Item 120 - Letter from Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy to R. C. Trevelyan

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Letter from Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy to R. C. Trevelyan


  • 17 May 1937 (Creation)

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21, Theatre Road, Calcutta. - Is very grateful for the trouble Trevelyan has taken with his MS; agrees that it is unfair that no publishers will take his poems even when costs will be covered. The publication of his book would also have helped his chances of getting the University Professorship of English which will soon fall vacant; prefers this position to his own due to the lack of 'concrete material of the Asiatic arts' which necessitates indulgence in 'fantastic theories'. Cannot afford to have it printed himself, and will not hear of Trevelyan spending more money on him. Used to know a man called Coppard at Oxford, a 'towering intellectual from the working classes', whom he heard has had success as a novelist; he used to like Suhrawardy's verses, especially the ones printed in the 1916 "Oxford Anthology" (Amelie Brázdová must have mistaken this for the "Oxford Book of Verse"; would like to know in English what she has written about him; she makes mistakes as she is not familiar with England and Suhrawardy is 'horrified' that his friends might think he has given her false information). Coppard suggested getting the poems privately printed at the Golden Cockerel Press, with which he had some connection. If Trevelyan could lend him the expenses for a year, he would like to have the poems published there or with the Chelsea Press. Is sorry John Lane have rejected his book; used to know [Ronald?] Boswell, in the management there, at Oxford, and once met him at Trevelyan's friends the Archibalds' [Dorothy and George]. Tells Trevelyan to do what he thinks best, but only if he really thinks it worthwhile to get the work published: he himself is out of touch and cannot judge the merits of his verses properly.

Very glad Trevelyan saw [Marie] Germanova in Paris; they write in detail about each of his visits. Sends love to Bessie. Hopes Julian and Ursula are happy. Strange times in India: he had 'great sympathy with the Congress' and stood as a candidate for the Upper House in Bengal by 'indirect selection'. Due to 'indiscipline and bungling' he lost, for which he is now very glad as the path the Congress is following is 'sterile'. Does not understand the 'Congress formula', nor its tactical value. Calls Gandhi 'the divine bungler'. No chance of escaping the heat and coming to Europe in the summer; hopes he can persuade his father to consult his doctor this autumn, in which case he will come then. If not, he hopes to come next year, for longer. Is taking up the study of Chinese: when getting on in years 'one must have a quest that is endless', and Chinese will last him 'several reincarnations'.

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