in Venice. 'Hadrian the Seventh' is Rolfe's best known novel and many regard the titular character as the author's alter-ego.

'George Arthur Rose,' having originally been rejected for the priesthood and living in poverty as a free-lance writer, finds himself the object of a highly improbable change of mind on the part of the church hierarchy, who then elect him to the papacy. Rose takes the name Hadrian VII and embarks upon a programme of ecclesiastical and geopolitical reform. Dogged by petty jealousies and scurrilous accusations Hadrian's papacy is relatively short lived.

Rolfe was himself an avowed homosexual and Hadrian like his creator soon surrounds himself with young men and abhors the presence of women and children. Hadrian thus becomes an exercise in wish-fulfilment.

It seems highly unlikely that even back in the early 20th century that the Pope would have had the influence amongst politicians that Rolfe seems to imagine that Hadrian has but in todays world this seems ridiculous. This is a rather quirky novel that has almost been totally forgotten. This wasn't a particularly easy read, the prose is grandiose, there are elements of this book that I rather enjoyed, in particular his dealings with the Socialists who were laughable, but there were also some elements that I found rather tedious. It perhaps deserves to be more widely read but in truth I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to any of my friends. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Mar 31, 2023 |
George Arthur Rose is a staunch Catholic and a wannabe-priest, but for twenty years all his efforts to have his vocation made official have been torpedoed either by bad luck, or by bishops disinclined to put up with his difficult character and his erratic behaviour. As a result, Rose, eking out an existence as a freelance writer, has become bitter and easy (and very eager!) to take offence; he takes pride in rubbing his misfortunes in the face of those responsible precisely by ostentatiously not rubbing them in their face. He’s got several magnanimous monologues prepared, for when his tormentors finally see the light and apologize to him. He’s also an inveterate cat person.

So far, the story is really that of the author himself: Frederick Rolfe, the self-styled Baron Corvo, who abbreviated his first name Fr. so as to give the impression of being a priest. But then, one day, Rose gets elected pope. He takes it in stride, and sets out to become the best, most memorable, and most innovative pope ever. Also, he mews occasionally.

Hadrian the Seventh is a fun romp of a book. It’s Roman-Catholic fanfic, a delightful what-if tale that takes its silly premise and runs with it, emphatically not caring about what anyone may think. Rolfe’s pope, scrupulously exact and sternly megalomaniacal, is what the entire book hangs on, lavishing well-deserved attention on him, letting him shine in all his contradictory glory; as such, he joins my pantheon of memorable characters that transcend their book.

And it isn't just the main character -- it’s the entirety of Hadrian the Seventh that so fascinatingly walks that fine line between sincerity and satire. It is written in an elegantly baroque style that is so full of its own aloofness it almost parodies itself; its central character, so impossibly smug, is treated with the utmost gravity; and its attitudes towards women, socialists, non-Catholics and assorted nationalities are ridiculous, yet presented as such self-evidencies and taken so far that it’s hard to take them entirely seriously.

I'm not quite sure just how tongue-in-cheek this book is: is it mostly self-aware over-the-top wishful thinking with an honest desire at its core? Or does it aim to create an exaggerated but mostly honest attempt at what-if? Or was the author unaware of how self-aggrandizing the book is? Or perhaps he was and he intended it so. From what I've read, all of these are possible. (Incidentally, I've also purchased Symons' The Quest for Corvo, a biography of Rolfe (which appears to be a fêted classic in its own right), and will certainly read it.)

Whatever the case may be, Hadrian the Seventh was enormous fun to read, endlessly entertaining and more whimsical than any other book I read this year. ( )
2 voter Petroglyph | Dec 22, 2014 |
Hadrian the Seventh is a megalomaniacal fantasy in which a struggling writer (frequently taken as Rolfe’s alter-ego) is inexplicably made Pope. The book succeeds because both the fictional George Arthur Rose and the actual Frederick Rolfe are better than their respective doubles. Rose as Hadrian constructs a persona “immense, intangible, potent, detestable—and most desirable.” He masters the Roman curia with his remarkable rhetorical prowess, and very nearly secures the peace that would have avoided the Great War. And because we are made to feel how much Hadrian is a creation of Rose, we see that Rolfe was capable of artistic feats that Rose could only dream of. Rolfe’s prose is poignant, grandiose, hilarious and sad. I’m glad I read this. Rose’s guileless, exculpatory nine-page confession before he is appointed to the Chair of Peter is a small masterpiece.

p.s. The introduction by Alexander Theroux in the NYRB edition gives away the ending. It should be an Afterword. ( )
2 voter HectorSwell | Sep 4, 2014 |
Idiosyncratic virtuosic wish-fulfillment. ( )
3 voter slickdpdx | Jun 10, 2013 |
It has been discussed to the point of nausea just how much this book is a reflection of its author, but most of the time these discussions say vastly more about the reader than about the author. Suffice it to say that I find this book an endlessly moving though eccentric search for love, and for the realization of life's purpose. As I write this, I am re-reading HADRIAN for perhaps the tenth time in half a century, and the initial astonioshment at its greatness remains unchanged. A small matter: I am frankly amazed that I had never before noticed the two typos on pp 92 and 93 of the Penguin edition! ( )
2 voter HarryMacDonald | Mar 9, 2013 |
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Nom de l'auteurRôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Rolfe, FrederickAuteurauteur principaltoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Croegaert, GeorgesArtiste de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Mathias, RobertConcepteur de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Theroux, AlexanderIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Weinstock, HerbertIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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'If there be one place in all this orb of earth where a secret is a Secret, that place is a Roman Conclave' Part novel, part daydream, part diatribe, this strange masterpiece tells the story of George Arthur Rose, a poor, frustrated writer who lives in a shabby bedsit, saving his cigarette ends and eating soup - until one day he is made Pope. As the first English pontiff in five centuries, he is a mass of contradictions: infallible and petulant, humble and despotic. Yet Hadrian the Seventh is really a knowing self-portrait of its flamboyant author Baron Corvo, a would-be priest with aristocratic pretensions, and one of the greatest eccentrics of English literature.

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