silverwhistle (silverwhistle) wrote in ruritania,

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An interesting note on Hope, pre-PofZ

There is an essay on Anthony Hope (mainly on his historical novel Simon Dale) in Harold Orel's The Historical Novel from Scott to Sabatini (NY, 1995). Orel says little about the Ruritania books, but notes (p. 118):
...Hope won distinction at an early age, not only for academic ability (scholarships at Marlborough and Balliol, anda first class in classical moderations as well as in literæ humaniores), but for rhetorical skills (President of Debating Society, the Russell Club, and the Union), athletics (running, football), personality (doubtless accentuated by some strong Radical views, a liking for red neckties, and the habit of wearing his hair very long), and journalistic intensity (as editor of the Malburian). Called to the bar by the Middle Temple in 1887, he 'devilled' for R. S. Wright, who was to become a judge, and H. H. Asquith, and was entrusted with an increasing number of briefs by the Great Western Railway. He was also fascinated by politics, which, no less than law or authorship, he was capable of transforming into a career. In 1892, standing as the Liberal candidate for South Buckinghamshire, he was beaten in a creditably-run race by the sitting member Viscount Curzon (afterwards Earl Howe); he was soon to become an expert in the art of drawing-up election petitions.

He also notes (p. 120)
He did not like tragedies, by and large, and turned from a play which amounted to no more than 'a slab of dreariness in which people moan and moon about, bewailing their own helplessness.' A human spirit had to possess some strength, to put up 'a good fight against fate', defying the stars 'even when it is beaten to its knees'.
(Hope quotes from Memories and Notes (1928), p. 1)
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