Item 10 - Letter from Arthur Waley to R. C. Trevelyan

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TRER/17/10

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Letter from Arthur Waley to R. C. Trevelyan

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  • 23 May - 11 June [1917?] (Creation)

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1 item: typed with MS date and annotations.

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13 Hanover Terrace. - Glad that Trevelyan and [Gordon] Bottomley have 'managed to get some fun out of the No play'; it is not a good one, and he translated it only as an appendix to his book on Po Chu-I; this may get written now, as he has just been rejected again byy the army and hopes he will have a 'quiet six months'; will also translate some more No plays. Went to hear [Thomas] Sturge Moore read his Viking play [Tyrfing] yesterday; thought it 'very well done' and intellectually judged it 'a fine thing', but 'somehow' was not interested by it; this may have been because Sturge Moore's reading was 'downright bad', as he thinks it 'would act rather well'. Read the 'magnificent exordium' to the seventh book of Pliny's "Natural History" recently and quotes in Latin at length from the passage about man. Does not want Hakurakuten at present. Looks forward to seeing Trevelyan, perhaps in June. Hears Mr Ch'eng [see 17/3, 17/5?] 'made a great oration' recently at the Japan Society 'rather mocking at the self-satisfaction of the Japanese', which people say was a 'great success'. Asks whether Trevelyan has seen [Roger] Fry's exhibition of "Copies and Translations" from the old masters; some of those he saw in his studio were 'great fun'.

Returns to the letter on 11 June: has 'just discovered the later parts of Piers Ploughman [sic: Plowman]"; it is 'brilliant' from canto 16 onwards, but 'the beginning is so boring that no one ever gets as far'. The best canto is 18; expects Trevelyan 'found that out long ago'. Has translated a short, slight No play called "Hatsu-yuki, or Early Snow", about 'a court lady who loses a pet bird'; has not had time to do a longer one as he has been 'so immersed in exploring (in books) the Gobi Desert on behalf of Sir Aurel Stein'. Adds a handwritten postscript to say he would like to come for a weekend visit, if the Trevelyans could have him.

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  • English
  • Latin

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