Rose Macaulay

English novelist and writer

Emilie Rose Macaulay (1 August 188130 October 1958) was an English novelist.

Pencil sketch of Rose Macaulay


  • Jane: What do you think of his book Arthur?
    Gideon: I don't think of it. I've had no reason to, particularly. I've not had to review it. ...I'm afraid I'm hopeless about novels just now, that's the fact. I'm sick of the form—slices of life served up cold in three hundred pages. Oh, it's very nice; it makes nice reading for people. But what's the use? Except, of course, to kill time for those who prefer it dead. But as things in themselves, as art, they've been ruined by excess. My critical sense is blunted just now. I can hardly feel the difference, though I can see it, between a good novel and a bad one. I couldn't write one, good or bad, to save my life, I know that. And I've got to the stage when I wish other people wouldn't. I wish everyone would shut up, so that we could hear ourselves think...
  • "Take my camel, dear," said my aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.
    • The Towers of Trebizond (1956), opening words
  • Poem me no poems.
    • Quoted in Poetry Review, Autumn 1963
  • Cranks live by theory, not by pure desire. They want votes, peace, nuts, liberty and spinning-looms not because they love these things, as a child loves jam, but because they think they ought to have them. That is one element which makes the crank. Another is lack of proportion, the obsession with one desire or one principle to the minimising or exclusion of others; exaggeration, in fact.
    • "Cranks", Woman's Suffrage: The Common Cause of Humanity, vol. 10, p. 132, June 28, 1918.

Quotes about Rose Macaulay

  • The best book she has written, and that is saying a lot.
    • John Betjeman, review of The Towers of Trebizond in The Daily Telegraph (1956), quoted in J. V. Guerinot, 'Rose Macaulay', in Thomas F. Staley (ed.), British Novelists, 1890–1929: Modernists (1985), p. 152
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