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Having developed into a political junkie at far too early an age, two of my favorite books were Dark Horse, by Fletcher Knebel, and The Wanting of Levine, by Michael Halberstam (brother of David). Both relied on rather far-fetched machinations to put unlikely candidates on the national presidential tickets where they proceeded to thumb their noses at the bosses of their own parties. In 1904, Frederick Rolfe did them one better and used a novel to make himself the first English Pope, from which eminence he proceeded to settle scores with old friends/enemies, the Church, Socialists, etc., etc., etc. Rolfe, a paranoid, spendthrift, homosexual, convert to Catholicism, failed candidate for the priesthood, fake aristocrat, had plenty of axes to grind and it can be amusing to follow the action as he does so with great gusto and employing ornate language along with words he makes up as he goes along, but when, after 366 pages, his fictional doppleganger, George Arthur Rose (Hadrian VII), is finally shot, the reader may wonder what took so long.


Grade: (C)


Frederick Rolfe Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Frederick Rolfe
    -WIKIPEDIA: Hadrian the Seventh
    -GOOGLE BOOK: Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Rolfe (Frederick Baron Corvo)
    -GOOGLE BOOK: The quest for Corvo: an experiment in biography By Alphonse James Albert Symons
    -AUDIO: Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Rolfe (Baron Corvo) (1860-1913) (LibriVox)
    -ESSAY: Corvo's Syndrome and Papal Authority (James Murray, September 1995, Annals Australasia)
    -SPECIAL COLLECTIONS: Baron Corvo's Hadrian VII (Leeds University Library)
    -ARTICLE: A life less ordinary - Baron Corvo comes to Leeds (Leeds University, 29th July 09)
    -ESSAY: The Baron in Iowa (CLARENCE ANDREWS, November 1986, Books at Iowa 45)
    -ESSAY: Papal Bull (Strange Flowers, 7/22/10)
    -ESSAY: Benevolent Deity (Strange Flowers, 7/25/10)
    -ESSAY: The Photographic Experiments of Frederick Rolfe (Baron Corvo) (William Percy, 14 August 2010)
    -ESSAY: FREDERICK ROLFE Baron Corvo (Kevin Nudd)
    -ESSAY: Baron Corvo: The would-be priest, writer and artist who never was (Bizarre)
    -OBITUARY: Donald Weeks (The Telegraph, 20 Feb 2004)
    -ESSAY: Sacred mysteries (Christopher Howse, 03 Feb 2007, The Telegraph)
    -ESSAY: Literalism and beyond: The Characterization of Public Figures in "Hadrian the Seventh" (G. P. Jones, April 1974, Journal of Modern Literature)
    -REVIEW: of Hadrian the Seventh (Ed Grover, Epinions)
    -REVIEW: of Hadrian the Seventh (Henry Pelling, February–March 1960, Labour Review)
    -REVIEW: of Hadrian the Seventh (Innocent Pleasures)
    -REVIEW: of The Desire and the Pursuit of the Whole: The First Complete Edition by Frederick Rolfe (Richard Kaye, Boston Review)
    -PLAY REVIEW: of Hadrian VII (TIME, May. 31, 1968)
    -REVIEW: of Quest for Corvo by A.J.A. Symons (Oxford American)
    -REVIEW: of Quest for Corvo (Joseph Epstein, WSJ)
    -ESSAY: THE SOCIETY’S OTHER FOUNDER (Philip Clark, International Wine & Food Society)
    -REVIEW: of On The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography by A. J. A. Symons (Ben Downing, New Criterion)

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