X
The Anti-Clerical

The roots of Patmore's anti-clericalism spread as widely as those which nourished his politics, though in different directions.

Osbert Burdett has suggested that the poet of marriage, who proclaimed that "the proper study of mankind was woman," so much preferred the company of women to men that this both affected his capacity for friendship with men and led to an antipathy for bachelors, especially priests. Yet he was friendly with men as different as Gosse and Carlyle, Ruskin and. Frank Harris, Francis Thompson and Robert Bridges. He even numbered priests among his friends, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Monsignor Rouse. He also enjoyed the company of priests and cardinals in Rome. Yet it is evident that he preferred women to men and that among men he sometimes preferred listeners to talkers, though he was content to listen to Carlyle and to Hopkins.

He had a certain arrogance in later life, which Sir Herbert Read has attributed to lack of affection in his mother and lack of reliability in his father. If this is so, the compensation of arrogance was only taken when he no longer required it, though his isolation may have created a later need to reinforce his position. A man of similar assertive personality, Hilaire Belloc, who knew how to be scornful, once admitted, "I know that all contempt is acid, and that no man drinks it to his profit," and the contempt that Patmore had for

-151-

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Coventry Patmore
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • I - Extravagant Contradictions 1
  • II - Father of the Man 10
  • III - Before the Angel 25
  • IV - Verse at Home 47
  • V - Love and Death 62
  • VI - Travel to Rome 80
  • VII - Second Spring 96
  • VIII - Lourdes and Virginity 122
  • IX - The Patriarch 135
  • X - The Anti-Clerical 151
  • XI - Root and Flower 172
  • XII - The Independent 198
  • Note on Sources 207
  • Index 209
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