sexta-feira, 11 de maio de 2018

Among the 130 books he published were an anthology of Old Testament apocrypha; biographies of Napoleon I and the Caesars; histories of Germany, Iceland, North and South Wales, Cornwall, Dartmoor, the Rhine, and the Pyrenees; a guide to surnames; a 16-volume collection of saints' lives and a compilation of medieval superstitions beloved by H.P. Lovecraft among others; numerous volumes of sermons and dozens of novels; a theological treatise on the problem of evil; numerous works on ghosts; a surprisingly scholarly Book of Were-wolves. He also composed some 200 short stories and thousands of essays, prefaces, and magazine articles; he produced two collections of original verse and two memoirs and left behind a vast correspondence, thousands of pages of diaries, and a remarkable quantity of half-digested research.

Much of the interest of Tope's book lies with the enormous number of characters who intersected with her subject's vanished world. Some of them, from Cardinal Manning (whom he despised) to William Ewart Gladstone to Bernard Shaw, are well known. Many are not. Among the most fascinating of these latter is the Rev. Robert Stephen Hawker, a figure whose eccentricity surpasses that of Baring-Gould, who wrote the life of his friend, perhaps his very best book, in 1879. Hawker lived in a hut on the coast of Devon and went about in a poncho he claimed to have once been the property of St. Padarn. He spoke frequently to birds and once excommunicated his own cat. He also spent decades of his life giving Christian burial to men, often impoverished and without families, who had perished in shipwrecks.

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