Through the Lenses of Frederick Rolfe : “History as It Ought to Have Been and Very Well Might Have Been, but Wasn’t”


MIKEŠ Michal

Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description “Create a world of your own to live in” was Frederick Rolfe’s response as he kept altering the unfavorable conditions of his life with reflections of a reality that he would have preferred. While success and “admiratio” ever eluded him, Rolfe resorted to manufacturing a more suitable, idealized reality that he often felt was withheld from him, thus creating the “history as it ought to have been and very well might have been, but wasn’t.” As a painter, he captured his vision by projecting images on a drawing area. As a photographer, he articulated intimate Uranian desires through pictures that belong to the aesthetic movement of photography from the turn of the 20th century. As a writer, he corrected injustice with his own literary reflections (Rose, Crabbe), even to the point of instructing his future biographers on how they should proceed to judge him. And, as a person, he self-fashioned himself into whom he believed he deserved to be (Fr Austin, Baron Corvo). This presentation will analyze these intersecting reflections within Frederick Rolfe’s works and life before arguing that his Chronicles of the House of Borgia, which has been overlooked by his biographers, is in fact crucial for understanding his self-perception and expectations.
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