The Knox Brothers: Edmund (‘Evoe’) 1881-1971; Dillwyn 1883-1943; Wilfred 1886-1950; Ronald 1888-1957; by Penelope Fitzgerald

The Knox Brothers: Edmund (‘Evoe’) 1881-1971; Dillwyn 1883-1943; Wilfred 1886-1950; Ronald 1888-1957; by Penelope Fitzgerald soon to be presented for sale on the gleaming BookLovers of Bath web site!

Published: New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1977, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Genealogical tables;

From the cover: Ronald Knox, translator of the Bible and brilliant spokesman for Catholicism, is the best-known of the four Knox brothers, but all were remarkable men. The sons of an Evangelical Bishop of Manchester, they shared a common passion for poetry, puzzles, trains and the truth, even when their search for it led them in diametrically opposite directions.

Eddie was a wit, editor of Punch and a scintillating writer of verse that was not as light as it might seem. Dillwyn was a friend and contemporary of Keynes, who wrote of him that he was sceptical of most things except those that chiefly matter, that is, affection and reason. He devoted his exceptional intelligence to the solving of puzzles, the piecing together of the Mimes of Herodas, bawdy papyri that had been engaging the minds of the best Greek scholars, and working in absolute secrecy in both world wars, and the period between them, as a cryptographer. It was his genius and leaps of intuition that broke the crucial German flag-code in the First World War and shortened by six months the struggle to solve Enigma in the Second. Wilfred, who had been the dandy of the family as a young man, became an Anglo-Catholic priest, a firm supporter of Lansbury and the Labour Party, an active welfare worker in the East End and a saintly figure in the Oratory of the Good Shepherd. Ronnie, the brilliant schoolboy, the warm-hearted mentor of Harold Macmillan and his friends on the eve of the First World War, was led in his search for reason and authority in his religious beliefs to become a Catholic, and in due course perhaps the most celebrated priest and writer of his time.

All four brothers had keen intelligences and tender and affectionate hearts. This made the tensions between their common background and their divergent beliefs and careers all the more poignant. As a result, this book is a highly perceptive and often moving portrait of a family that is much more than the sum of four separate biographies.

Good in Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper which is sunned at the spine. Edges of the text block lightly tanned.

Green boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 293 pages. Index. Bibliography. 8¾” x 5½”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I enchant you with top-drawer choices of my Biography catalogue?

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