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Masefield, John Edward (1878-1967) poet and novelist
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Letter from Judith Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Boar's Hill, Oxford. - Thanks Trevelyan for the book and ;kind letter'; is very sorry about her 'stupid mistakes', and has 'tormented' her father by 're-composing' parts of his work; the trouble is that when acting there is no time for hesitation. Her father has given a lecture on [William] Blake in their theatre; they performed "The death of Abel" ["The Ghost of Abel"], and Mr [Ronald?] Watkins was a 'fine Jehovah in purple & gold, up in the balcony'. Was fun making the body of Abel: they used the 'bust of Dante' for a head. Describes Satan's appearance. Has been cutting linocuts for Christmas cards. Her father today read his new poem on "The Wanderer [of Liverpool]" to two men who sailed on the ship; they were 'very nice people and a mine of adventure stories'. Thinks Trevelyan's play could be acted 'without much alteration', but the 'actors would be a trouble!'.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Is sorry not to have replied and sent the Gorki sooner: has been 'on a tramp through the blessed county of Salop' and has felt so proud of being Shropshire born that he hasn't felt up to writing. Is sending "Burnt Njal", which he thinks the best of the Sagas; will send the others later on. Is returning Cervantes's "Exemplary Tales" and sends the Buccaneer book [by Burney] which is very interesting, but not as charming as Esquemeling [Exquemelin]. Thanks Trevelyan for the kind offer of books: has most of Pater and is not very keen on Flaubert; asks if he can borrow any book by Verlaine, or Mallarme's prose translation of Poe, anything by de l'Isle-Adam except "Axël", any 'classic history' on Pompey's suppression of the pirates or the Roman occupation of Britain. Asks if Trevelyan has Defoe's "Roxana" or Doddington's "Memoirs", Grimm's letters, Berlioz's Memoirs, Renan's 'Celtic essays' ["The poetry of the Celtic races"] or any of the Brendan's Voyages.

Letter from Judith Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Boar's Hill. - The B[oar's] H[ill] Hotel have booked Trevelyan's rooms. Enjoyed her 'evening' very much; it was very kind of Trevelyan. Her father says 'Mlle Y. G.' [Yvette Guilbert?] 'asked him to write her a play years ago'. Is sorry to have 'run away' from Trevelyan before he had 'done with' her [in a rehearsal for Trevelyan's "Meleager"?]; she was keen to get to a matinée performance. Saw [Seán O'Casey's] "The Silver Tassie"; liked the setting and thought the play 'effective & extremely tragic', but there were 'few lines of great beauty'; her mother says 'the destroying of all the characters by the war would have been justified!'.

Letter from Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy to R. C. Trevelyan

28, Rue de la Tourelle, Boulogne-sur-Seine. - Apologises for not writing sooner. Madame G[ermanova] has gone with the Pitoëffs to Holland and Italy so he is alone in the flat with the dog. She, her husband, and their son return for Easter; she has had great success with [Chekhov's] "Three Sisters", Figaro and so on. Asks how Trevelyan's play [his translation of Aeschylus' "Prometheus Bound"] was received at Cambridge; Trevelyan had described his impressions of the dress-rehearsal, but this is often very different to the real performance. Has asked the girl who is typing up his own translation of Sheng Cheng to send Trevelyan the first carbon copy for corrections; does not think it needs to be very literal, but wants to know how it reads in English; it has not yet been accepted by a publisher. He suggested that [Julien?] Luchaire should write to Trevelyan, because of his work as a translator and favourable attitude towards international collaboration; thinks he should reply with names of books which should be translated and others that have not been well translated. It would also be useful to mention why translations were not well done in England, and criticism of the system by which publishers give books to people; he could quote from his 'excellent preface to "Aeschylus". The man in charge of the project is Giuseppe Prezzolini, whom he admires and likes very much. Hopes Trevelyan's play for Masefield is now ready.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Thanks Trevelyan for his letter and the loan of the books. Asks if he knows Yeats' book "The Shadowy Waters"; thinks it contains some of his best work and would be happy to lend it. Thanks for the offer of Housman; knows his books but cannot get much of what he wants out of them. Feels that the poem he wants to write about the Mediterranean pirates will have to wait unless he can find information he needs in Arrian, recommended by Binyon. Can't read Latin even with a crib, as he does not have 'the gift of tongues' and left school at thirteen. Reads French easily and has taken to reading the classics in French. Is trying to learn Irish, a 'dreadful tongue'. Has another book by Gorki, "Three Men" ["Three of Them / Трое"] which he thinks is far better than the short stories and will lend whenever Trevelyan wishes.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

37 Weetwood Lane, Far Headingley, Leeds. - Jokingly calls Trevelyan 'unreasonable' for coming to Leeds in August, when he will not be there himself; tries to persuade him to make it a different time, or to visit them in Anglesey there instead. There is a rural district there named after Goronwy Owain (they could discuss whether he could be as great a poet as Milton), and the Eisteddfod is to be held this year at Holyhead. Is helping to judge Masefield's Oxford Recitations next week; they might meet there. 'Aghast' to think of Trevelyan and Bessie listening to his wireless talks; tends to think wireless a great imposition 'except for the Cup Final and jazz'. Would love to hear Trevelyan's translation of "Prometheus". Has not yet seen 'R.B.'s [Bridges?] new poem, but has heard much of it. Offers to show Trevelyan Fountains Abbey and Shandy Hall if he comes in the autumn.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Gresham Chambers, Wolverhampton. - When Trevelyan returns to Westcott, will be pleased to send him some Sagas. "Wuthering Heights" does give some sense of 'Norse life', but while the sagas give 'flesh and bone and good red meaty passion', Victorian tales are all 'upholstered'. Knows Borrow's books well and stayed recently at Oulton Broad in a house built on the site of Borrow's cottage; read "Gipsies in Spain" in the summer house which still stands. Discusses the "Newgate Calendar" and advises Trevelyan to read at least some of the lives in it, including that of Fielding's hero Jonathan Wild, who came from Wolverhampton; other 'good criminal reading' in Pierce Egan and de Quincey ["On Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts"]. When he thinks about his own wanderings, he finds that 'the really strange events and people seem too real and too modern to be at all out of the way'. Yeats is keen on him writing an autobiography, but he is too flamboyant to write a plain narrative. Is anxious about the story he has sent to the "Speaker" and wants it to appear so that Trevelyan can give his opinion of it; describes his approach to writing it. Trevelyan must read [Borrow's] "Romany Rye' when he finishes "Lavengro".

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

The Wergs Farm, Tettenhall, Staffs. - Returns three of the books Trevelyan lent him, but is keeping the Cervantes ["Novelas ejemplares"?] for a while as he enjoyed it so much; most of the tales were familiar through the Elizabethan dramatists but some were totally new to him. Is sorry that he has few books likely to please Trevelyan: the sagas may be 'rather too coarse and rough' for him. Has [James] Burney's "History of the Buccaneers", Arthur Symons' poems, Yeat's "Wind among the Reeds", Keats's "Letters" and Hogg's incomplete "Life of Shelley". Sends his regards to Fry. Has finished a 'story of American factory life' and sent it to the "Speaker".

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Thanks Trevelyan for lending him a second batch of books: he already has copies of the Balzac and "Aucassin [and Nicolette]", but has never seen the Cervantes and Rousseau before. Asks if Trevelyan knows any of the Sagas; he has been reading "Burnt Njal" and "Laxdaela" and feels they are closer to the 'red clay' than anything else he has read. Yeats' "The Folly of Being Comforted" is 'a very lovely little thing'; he quotes line 8 as 'Time cannot make her beauty over again' and compares it to something in William Morris's "Earthly Paradise". Thinks Yeats' novel will be very good; has read many chapters of it; the first chapter has a passage about 'an old sow grubbing on the sea-shore eating starfish', perhaps 'a Celtic symbol of the spirit of the Nineteenth Century'.

Letter from Thomas Sturge Moore to R. C. Trevelyan

40 Well Walk, Hampstead, NW. - Is 'pleased and honoured' that Bob, [Gordon] Bottomley, [Lascelles] Abercrombie and [Wilfrid] Gibson want to include him in their scheme for a Poetry Annual; thinks such a publication is 'needed' and would be glad to contribute. However, does not understand some of the suggestions, and has 'doubts about the wisdom of others': thinks it would not be possible to have a 'non-poet editor' who can hold a poem over for the next year, as the same poem is unlikely to be available in two successive years; also asks if contributors would be restricted to publishing in the "Annual", as he thinks this would be impossible'. Thinks [Marsh's] "Georgian Poetry" did better than "New Numbers" as it was more catholic; would like the Annual to be 'even more so'. Thinks they should form a committee of between three and five poets to decide the price and size of the Annual on financial grounds then offer an equal number of pages to, say: [John] Masefield, [W. B.] Yeats, [Laurence] Binyon, Abercrombie, [W. H.] Davies, [Walter] de la Mare, [Ralph] Hodgson, Gibson, Bottomley, himself, Trevelyan, and another. For the next number, the committee should be the only ones with a right to a place. Any untaken pages should be offered to 'people like [Robert] Bridges and H.D. the best of the Imagists for opposite reasons'; discusses how extra pages should be allocated. Thinks it important to invite 'all well known men' like [Henry] Newbolt, Rudyard Kipling, [Thomas] Hardy and [Maurice] Hewlett, 'whatever one thinks of their work' though not every year; some would refuse but 'that is their fault'. Should also invite 'as many as possible from enemy cliques' and those who have been well reviewed. Profits should be shared out by page. The committee should not 'judge of merit', except in choice of contributors, which would 'insure much more variety and a wider circulation'. The book must not seem bulky, so recommends using the 'very beautiful thin papers' available now used for bibles and the classics. Would like to 'rule out [Robert] Frost from the first list as not being a British subject'; thinks he and other Americans could be allocated a few pages but 'never be on the committee'. Discusses possible role of the publisher.

Asks Bob if in March, April or May there is 'any quantity of fallen leaves under Olive trees', and what the correct adjective formed from 'Medusa' would be. Sends love to the Trevelyans. Offers in a postscript to take responsibility for the 'physical appearance' of the Annual for no payment. Twelve may be too large a number for the 'inner list' but well-known names outside their set should be included; Yeats would be 'safe' as he would never want much space; dividing profits by number of pages would give Abercrombie & Gibson and others 'with a tendancy to metrical diarrhea [sic]' a chance of getting as much money as by the other plan. Expects to be here on the 22nd and 23rd and will be glad to see Bob; cannot invite him to the house yet as the children are ill and they have 'servant troubles to boot'.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Sends back Trevelyan's three books, and includes his copy of 'the little Gorky book' ["Twenty Six Men and a Girl"] which he thinks is 'very good stuff'. Supposes Trevelyan knows Herbert of Cherbury's autobiography; if not he will send it.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Tomorrow morning he will send back "Moll Flanders" and "Celestina", and with them Gorky's "Twenty Six Men and a Girl" which he thinks might interest Trevelyan. There are around three thousand visitors a week to the Gallery, but he will be very glad to get back to London even if it is 'to starvation in garret or suicide on back door-step'; has found 'solitary indolence' very hard, and has been unable to work or think. D. S. MacColl wrote a good notice in the last issue [of the "Saturday Review"?]. Fry has kindly sent him [his book on?] Cellini; thanks Trevelyan for getting him to do so.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Hopes the promised volume of short stories by Yeats has reached Trevelyan; asks him to say what he thinks of it. Attendances at the Exhibition 'wretched'; the Gallery is the most popular part of it for its size. Sends his regards to [Roger] Fry.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Edward Marsh

Originally enclosing a copy of the petition for [Thomas] Sturge Moore. They have got [Gilbert] Murray to sign, and he thinks also [H.A.L.?] Fisher; they are trying to get [Arthur?] Balfour. Bob would like to get [Robert] Bridges, [Edmund] Gosse and [Thomas] Hardy; this copy would do for Gosse too if there is a chance of him signing. Thinks [Laurence] Binyon or [Henry] Newbolt is approaching Bridges. Thinks Eddie said [Siegfried] Sassoon knew Hardy well; has another copy of the petition if he thinks it is worthwhile asking Sassoon to try. They now have letters from [John] Masefield, [George Bernard] Shaw, Lascelles [Abercrombie], [John] Drinkwater and Gordon [Bottomley], and [William Butler] Yeats is sure to send one too. Sorry that he could not come to Eddie's prize-giving; it seems 'a very good choice'. Has told the Shoves to send Eddie Fredegond's latest poems. Sees that a number of Civil List Pensions have just been announce, and fears this may make it more difficult to get one for Sturge Moore.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

13 Princess Terrace, Balls Rd, Birkenhead. - Thanks for obtaining Masefield's opinion. "[S]ufficient encouragement" to have friends such as Trevelyan; it seems clear that Abercrombie might get something better than his present work. Is busy on a three act play. Thinks he will stay the winter in Birkenhead and look out for opportunities; Masefield is willing to help, and the lectures Trevelyan mentions may prove useful: he will consult Miss Embleton. Hopes to find something which will allow him to live in the country. Hopes "Orpheus" is going well. Thinks he was probably too severe on "Ariadne" [see 1/27].

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock. - The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock. - Has not yet spoken to Wilfrid [Gibson], but will do as soon as he sees him. Himself thinks 'very well' of Bob's scheme [for the "Annual of New Poetry"]; they should not worry about competing with "Georgian Poetry" and "New Numbers". True that "Georgian Poetry" 'is not asleep but sleepeth', as he understands, but "New Numbers" is 'dead as nail in door'. Cannot hurt "Georgian Poetry", which has 'never pretended to any monopoly', covers a 'much wider poetic field' and has a 'more aristocratic circulation'. Furthermore the first number of the "Annual" is likely to come out first, and will offer "Georgian Poetry" an 'attractive quarry to pick from', since it is 'frankly [Eddie] Marsh's own personal anthology [emphasised] of modern poetry', while in the "Annual" they would be 'trying to put as many of our wares before the public' as possible; however, would be best to see if Marsh objects. Regarding 'Mrs Lear' [Gordon Bottomley's play "King Lear's Wife], Marsh always said that Gordon's offer to let him print it first as 'great generosity', but the offer was on the understanding that "Georgian Poetry" would be published at once; since this did not happen, surely the offer is also off. Has always thought 'Mrs Lear' should be published as soon as possible.

Makes some tentative suggestions. The more poets on the magazine the less profit per poet; the poets should be chosen carefully, then there should be 'no editorial censorship on actual poems', since it would be difficult to choose an editor and communal editorship would be 'the devil'; the only control over contributions should be in the matter of space, and it would be best for the publisher to do this - suggests Constables as they 'are anxious to publish modern verse', and 'young Michael Sadler is... very nice & intelligent'. List of poets to contribute more important than the publisher: so far, provisionally, they have Gordon [Bottomley], [Thomas Sturge] Moore, Wilfrid [Gibson], Bob and Lascelles. Would also suggest Ralph Hodgson, W. H. Davies and R[obert] Frost; does not think there are others 'worthy to stand in our company, except of course [W. B.] Yeats & [John] Masefield', who would probably not join in. Frost thinks Walter de la Mare the 'greatest of living poets'; he himself does not rate him so highly, but would be happy to include him as a contributor. The profits for each number should be divided amongst the contributors, 'irrespective of space occupied'. Would like to talk to Bob about the scheme, rather than merely communicating in writing. Will see Bottomley when he goes to Grange [over Sands], and meanwhile may be in London soon; will let Bob know if he is. Feels 'honoured' to have been brought in so early the scheme's existence, and thinks it might be a great success. Catherine [his wife] is doing 'very well': apart from 'local effects of the operation' [for breast cancer] she feels better than she has done for a while; he thinks she also looks better. The two elder boys [David and Michael] are at Grange, and they will join them soon with baby [Ralph]. Was 'delightful' to see Bessie the other day.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Apologises for not acknowledging the books and Trevelyan's letter sooner: he has been away from the office for nearly a week due to his brother being seriously ill. Sat up last night reading "Celestina" ["The Comedy of Calisto and Melibea / Comedia de Calisto y Melibea" by Fernando Rojas] and found it admirable; Celestina the character is a 'delicious person'. Is sorry that the Yeats book has not yet been sent. Asks Trevelyan not to send any more books until the ones he has already lent are returned; cannot read poetry here.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

22 Willow Road, Hampstead. - Glad Bob liked his [painting of] the Beechen Tote [near H]aslemere; thinks it is one of his best and that [John] Masefield is sure to like it. Also thinks that 'the Cowdray oil is the best thing in a way' that he has painted; delighted that [Neville] Lytton agrees, though it will 'almost disappear on the walls of the N.E.A.C.' Hopes to see Lytton this afternoon. The children are with; they are taking Pamela to see Helen this morning. Helen is 'going on well & steadily'; though she tends to be depressed, he thinks this is better than the 'exalted state', and he feels hopeful.

Letter from R. R. Marett to Lady Frazer

From the Rector, Exeter College, Oxford - Gives the date of Hutton's Frazer lecture; advises on the lecturer for 1938 at Cambridge: suggests Radcliffe Brown, finds Masefield no more of an anthropologist as the next man, can't think of any older anthropologists except E. A. Hooton, younger ones include E. Evans Pritchard, Raymond Firth, or 'why not a woman for a new departure': Audrey Richards.

Letter from Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy to R. C. Trevelyan

Grand Hotel Pupp, Karlsbad. - Apologises for not replying sooner to thank Trevelyan for the 'many kindnesses' he has shown him this summer. Has been with his father, who came from India in August, seeing doctors in Paris, Vienna, and other European cities; they intend to leave 'this magnificent but boring place' at the end of the month, and travelling to England via Berlin, spending seven days in London in October. Is taking a cure for 'rheumatism & obesity'. It is a 'moving sight to witness the enormous crowds (mostly Jews) pacing the collonades [sic]' while taking the waters. Has been reading Eichendorff, and there are statues of Goethe everywhere. Apologises for not replying sooner to Julian, and encloses a note for him. Madame Germanova is alone in Paris 'keeping house for Rex' [their dog]; her husband [Aleksandr Kalitinsky] is in Prague and her son [Andrew] at school in Switzerland. Hopes the Trevelyans are well; asks if the new wing of their house is being built as they wanted. Was happy to hear of the success of Trevelyan's piece at the Masefields' and whether he is now working on his other piece, '?Wilmlowe'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Julian Trevelyan

The Hermitage, 9 Heathcote Street, Mecklenburgh Square, London W.C.1. [home of Penelope Wheeler]. - Thinks that Julian will hear from [John] Masefield or [his daughter] Judith whether they can send the car to meet him next Tuesday, and that the Bletchley train gets in [to Oxford] at 12.35; he will have to get a taxi if not. Julian is getting iron bars to hang the two big [stage] cloths on [for Bob's play "Meleager"]; if Julian thinks the one behind should go on a wooden batten he should perhaps write to Judith with details. The wings can be left until he comes. Judith will get Julian a room at the hotel for Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; he himself will be at the theatre at 2 pm on Wednesday.

Letter from Thomas Sturge Moore to R. C. Trevelyan

40 Well Walk, Hampstead, N.W. - Should have written before to thank Bob for sending "The New Parsifal": has read it twice with 'great pleasure'', and could 'only find fault in detail'; though it is not as interesting as "Sisyphus" for the 'general public', it has great appeal for 'all aesthetes & intellectuals' who are most likely to read it. Lists a few criticisms, and passages which he particularly enjoys. Thinks Bob 'treat[s] Masefield more unfairly than Longfellow and Tennyson', and does not make as clear a point against him and Longfellow as he does against Tennyson. Is 'rather disappointed' with "New Numbers": thinks [Lascelles] Abercrombie's piece 'mannered in the bad sense' as well as 'allegorical [sic] in the bad sense'. Asks if Bob can 'coin' a word for him meaning 'of all women... or the womancratic... or the slave of all women'. Hopes that Julian is better and that Bob and Bessie are well.

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