"THEY WERE DEFEATED"
Rose Macaulay has chosen for the. setting of her new book, "They Were Defeated" (Collins), one of < the most exciting periods in English history— the years 1640 and 1641; England was in the melting pot—a seething cauldron in which political, social, and theological values were in a state of chaotic transition—a time of fundamental upheaval that was to find its climax in the Civil' War; ':- ■■'■:;.'
For the centre of her story, Miss Macaulay takes the poet, Robert Her-rick,-then vicar of a little Devonshire parish, and the group surrounding him. The scene shifts to Cambridge, at that time rich in poets, literary movements, and contending religious views. Here the love of a beautiful and idealistic girl for John Cleveland, Royalist, poet, and Fellow of St. John's. College, flowers, only to culminate in tragedy—a tragedy that explains the title—in which the loves and ambitions of each character would seem to have met with defeat, a- tragedy that is to be repeated later on a greater scalein the defeat of Cambridge, literally by, tho Roundheads and metaphorically as a seat of learning, and, of England" herself by the ravaging and futile waste of Civil War.
While telling a 1 human love story of great beauty and introducing many actual people of the time, <>Misa MaeauTay contrives to produce a picture of midseventeenth century England that must rank as a piece of invaluable historical, literary, and sociological research. .