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

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Was very sorry to miss Trevelyan on Tuesday; the Committee had a 'long jangling quarrel which dragged like an Alexandrine'. Will send the Yeats book tomorrow, and thinks Trevelyan will like it. Has been reading Gorky 'with disappointment'; thinks Bart Kennedy, the author of "Sailor Tramp" which he recommended, is far superior and disapproves of too much philosophy in a tramp.

Letter from E. M. Forster to R. C. Trevelyan

Harnham, Monument Green, Weybridge. - Has heard from Miss V. W. [Vaughan Williams] about Trevelyan's accident at the Pageant: hopes he has recovered. Asks where Paul's 'playground' was purchased, as he would like to buy one for [Hugh Owen] Meredith's children. Returns two books, and his 'silly Dante paper'. 'Miss Bartlett' ["A Room with a View" has been rejected by the USA. Visits Meredith next week, then Mrs Hope Wedgwood; goes to Abinger next and on the 5th September may join [Goldsworthy Lowes] Dickinson in Italy. Wishes that Trevelyan could come too. Is reading Marco Polo, inspired by Masefield's introduction.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - Returns Trevelyan's French books with many thanks; has not finished Verlaine but will have no time to read as the rest of his time in Wolverhampton must be spent packing up the pictures from the exhibition; prays they do not smash as any accident will delay his departure. The proofs of his book ["Salt-Water Ballads"] are now corrected and it will be out soon; suspects it will not sell well.

Letter from Jane Harrison to R. C. Trevelyan

Newnham College, Cambridge. - It is not 'black ingratitude' which has kept her from thanking Trevelyan for the "New Parsifal"; she wanted to wait until re-reading it before writing, and 'simply hadn't a moment' until term ended. Then she re-read it with 'much delight'; thinks she enjoys it 'more read to herself', and hopes this is not 'rude!', since she has time to 'savour' it. Thinks she still likes the parodies of Yeats and Masefield best, as she senses Trevelyan enjoys writing them; hopes Masefield did not mint -'but he cldn't!'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Julian Trevelyan

Asks if Julian and Ursula would mind if he [dedicated] his play "Fand" to them both [in his forthcoming "Collected Works"]; Julian will remember that it was acted at Boars Hill, Oxford, and Bob wanted him to paint a yew-tree for it but John Masefield preferred there to be no scenery. The previous play, the "Pearl Tree", is dedicated to [Hasan Shahid] Suhrawardy, and "Sulla" to Gordon Luce. Is dedicating his first book of poems ["Mallow and Asphodel"] to Bessie since he is not reprinting his first play ["Cecilia Gonzaga"], 'which was hers'. Hoping to see Julian on Saturday; Desmond [MacCarthy] should be there.

Letter from John Masefield to R. C. Trevelyan

Wolverhampton Art and Industrial Exhibition, 1902, Gresham Chambers, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. - His book is one of verse, to be published by Grant Richards and entitled "Salt-Water Ballads"]; thinks it should be out by the end of November. Cannot read another book until the pictures are all returned. Is just finishing the "Memoirs of Count Grammont" which he finds very Pepysian. Does not know whether Trevelyan will like his poems: they are very 'rough and tumble' with not much romance about them. Tells an anecdote about a sailor who, when asked whether he was a dance, answered that he was 'an ancient Priton' [sic].

Letter from Edward Thomas to R. C. Trevelyan

Steep, Petersfield. - Sorry to hear that Julian has been ill; thanks Trevelyan for his other news, and congratulates him on the "Times" review [of "The New Parsifal", TLS 21 Mar 1914, p 127]. Has just read "New Numbers" and admired [Wilfrid] Gibson's and [Lascelles] Abercrombie's poems: thinks Gibson's ["Bloodybush Edge"] is his best, and 'more satisfactory than [John] Masefield's; Abercrombie is 'superb in places', but Thomas thinks he 'tries to run his two preferences for metaphysics & naturalism too much together for harmony'. Much looks forward to hearing Trevelyan's opinion. Is 'very well here & hard at work'.

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.

Letter from Gerald Finzi to R. C. Trevelyan

Ashmansworth, nr Newbury, Berks. - Trevelyan sent him a copy of his new volume ["Translations from Latin Poetry"] 'Weeks ago'; did not reply with thanks at one as he wanted to wait until he had time to read it properly. His 'poor' Latin has now 'faded away to a shadow', so the 'good Latinist' may miss the pleasure he gets from translations which 'also happen to be English poetry'. Found some 'old acquaintances', such as Catullus 101, and is 'delighted' that Trevelyan's predecessors in translating Catullus 5 ["Vivamus, mea Lesbia..." did not 'over-awe' him. Has Trevelyan's translations of the "Eclogues" and "Georgics", Theocritus, and 'so much else'. Adds a postscript saying it has not been such a pleasure to read [John] Masefield's new book, "On the Hill': 'Its [sic] almost embarrassing'.

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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. - 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 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. - 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'.

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