Shane Leslie: Sublime Failure
By: Otto Rauchbauer
Publication Date: May 2009
Shane Leslie (1885-1971) – diplomat; man of letters (novelist, biographer, poet, historian, pamphleteer); Irish, Anglo-Irish and half-American aristocrat; religious devotee; first cousin of Winston Churchill, Irish nationalist, British subject. Using new archival material Otto Rauchbauer of the University of Vienna provides a scholarly context for understanding and appreciating this neglected writer, observer and witness of his turbulent times.
Third baronet of Glaslough, born at Castle Leslie, County Monaghan, old Etonian and graduate of King’s College, Cambridge; a familiar of Tolstoy’s whom he met in 1907 and doyen of New York where as a reader for Scribner’s he discovered Scott Fitzgerald; founder member of the Irish Academy of Letters, Catholic convert and proto-Republican, Leslie straddled many worlds and was a bellwether of Irish and English politics.
As an Irish patriot with allegiances to the Crown, Shane Leslie struggled throughout his life to reconcile his various national and cultural identities. His abortive political career deserves renewed attention.
Including twenty-four illustrations and fifty annotated letters, this book redraws the prevailing picture of the man and presents a fascinating portrait of an age.
‘Otto Rauchbauer has produced a splendid scholarly book, based on a thorough survey of Leslie’s voluminous papers. There are many evocative photographs. It is, perhaps, more a critical study of his work than a biography of the man. An appendix contains an admirably edited selection from the letters that made Leslie renowned as a correspondent.’ – The Independent
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
OTTO RAUCHBAUER was a member of the English Department of the University of Vienna from 1965 to 2003. In 1993 he set up an archive in Drishane, Castletownshend, Co. Cork, the former house of Edith Somerville. A catalogue of the archive and a biographical sketch were subsequently published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission. He is author of Ancestral Voices and Diskurse und Bilder zum anglo-irischen Landssitz im 20 Jahrhundert.