Sneha Girap (Editor)

Rose Laure Allatini

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Name  Rose Allatini
Role  Novelist
Books  Despised and rejected

Died  1980, Hastings, United Kingdom

Rose Laure Allatini (23 January 1890—1980) was a novelist who also wrote under the pseudonyms A.T. Fitzroy, Lucian Wainwright, Mrs Cyril Scott, and Eunice Buckley. She is best known for her 1918 novel Despised and Rejected (written under the pen name A T Fitzroy), which was banned under the Defence of the Realm Act as it combines themes of pacifism and homosexuality which were thought "likely to prejudice the recruiting of persons to serve on His Majesty's Forces". Despised and Rejected was published by C. W. Daniel and was taken up by the Bloomsbury Group. The novel draws a connection between the persecution of homosexuals and the rhetoric of imperialism. It tells the story of a homosexual composer who is conscripted for military service; his refusal leads to trial and imprisonment.

Contents

Family

Rose Allatini was born in Vienna, into a large and prosperous Jewish family. Her father, Robert Allatini, had been born in Italy; her mother, Bronislawa ("Bronia") was born in Poland. In 1911, they were living at 18 Holland Park, London, and Robert Allatini was listed in the census as a retired merchant. In 1946, her mother (living at 61B Holland Park) renounced her Italian citizenship upon becoming a naturalized British citizen.

Despised and Rejected

Her novel Despised and Rejected is set among pacifists during World War I. The sexuality of many of the characters in the book is represented as unstable, unusual for the time period. Antoinette, the main female character, at first has a passionate crush on an older woman, and then falls for Dennis, a homosexual who had previously courted her, partly as a disguise for his actual sexuality, and partly in the hope that she might cure him. Dennis is a conscientious objector as well as a homosexual, and the combined themes of pacifism and sexual unorthodoxy made the book one that was bound to cause serious controversy in 1918. Rose Allatini submitted the manuscript to the firm of Allen & Unwin. Stanley Unwin rejected it because of its potential to cause scandal, but suggested that she send it to C.W.Daniel, a committed pacifist who had published several books highly critical of the war. It was decided to issue the book under the pseudonym of 'A. T. Fitzroy' (because she lived in Fitzroy Square). When the book was published, it received unenthusiastic reviews, and some, like Allan Monkhouse, the critic of the Manchester Guardian, expressed a strong distaste for it:

But pacifism is not the main theme. The hero, Dennis Blackwood, walks and talks through a considerable portion of the book before a war breaks out and exhibits himself as a hopeless victim of neurasthenia. He is an abnormal young man, held up for pity as such, but also for admiration. Charity can go no further than look on him as an unhappy invalid. We have no intention of disclosing in what constitutes his abnormality. Those who read his story may regard his malady as ridiculous, others as something worse. A good laugh at Mr Fitzroy’s lack of humour where Dennis is concerned will disperse the rather unwholesome vapours. But what about a pacifist apostle who is so on the ground of abnormality? His whole case is given away.

A campaign to prosecute the book was instigated by journalist James Douglas, who had previously incited the prosecution for indecency of The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence,. He wrote in the magazine London Opinion:

A thoroughly poisonous book, every copy of which ought to be put on the fire forthwith, is Despised and Rejected, by A. T. Fitzroy – probably a pen-name. Of its hideous immoralities the less said the better; but concerning its sympathetic presentation, in the mouths of its ‛hero’ and of other characters of pacifism and conscientious objection, and of sneering at the English as compared with the Hun, this needs to be asked: What is the use of our spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on propaganda, and tens of thousands more on Censorship, while pestiferous filth like this remains unsuppressed? The book is published by C. W. Daniel, Ltd., of Graham House, Tudor Street; and I imagine that it will not be long, after the authorities have examined this literary fungus, before he is a Daniel brought to judgment.

The book was tried at the City of London court at the Mansion House, on October 10, 1918, and Daniel was fined £420 with £40 costs. After the trial, Daniel published a pamphlet defending himself against charges of immorality, and claiming that he had not realised the sexual implications of Allatini's book.

I was assured by the author that the love between the hero and his friend was analogous to that between David and Jonathan. I did not see what has since been pointed out – that certain passages are open to an immoral interpretation. Personally, I would rather that any book were burnt than that I should be party to lending support to depravity of either the homo-sexual or the contra-sexual types.

Later life

From 1914 to 1978, Allatini is known to have written nearly forty novels (some of them under the pseudonym 'Lucian Wainwright' and thirty under the name 'Eunice Buckley'), as well as writing short stories.

Allatini's favourite themes included illness and healing, music, early death, Jewish issues, and the occult.

In May 1921 Allatini married the composer Cyril Scott, like her an enthusiast for Theosophy. They had two children, but later separated. Her son's memoir says that "Except for the war years 1939-45, which she spent with Melanie (J. M. A.) Mills [...] in Beckley, a small village in Sussex, she lived in London, but every year for health reasons she went to Switzerland and Melanie accompanied her.' Both Project Orlando and the Brighton Gay and Lesbian website Brighton Our Story, however, claim that she spent the remainder of her life living with Mills in Rye.

She died in Hastings, Sussex in 1980.

References

Rose Laure Allatini Wikipedia


Similar Topics
The Unknown (1946 film)
Peter Carlstein
John J Miller (author)
Topics
 
B
i
Link
H2
L