Item 29 - Letter [incomplete] from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

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Letter [incomplete] from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan


  • [Jan/Feb? 1916] (Creation)

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[First page missing]. Wilfrid [Gibson] has been 'ordered to bed for 6 weeks' and has to follow a 'starvation diet': the Abercrombies have been worried about him for a while, and it is not certain what the problem is. Believes Gerald [Wilfrid Gibson's wife Geraldine] is fairly well, but fears Wilfrid will 'worry himself into a far worse state' about Gerald waiting on him. Sorry to hear that [Thomas Sturge] Moore's "Judith" was 'mauled' [in performance at the Queen's Theatre, 23-24 Jan 1916]: was very impressed when he read it, and thought it would act well, but if actors can 'savage Shakespeare, obviously they can garrotte Moore'; the first thing they should do after the war is 'kill all the actors & lawyers' [a paraphrase of a line in "Henry VI", Part 2]. If it is true that Abercrombie is keeping the annual back ["Annual of New Poetry"], then he ought to be in the 'jaws of Lucifer along with Judas Iscariot, Brutus & Cassius"; discusses this passage of Dante; cannot see any reason why the "Annual" should wait for him, as he would be 'uncomfortable' if left out but would try to get ready for the next issue. Is writing a little at the moment, but only plays which he feels may work as drama but will below the poetic standard the Annual should keep to. He and Gordon [Bottomley] think that Bob is 'quite wrongly diffident about "The Last Man" [ie. "The Death of Man"?]: neither of them would 'stand up to B[ertrand] Russell on philosophical grounds', but they would both defend the work on poetic grounds; he may be a 'very good connoisseur', but they are 'Professionals when it comes to poetry'. May have a 'Burst [of poetic composition]' when they return to Ryton, and in that case the "Annual" would have first claim on anything he writes, but currently feels as 'likely to write poetry as a bag-pudding'. They should not wait for him before publishing: the "Annual" need not start with a 'full team', as this is not football. H. O. Meredith would like to join, and Abercrombie has said he would 'put it to the other members' but that Meredith must not mind if he is rejected. Abercrombie, Gordon, [John] Drinkwater and Wilfrid are all willing to have him if nobody else objects, but it must be unanimous; Meredith is 'prepared for the jealousy of professional poets'. Bessie must be troubled about the 'disasters [floods] in Holland'; there is enough to worry about [with the war]; hope she has not been 'familiarly affected' and that it is not as 'shocking' as the newspapers make out. The Abercrombies are all well, and Catherine has definitely benefited from the change of scene; the 'dread' they feel [about the recurrence of her cancer?] has 'so far kept aloof'; the children are 'flourishing', and Bob should tell Julian that David is now a schoolboy

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Incomplete letter: first page missing.

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