Item 21 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Alfred Benn

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Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Alfred Benn


  • 10 Feb 1902 (Creation)

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Pensione Palumbo, Ravello, presso Amalfi, Italy. - Thanks Benn for the letter about his book ["Polyphemus and Other Poems]: 'such appreciation and criticism' are the only real rewards for the 'pains of literature'; particularly pleased that Benn has singled out for praise lines which he himself likes best. Also encouraged by Benn's approval of his 'blending more modern ideas with classical fable', for which he has sometimes been censured. Must read the passage from Plutarch mentioned by Benn, which will serve as an 'answer to such objections'. Discusses the use of Roman and Greek names for the gods in poetry. Is afraid his 'ideas on the natural history of Satyrs, Pans, fauns etc, are somewhat confused', but then so were ancient ideas; will pay more attention to the question soon. Once read a story that Sulla was brought 'a wild goat-footed man' in Greece, whom he attempted to interrogate but without success; thinks the author described him as a 'satyr' but has not been able to find the passage, which should be in Plutarch, again. Hopes Benn will 'meet such a one' near his new home [at Florence] this summer; hopes it will not be too far from I Tatti. He and his wife have heard nothing from [Bernard] Berenson since they left, though he had discussed coming south; they hope his health is better. They send regards to Benn and his wife.

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