Found- a press cutting from The Bookman, March 1932 by one De V. Payen-Payne, a good evaluation of the life and work of C. K. Scott Moncrieff – in a review of a posthumous book by him. It may be a myth or an exaggeration but I heard that Scott-Moncrieff was working on his monumental Proust translation while on the staff at The Times and occasionally when he was stuck for the English mot juste (as it were) he would consult the entire office and everything came to a halt while the right word was found – world news be damned!
Painting of Scott Moncrieff by E S Mercer
It is a moot point whether a mother or a wife or any near relative can write the ideal biography. Not that this book pretends to be a biography, although it contains many details that only a mother can give, and will prove invaluable when the ideal biographer appears, and Scott Moncrieff’s work is assessed critically and compared with the lit he led. Some may think that too much space has been given to his experiences in the War and to the letters that he wrote to his family and friends when on service. Since 1918 we have a large number of such accounts, and Scott Moncrieff’s adventures, although most creditable to himself, were not very different from those of many other intellectual men thrown into the cortex of combat. Others too may think that the postscript is too personal for inclusion. Instead of it, an index would have been a desirable adjustment. Continue reading →
Found - a rare 1916 first edition of Mendel, A Story of Youth by Gilbert Cannan. The novel is a roman a clef about the artist Mark Gertler and has much on his disastrous affair with Bloomsbury Goddess Dora Carrington. The verse dedication is to her:
To D.C. Shall tears be shed because the blossoms fall, Because the cloudy cherry slips away, And leaves its branches in a leafy thrall Till ruddy fruits do hang upon the spray Shall tears be shed because the youthful bloom
And all th'excess of early life must fade For larger wealth of joy in smaller room To dwell contained in love of man and maid? Nay, rather leap, O heart, to see fulfilled In certain joy th'uncertain promised glee, To have so many mountain torrents spilled For one fair river moving to the sea.
Gilbert Cannan entertained Mark Gertler, Katherine Mansfield and D H Lawrence among others to a famous 1914 Christmas party at Cholesbury Mill in Buckinghamshire and between 1914 and 1916 Gertler was a frequent visitor. Gertler used Cannan’s shed as a studio and his painting of Gilbert Cannan at his Mill now hangs in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (for which much thanks).
Between 1914-15 Gertler pursued a frustrating love affair at Cannan's Mill and elsewhere with Dora Carrington, who eventually left him to live with Lytton Strachey. Their relationship is the subject of the 1995 film Carrington*. After Strachey’s death in 1932 Carrington committed suicide.
*Rufus Sewell played a fiery Mark Gertler in the movie. Below is a sample from Christopher Hampton's script - Gertler is very annoyed that Carrington is in love with Strachey:
Mark Gertler: Haven't you any self-respect? Dora Carrington: Not much. Mark Gertler: But he's a disgusting pervert! Dora Carrington: You always have to put up with something.
Found in a copy of The Romantic Movement in French Literature - Traced By a Series of Texts (C.U.P. 1924) this obituary of A.A. Tilley by his co-author H.F. Stewart - also a distinguished Cambridge academic and francophile, but so far rather neglected on the web. It appeared in The Cambridge Review 6/3/1943. It is a model of its kind and gives a glimpse into a vanished world..
Arthur Augustus Tilley - December 1, 1851 - December 4, 1942.No one who visited Arthur Tilley in the evening of his long life but must have felt himself standing on hallowed ground, in the presence of a veteran who, having fulfilled his course, was quietly, serenely, awaiting his call. "Le vent de l'éternité le frappait au front." Not that there was anything pietistic about his conversation. He would speak with grave simplicity of things deep and high, and pass easily to current events upon which he commented with shrewdness and vigour, or to the sometimes affectionate, sometimes caustic, review of men and their doings in the past. And what a range, and how varied, his memory covered! He was the favourite nephew of Anthony Trollope, whom as a boy he adored and as a mature critic he greatly admired. He had known everyone worth knowing i the University for 70 years, and his recollections were sometimes starling. A propos of a picture card of the Puy de Dôme he said to me the last time I saw him, "I took Bradshaw up there; I shouldn't have done so if I had known his heart was bad."
Sent in by the constant jotter R M Healey, this piece about a major/minor writer still admired in France. His main work was translated as Mémories d'Un Bébé Public and another work Steiner's Tour was first issued by Olympia Press in Paris (1960.) The dust wrapper was designed by Ronald Searle.
Philip O’Connor was a faded starlet of thirties Surrealism when I wrote to him sixteen years ago. Mine was not a fan letter, though I liked his Memoirs of a Public Baby (1958) and his surreal contributions to New Verse in the ‘thirties. I wanted to know a few details concerning his association with New Verse editor Geoffrey Grigson, but I got a lot more than I bargained for.
I obtained his address in the south of France via a female contact, who had visited him recently. She reported back that he was ‘not at all well ‘.He was, in fact, dying slowly of cancer. So I wrote to him and received a three page letter ( 21 Oct 1997)that crackled and fizzed with philosophical speculations mixed with invective, mainly aimed at middle class English sensibilities, the first page of which I offer here.
The other two pages are in a similar vein. It was all great stuff and good reading for a student of Grigson, or indeed thirties literature in general. Enclosed with the letter were several unpublished pages of his ongoing Journal which, as he observed himself, could be read alongside the letter as reflecting his current literary and philosophical preoccupations. At one point he invited me to visit him in his ‘tiny’ house in Fontareches.