Thursday, August 12, 2010

The books continued not to appear

Trevor-Roper was captured by the second, and married into the first. Enemies invariably called him ‘arrogant’. But it seems that he was never quite confident that he belonged in either world; he took on their manner with an exaggerated relish that suggests insecurity. In this, he was unlike the much tougher A.J.P. Taylor, who came to Oxford from middle-class Lancashire and was able to view the place with affectionate detachment. Taylor got on sturdily with his work. Trevor-Roper let himself be drawn into energy-sapping college intrigues, academic beauty contests and professional vendettas. Other scholars took part in all that, but still managed to finish their books. For all his brilliance, and his bursts of intensive research, Trevor-Roper allowed his diligent affectation of an Old Oxford style to dilute his sense of purpose.
Neal Ascherson at the LRB on Hugh Trevor-Roper

1 comment:

Giles W said...

Well OK he may not have written many books but one of my favourites is "The Hermit of Peking" about the great sinologist, fantasist, fraud, and con-man Sir Edmund Backhouse. "The Rise of Christian Europe" is nice and short and readable.