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Stephen Tennant – a note on a scrap of paper

Found - a scrap of paper from a book on America maritime history - this note by the eccentric /decadent writer and artist Stephen Tennant (1906 -1987.) He often used pages of books for notes, poems, rants and observations. He made many hundreds of pages of notes for his projected novel Lascar; A Story of the Maritime Boulevard but it remained unfinished at his death. He produced a few slim volumes and some superb drawings. The writer mentioned is anonymous but being rich and eccentric and talented ST knew many writers including Willa Cather, Siegfried Sassoon (a former lover) V.S. Naipaul (a neighbour) and W.H. Auden (who praised one of his poems.) The scrap reads thus:-

There is no element or trait in human nature that a writer can ignore - But to give prominence to the Noble profound, to the calm, the wise, the Beautiful- the exquisite, the sacred is surely his proudest need? June 1976 S T

But he is no prude or evader of odious things.

ST with David Hockney
at Wilsford Manor
Design for a cover
for 'Lascar'

'Ah, Marseille, - c'set le Vrai.'
A writer said this a propos my novel Lascar.

Stephen Tennant's possessions were dispersed in a big Sotheby's sale at his home Wilsford Manor, Wiltshire in 1987.

This was bought there in a van full of books. Some of the books appeared to be scented, some had letters loosely inserted including one from Willa Cather. The catalogue itself is sought after, at Ebay a copy recently made £100 although it is not uncommon...

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