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A L Rowse

A L Rowse

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Alfred Leslie Rowse, CH, FBA (4 December 1903 – 3 October 1997), known professionally as A. L. Rowse and to his friends and family as Leslie, was a prolific Cornish historian. He is perhaps best known for his poetry about Cornwall and his work on Elizabethan England. He was also a Shakespearean scholar and biographer. He developed a widespread reputation for irascibility and intellectual arrogance.

One of Rowse's great enthusiasms was collecting books, and he owned many first editions, many of them bearing his acerbic annotations. For example, his copy of the January 1924 edition of The Adelphi magazine edited by John Middleton Murry bears a pencilled note after Murry's poem In Memory of Katherine Mansfield: 'Sentimental gush on the part of JMM. And a bad poem. A.L.R.'

Upon his death in 1997 he bequeathed his book collection to the University of Exeter, and his personal archive of manuscripts, diaries, and correspondence. In 1998 the University Librarian selected about sixty books from Rowse’s own working library and a complete set of his published books. The Royal Institution of Cornwall selected some of the remaining books, and the rest were sold to dealers.


On History, A Study of Present Tendencies,  1927
Science and History: A New View of History, 1928
Politics and the Younger Generation, 1931
The Question of the House of Lords, 1934
Queen Elizabeth and Her Subjects (with G. B. Harrison), 1935
Mr. Keynes and the Labour Movement1936
Sir Richard Grenville of the "Revenge", 1937
Tudor Cornwall, 1941
A Cornish Childhood, 1942
The Spirit of English History, 1943
The English Spirit: Essays in History and Literature, 1944
West-Country Stories, 1945
The Use of History (key volume in the "Teach Yourself History" series), 1946
The End of an Epoch: Reflections on Contemporary History, 1947
The England of Elizabeth: The Structure of Society. 1950
The English Past: Evocation of Persons and Places,1951
An Elizabethan Garland,1953
The Expansion of Elizabethan England,1955
The Early Churchills, 1956
The Later Churchills, 1958
The Elizabethans and America: The Trevelyan Lectures at Cambridge, 1958, 1959
St Austell: Church, Town, Parish, 1960
All Souls and Appeasement : A Contribution to Contemporary History, 1961
Ralegh and the Throckmortons, 1962
William Shakespeare: a Biography,1963
Christopher Marlowe: a biography,  1964
Shakespeare's Sonnets, 1964
A Cornishman at Oxford, London: 1965
Shakespeare's Southampton: Patron of Virginia, 1965
Bosworth Field and the Wars of the Roses,  1966
Cornish Stories, 1967
A Cornish Anthology, 1968
The Cornish in America, 1969
The Elizabethan Renaissance: the Life of Society, 1971
The Elizabethan Renaissance: The Cultural Achievement, 1972
The Tower of London: In the History of the Nation, 1972
Shakespeare The Man, 1973
Windsor Castle: In the History of the Nation,, 1974
Victorian and Edwardian Cornwall from old photographs,1974 (Introduction and commentaries by Rowse; ten extracts from Betjeman)
Simon Forman: Sex and Society in Shakespeare's Age, 1974
Discoveries and Reviews: From Renaissance to Restoration, 1975
Oxford: In the History of the Nation, 1975
Jonathan Swift: Major Prophet, 1975
A Cornishman Abroad, London:  1976
Matthew Arnold: Poet and Prophet, 1976
Homosexuals In History, 1977
Shakespeare the Elizabethan,  1977
Milton the Puritan: Portrait of a Mind  1977
The Byrons and the Trevanions, 1978)
A Man of the Thirties, 1979
Memories of Men and Women, 1980
Shakespeare's Globe: His Intellectual and Moral Outlook, 1981
A Life: Collected Poems, 1981
Eminent Elizabethans, 1983
Night at the Carn and Other Stories, 1984
Shakespeare's Characters: a Complete Guide, 1984
Glimpses of the Great, 1985
The Little Land of Cornwall, 1986
A Quartet of Cornish Cats, 1986
Stories From Trenarren, 1986
Reflections on the Puritan Revolution, 1986
The Poet Auden: a Personal Memoir, 1987
Court and Country: Studies in Tudor Social History,1987
Froude the Historian: Victorian Man of Letters, 1987
Quiller-Couch: A Portrait of "Q", 1988
A. L. Rowse's Cornwall: a Journey through Cornwall's Past and Present,  1988
Friends and Contemporaries, 1989
The Controversial Colensos, 1989
Discovering Shakespeare: A Chapter in Literary History,  1989
Four Caroline Portraits, 1993
All Souls in My Time, 1993
The Regicides: And the Puritan Revolution,  1994
Historians I Have Known, 1995
My View of Shakespeare,1996
Cornish Place Rhymes (Posthumous commemorative volume begun by the author), 1997

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