Item 132 - Letter from Charles Waldstein to Nora Sidgwick

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Add. MS c/103/132


Letter from Charles Waldstein to Nora Sidgwick


  • 26 May 1906 (Creation)

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"Walston [formerly Waldstein], Sir Charles (1856–1927), classical archaeologist, was born on 30 March 1856 in New York, the third son of Henry Waldstein, a merchant, and his wife, Sophie Srisheim. The family name was Anglicized in the spring of 1918." Dictionary of National Biography

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Thanks Nora and Arthur Sidgwick for sending him a copy of Henry Sidgwick: A Memoir, which he wished to finish reading before writing to her. Read the book with profound interest, and says that every word in it is precious to him. Feels that 'the book as it is done is done in [Henry's] spirit', and that Nora has carried out his wishes, and avoided all inessential personal matters'. Praises the work, but states that he could never be satisfied by any biography of Henry, because it was written by members of his family. Declares that he wants 'the man himself just so much - or not only, the philosopher, the philanthopist, the conscientious struggler for [ ] religious conviction.' Recalls a conversation he had with him once while they were taking a walk, in which he touched on 'intimate personal facts of life - with his own absolute candour', and observes that the book does not reveal anything of this trait, nor of his humour and 'essential humanness'. Claims that he is not criticising or complaining, but 'writing truthfully as [Henry] would have liked' him to do. Declares that there are two theories of what a biography should be, one being 'the objective, less personal, "epistolary" form', and the other 'includes the real personality', which, he claims, letters 'hardly ever give'. Suggests that Nora and Arthur could not produce the latter, and hopes that 'some friend, endowed with artistic insight and sympathy and literary powers of reputatio], will some day do it, to supplement [their] excellent work.'

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