Martin Cyril D'Arcy by Howard Coster, 1938.
National Portrait Gallery. Licenced under CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0

Martin D’Arcy


Martin D’Arcy (1888–1976), Jesuit priest and theologian, entered the novitiate in 1906, took a first in Literae Humaniores at Pope’s Hall – the Jesuit private hall of Oxford University – and was ordained in 1921. After teaching at Stonyhurst College, in 1925 he undertook doctoral research, first at the Gregorian University in Rome, then at the Jesuit House at Farm Street, London. In 1927 he returned to Campion Hall (successor to Pope’s Hall), where he taught philosophy at the university. He was Rector and Master of Campion Hall, 1933–45, and Provincial of the British Province of the Jesuits in London, 1945–50. Charismatic and influential as a lecturer, and as an apologist for Roman Catholicism (his prominent converts included Evelyn Waugh), he also wrote studies including The Nature of Belief (1931) and The Mind and Heart of Love (F&F, 1945). Louis MacNeice, in The Strings Are False: An Unfinished Autobiography (1965), wrote of Fr D’Arcy: ‘He alone among Oxford dons seemed to me to have the glamour that medieval students looked for in their masters. Intellect incarnate in a beautiful head, wavy grey hair and delicate features; a hawk’s eyes.’ Lesley Higgins notes: ‘Five of his books were reviewed in The Criterion, some by Eliot himself; his twenty-two reviews and articles in the latter certainly qualify him as part of what Eliot termed the journal’s “definite … [and] comprehensive constellation of contributors”.’ See further H. J. A. Sire, Father Martin D’Arcy: Philosopher of Christian Love (1997); Richard Harp, ‘A conjuror at the Xmas party’, TLS, 11 Dec. 2009, 13–15.