Edward Thomas on Nietzsche

 

600px-edward_thomas_memorial_stone

Edward Thomas Memorial Stone near Steep

Found in the June 1909 issue of Bookman is a generally favourable review of M.A.Mugge’s Nietzsche: his life and work together with translations of the philologer-turned- philosopher’s various works.

Rather surprisingly, perhaps, the reviewer is the poet and miscellaneous writer, Edward Thomas, not known ( at least in his own writing ) as an admirer of the anti-Christian proponent of the ubermensch philosophy, though he was undoubtably, like Nietzsche, an anti-Nihilist.

Nietzsche’s distrust of historicism, and delight in the ‘ moment’ is echoed by Thomas, who sees the philosopher more as an ‘exquisitely sensitive  poet and man of culture ‘ than as a rationalist. When Nietzsche declares that “ one who cannot leave himself behind on the threshold of the moment and forget the past, who cannot stand on a single point, like a goddess of victory, without fear or giddiness, will never know what happiness is ‘, Thomas adds ‘ nor wisdom, nor beauty’.

Thomas goes on to say that when Nietzsche set up the Greeks as a model, he was choosing ‘ an utterly unhistoric people, knowing no tongue but their own ; and not only the Greek, but every man who achieves a great thought or act, he calls ‘unhistorical’, because in the power and the glory of the creative moment he forgets all that he knows, just as a beautiful living thing forgets all that makes it so in a beautiful attitude or gesture ‘. [RR]

Longsprefacetoaurelius

The art of being very annoyed, very politely

Found -- this rather unusual author's notice in a copy of the 1885 edition of George Long's translation of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. It is printed where the frontispiece should be.  A little digging reveals the following.

The first edition of Long's translation was published in 1862.  By 1864 a pirated edition appeared by Ticknor & Fields, Boston. Long's notice appeared first in the 1869 British 2nd edition published by Bell & Daldry, London, and was still appearing several printings later in 1885.

Long's consideration of a Confederate dedication to a pirated Union publication is an excellent example of being politely very rude, and his opening paragraph pure stoicism!

[Submitted by P.Hatcher / Many thanks]

e26f0da45ff616107ca4f26eb1eb6c25

Professor C. W. Valentine (Psychology)

From the L.R. Reeve* collection of short sketches of people he had met - this affectionate piece about psychologist C.W. Valentine (1879-1964).  He wrote many books on psychology and was the  editor of  The British Journal of Educational Psychology for its first 25 years. Wikipedia (so far) knows him not.. Reeve saw him lecture several times...

Professor C. W. Valentine

Forty years ago I used to believe that Professor C. W. Valentine was one of the most reliable psychologists in England. Time has never changed my opinion, for on the many occasions when I have listened to him, or read about him he has always left me with the same impression of steadiness and sense of proportion so that one always felt that any declaration from him was the result of an objective mind which had arrived at a conclusion after exhaustive study.
  I can, however, express a decided opinion on one of his books: an early volume on intelligence tests. Years ago an elderly colleague of mine was pestered by his newly qualified daughter to advise her on the best intelligence tests. He came to me. I took Valentine's book to school. We went into a huddle. He gave the tests according to instructions. Because I didn't know his boys I marked and assessed the results. A few days later he came to me beaming. "I have known every boy for at least six months and your marks are perfect." Salutations to Professor Valentine. And if the book in question is now out of print so much the worse for intelligence tests and education in general. No doubt the usual gibe 'old-fashioned' will be objected by superficial minds. Well, eating, drinking, breathing, speech and many other things are of ancient custom; when, therefore, the phrase ‘old-fashioned, is presented one can usually suspect a feeble argument, something like a lawyer's dictum, "When you have a weak case attack the man."
Continue reading

inceto-2-1

Talking Beast 3

The final part of Richard Ince's Talking Beast. A candid inquiry into the nature of homo vulgaris. (London: W. Hodge & Co., 1944.) It is a heartfelt and still interesting polemic from the 1940s. Ince acknowledges as his inspiration (and mentor) Archibald Weir, the Buddha of Marley Common:

 "...it might be supposed that I am a disciple of Archibald Weir.. I am a disciple of no one, preferring to seek truth wherever I discern it. In the East they have a saying: "Where there is no Buddha hurry on, and where there is a Buddha, do not linger." The paradox would certainly have been approved by Weir, who wrote: "I do not seek to formulate tenets or to make disciples. The intent of these books would be frustrated entirely if any such success were obtained among their readers. All that I can wish to offer is assistance to earnest minds in the effort to think for themselves...'

Having found a signed and jacketed copy (at a sadly low price) we can reprint the blurb from the inside flap and also a press-cutting pasted to the rear endpaper. This review from The Field leads one to think this may have been Ince's own copy and the book was reviewed by this horsey magazine because it was about an animal...

Continue reading

Beast-earth-1

Talking Beast 2

Beast of the Earth (Falnama: Book of Omens, circa 1580)

Three more chapters from  the complete text of Richard Ince's 1944 polemic Talking Beast. It was subtitled 'A Candid look into the Nature of Homo Vulgaris.' The title comes from Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia 'This Man, this Talking Beast, this Walking Tree.' There is some element in it of Oprah's favourite guru Eckhart Tolle and it is also a sort of prequel to British philosopher John Gray's 2002 classic  Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals.

Continue reading

70012talkingbeast2f81c8ff1467e8547d8e408239da750-1

Talking Beast. A Candid Enquiry..Part 1

Found - a fascinating book by a forgotten writer, Richard Ince (1881 to circa 1960). Although the author of 20+ books he has no Wikipedia page and there is not a lot about him on the web. He mainly looks up through his sister Gertrude's fortunate marriage into the engineering/ industrial dynasty De Ferranti. With her he edited her late husband's papers - The Life and Letters of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti (Williams & Norgate London, 1934). He wrote novels,humorous works, biographies etc., One of his books, a collection of stories from 1926 At the Sign of Sagittarius, makes into Bleiler's Checklist of Science Fiction and Supernatural Fiction. The work we have scanned Talking Beast (Hodge & Co, London 1944) is a sort of self-help slightly ranting philosophical/ religious polemic, of its time with some ideas now unpalatable but a bold, fresh  work. The title comes from Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia 'This Man, this Talking Beast, this Walking Tree.' Here are the first 3 chapters...

Continue reading

LyonWW1Ended-1

J.N.W. Sullivan & Colin Wilson — ‘The Desirability of the Ordinary.’

Found in a pamphlet by Colin Wilson: Autobiographical Reflections (Paupers' Press, 1980) this quotation from the writer J.W.N. Sullivan. Sullivan was a friend of Aldous Huxley & John Middleton Murry, later he knew Aleister Crowley and was part of Ottoline Morrell's intellectual country house salon at Garsington in the 1920s. In the first World War he worked in the ambulance services in Serbia. Colin Wilson writes of him:

I have always felt that the very essence of the human problem was grasped by that fine music critic, J. W. N. Sullivan, in his classic autobiography But For the Grace of God (London: Jonathan Cape 1932). He writes about the first world war:

Continue reading