Saturday, July 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hilaire Belloc! Born in Arcadia

Hilaire Belloc was born on July 27, 1870 in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, west of Paris. Above: the seal of the city. Did you know that his mother, Bessie Raynor Parkes Belloc, was a suffragette? She was also a convert to Catholicism, influenced not only by the intellectual arguments of the Oxford Movement converts but also by the practical charity work of Catholic nuns and she joined the Catholic Church in 1864. According to the wikipedia article on her life:

Aged 38, Bessie Rayner Parkes fell in love with a Frenchman of delicate health, named Louis Belloc, himself the son of a notable woman, Louise Swanton-Belloc. Their five-year long marriage, spent in France, was described by Parkes as Arcadia. The family lived through the Franco-Prussian War and was deeply affected by it on a material level. Parkes never got over her husband’s sudden death in 1872. Their children, Marie Belloc Lowndes (1868-1947) and Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), went on to become renowned writers in their different ways.

Another source gives more background on the family tree.

According to this site, her husband died of sunstroke. Belloc's sister, Marie, wrote The Lodger, based on the Jack the Ripper crimes. Alfred Hitchcock filmed a silent version, starring Ivor Novello, while Laird Gregar and Merle Oberon starred in the 1944 "talkie". After his father's death, Belloc's mother returned to England and he attended the Oratory in Birmingham.


No comments:

Post a Comment