11 thoughts on “Hugh Walpole’s Fortitude

  1. Hi Kate. Rang across this because I was looking for a reason either to discard or to keep my copy of Fortitude. Even though you’re reticent about just how much Gothic thunderation there is here, the ball has tipped to retention. Is there anything actually supernatural about Mr Zanti?


    1. There’s more Gothic emotional trauma than physical and supernatural manifestations. Mr Zanti has a powerful aura of mysteriousness, but I think this is subsmumed by the anarchists’ plot, rather than the supernatural per se. I’d say Fortitude was worth keeping for its depiction of Edwardian literary coteries than for fantasy elements.


  2. Found ‘Fortitude’ in a charity shop and was invited into Hugh Walpole’s world by this book’s incredibly powerful lines “Tisn’t life that matters! ‘Tis the courage you bring to it” and “Don’t play for safety. It’s the most dangerous thing in the world.”

    Finding the book ‘Fortitude’ led me to collect every single book by Walpole’s hand, including his rare autobiographies The Apple Trees and The Crystal Box and the many short stories he wrote for literary magazines.

    An incredibly clever and sadly forgotten writer who always created a page turner and could always bemuse you as to whether his writing was autobiographical or not…

    Thank you for this post and bringing attention to Walpole’s work.


  3. This is the first Walpole novel I have read and now I am a fan. I loved the blend of Gothic romance with sharply detailed social realism. Over-written, yes, but also brave and intense, as in this sentence: “If any one soul of us is all the world, this world and the next, to any other soul, then whoever it may be that thus loves us, the inadequacy of our return, the hopeless debt of us, must strike us to our knees with an utter humility.” Wow


      1. Hello, Kate. I just found your comments on Fortitude. I actually read the book exactly 70 years ago for my final English exam in Montevideo, Uruguay. These words have stayed with me all these years – unforgettable.
        “Make me a man to be afraid of nothing, to be ready for everything… make me brave!”
        Thank you for the memory. Celia

        Liked by 1 person

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