Version classiqueVersion mobile

The Life and Letters of William Sharp and “Fiona Macleod”. Volume 1

 | 
William Sharp
, 
Fiona Macleod

Chapter Four

Texte intégral

Life: 1887–1888

1In the spring of 1887, Sharp succeeded his friend Eric Robertson as editor of the “Literary Chair’ in The Young Folk’s Paper, a widely-circulated weekly paper for boys. This appointment brought “steady work” and “a reliable income, a condition of security hitherto unknown to us, which proved an excellent tonic to the delicate editor” (Memoir 127–28). Assisted by Elizabeth, Sharp was responsible for reading, evaluating, and responding to “efforts in prose and verse of the ‘young folk’ who wished to exercise their budding literary talents.” The best pieces appeared in the paper “prefaced by an article of criticism and instruction written by their editor and critic.”

2Though he remained weak, Sharp continued to work and travel. After resting for a time at the Caird’s country house in Hampshire, he and Elizabeth went to Paris in early May to review the Salon for the Glasgow Herald. On April 28, before leaving for Paris, he asked Ford Madox Brown, who was in Manchester painting frescoes in the new Town Hall, if it would be convenient for him to stay with him on May 16 or 17. He hoped to go to Manchester for the Royal Jubilee Exhibition celebrating the fiftieth year of Queen Victoria’s reign. All manner of merchandise and crafts were displayed in a huge hall, including paintings Sharp wanted to review for the Glasgow Herald. He must have gone to Manchester, since in a letter to Brown in January 1890, he recalled and praised a framed etching of Brown’s “Entombment” he had seen in the Exhibition. In his May 1887 letter to Brown, he said he had finished a long and laudatory introduction to a volume of Phillip Marston’s poetry called For a Song’s Sake, which was published by the Scott firm later in the year. Brown had known Phillip and was close to the Marston family. Sharp hoped he would be pleased with the volume, especially its introduction. Of the volume’s reception, Sharp wrote in July to Louise Chandler Moulton, another friend of the Marstons, that it was selling well almost solely because of the Memoir Sharp wrote as its introduction; one reviewer said Philip “was at least fortunate in death to have such a biographer.”

3Along with his articles and editorial work on The Young Folk’s Paper and for the Walter Scott firm, Sharp’s main endeavor in 1887 was his monograph on Shelley for Scott’s Great Writers Series. He continued to correspond with Shelley experts, chief among them Edward Dowden, and devoted considerable effort to the book, which was published on the first of October. It contained instead of a dedication a “special acknowledgment of indebtedness” to Dowden “whose two comprehensive volumes on Shelley form the completest and most reliable record extant, and at the same time constitute the worthiest monument wherewith the poet’s memory has yet been honored.” Elizabeth’s description of his choice of Shelley for his first Great Writers book is telling. Shelley was the inspiring genius of his youth, she wrote, and “He was in sympathy with much of Shelley’s thought: with his hatred of rigid conventionality, of the tyranny of social laws, with his antagonism to existing marriage and divorce laws, with his belief in the sanctity of passion when called forth by high and true emotion” (Memoir 131). A letter Sharp wrote to a Mr. Clarke in December 1887 demonstrates the strength of his convictions regarding women’s rights. He called the views of women in a poem Clarke sent him for comment “absolute lies and absurdities.” In a second letter to Clarke, he affirmed the influence of Shelley: “instead of my reverence for true womanhood falling off, it is yearly growing more strengthened, till now with Shelley it is one of my cardinal faiths – the equality of the sexes.” Those were the sentiments of Mona Caird and, indeed, Elizabeth herself. By mentioning them in the context of the Shelley biography, Elizabeth was setting the stage for the events that would change of the course of their lives in the following decade.

4In August 1887 Sharp received a letter of concern from Hall Caine who knew more about Sharp’s health than anyone apart from his immediate family. His response, from North Queensferry in Fife on September first, is a frank and detailed account of the heart problem that plagued him:

I think you are the only one of my friends who has recognised what a secret enemy my ill-health is. I look so robust, and (often at a great effort) try to be cheerful and sanguine that many think I have little to complain of. You, however, realise something of what I have really to endure. There are perhaps few people who know what “angina pectoris” really is, though “snake in the breast” gives them some idea it is not pleasant. If from hereditary taint it sometimes attacks the most robust natures, & is then deadliest. The agony of it is sometimes too great for conscious endurance, and over one’s head always hangs the shadow of sudden death. The doctor has warned me it may come at any moment; I may stoop too suddenly, may fall, may receive startling news – anything of the kind may bring about instant death. This, added to the precariousness of the literary life and its incessant hard work, gives me many a dark hour. Sometimes I awake at night with the dull gripping pain which is ominous of attack, and as I lie by my sleeping wife I do not know if I shall ever see the morning’s light. Then I think of the hard struggle of life, and what my death would mean to my wife, and – well, I needn’t dilate on the subject.

5He continued, revealing more about his approach to life and death:

But partly because it is my natural bias and in great part because I have trained myself to this kind of self-control, I betray nothing of all this to any one. The other day a friend remarked to my wife that I was looking so well and was so cheerful & confident that I must surely be exceptionally well – and yet this was shortly after an attack so violent and dreadful that it was some time before I came round. If, however, I did not keep this ‘brave front’ before the world, I would give way to the shadow that dogs me always. I never allow it to overcome me: if it be too appellant I face it and as it were frown it down. I have no fear of death, which the soul in me knows to be but the gate of life. The world is so very beautiful, and full of such transcendent hints of the divine, that death should be as welcome to all as the first breath of summer to the hillslopes and meadows. Yet oh I do cling to life too! There is so much I want to do, so many dreams which I would fain should not all pass oblivion-ward unaccomplished.

6Finally, he confirmed the singularity of his relationship with Caine: “You are the only one of my friends to whom I have written this – but you drew it from me by your brotherly sympathy. And now having read my words destroy and forget them.” Fortunately, Caine ignored that direction for in this letter we have Sharp’s deepest thoughts and feelings about life and death. We feel the pain that often gripped him and the burden of recognizing each day might be his last.

7Improved finances enabled the Sharps to move, at the close of 1887, from a flat on Talgarth Road in West Kensington to a larger house in South Hampstead where “the air was purer and access to green fields easier.” In early November, in good health and spirits, Sharp told Caine he had taken “a most delightful house” in Goldhurst Terrace, South Hampstead, and planned to move in at the end of December. He suggested Caine do the same as the neighborhood is “well sheltered from fog & east wind – is otherwise healthy – & is not inconvenient.” It would be grand to have Caine as a near neighbor. Later in the month ill-health struck again. Elizabeth took her husband to the Isle of Wight to recover from “inflammation of the lungs.” They returned in early January and settled into the South Hampstead house they leased for three years and called Wescam. It had a sunny study on the ground floor so the “invalid” would not have to deal with stairs. It needed a name because its address – 17a Goldhurst Terrace – was frequently confused with 17 Goldhurst Terrace, the house in front facing the street. They began holding Sunday evening “at homes” which were attended by “all those with whom we were in sympathy,” and the list of guests Elizabeth provided in the Memoir includes many well-known writers and editors. As winter turned to spring Sharp’s health held in the new location. His editorial work and Elizabeth’s well-placed friends and charm as a hostess solidified their position near the center of London’s literary life.

8Elizabeth’s good friend Mona Allison Caird and her husband James Alexander Henryson Caird, a wealthy Scottish landowner, had a much larger house a few blocks north on Arkwrite Road where the Sharps were frequently entertained and met many of Mona’s well-placed friends, including Thomas Hardy. She was a formidable figure who was gaining a reputation, praised by many and denigrated by more, as an advocate for women’s rights, especially greater equality in marriage. The American women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton visited Mona Caird in February 1888 and later recalled: “Mrs. Caird was a very graceful, pleasing woman, and so gentle in manner and appearance that no one would deem her capable of hurling such thunderbolts at the long-suffering Saxon people.” [Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences 1815–1897 (1898)]. The Sharps shared Mona’s views on marriage and women’s rights, and when they needed help, she invariably came to their rescue.

9Elizabeth was pleased by her husband’s improved health, and better health enabled greater productivity. Sharp selected poems and wrote prefaces for an anthology of odes and a book of American sonnets, both published in Scott’s Canterbury Series, of which he was General Editor. He contributed reviews and critical articles to The Academy, The Athenaeum, and the Literary World. In April, he reviewed the French Salon for the Glasgow Herald and described it to Frederick Shields as “the resort of the evil rather than of the good spirits of art.” The Sharps spent Whitsuntide with George Meredith at his home near Box Hill in Surrey. Sharp described the visit in a May 22 letter to Richard Le Gallienne: “I have just returned from my delightful visit to the loveliest part of the loveliest county in Southern England – and with glorious weather & such a host as George Meredith I need not say that I have enjoyed the last few days immensely.” From Box Hill, they walked over to Dorking to see their friend Grant Allen who was entertaining Joseph Cotton, editor of The Academy. Sharp told Cotton he was pleased by Le Gallienne’s Academy review of his edition of Philip Marston’s poetry. Meredith and Sharp had long conversations during the day and, Elizabeth recalled, Meredith read from his novels at night: “The reader’s enjoyment seemed as great as that of his audience, and it interested me to hear how closely his methods of conversation resembled, in wittiness and brilliance, those of the characters in his novels” (Memoir 145). On May 23, Sharp wrote to Theodore Watts: “What a charming fellow G. M. is – is he not? The more I see of him, the more I admire and like him.”

10Sharp also told Watts on the 23rd that he would send him a copy of his third book of poetry – Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy – which had just been published by Walter Scott. It was “maturer work,” and he hoped Watts would find it an improvement over his first two volumes of poetry.

In substance, it is imaginative in the truest sense – as I do not hesitate to say. It honestly seems to me that with all its demerits there is stuff in it of the purely imaginative kind such as you will not easily find in the work of other contemporary minor poets. Of course I shall be disappointed if no one likes it, or thinks highly of it – but for the first time in my life I am indifferent to adverse criticism: for I feel well assured that the little booklet is sterling – and with this assured confidence a bad reception can at the worst be but unfortunate and disagreeable.

11Having described the main qualities of the book, Sharp said he was not urging Watts to review it (in The Athenaeum where he was a poetry critic), but the letter spells out what he hoped Watts would say should he decide to do so.

Fig. 6. George Meredith, no later than 1913, in Robert Louis Stevenson: A Bookman Extra Number 1913 (London: Hodder & Stoughton), p. 138, Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:George_Meredith%27s_Portrait.jpg

12Sharp intended to print only a hundred copies, but given the “unexpected and gratifying anticipatory demand” he agreed to a “larger edition – most of which is already engaged.” Perhaps the high demand would encourage Watts to write or solicit a review. In the “Dedicatory Introduction” to the volume Sharp expressed his “earnest conviction” that “a Romantic revival [is] imminent in our poetic literature, a true awakening of genuine romantic sentiment.” He dedicated the volume to his wife who has had “a sterling appreciation of imaginative literature.” She shared with him “the true Celtic passion for the weird and supernatural, and for vividly romantic sentiment and action.” In predicting a turn away from realism and formalism, Sharp hoped the volume would inspire a third romantic movement in the century’s poetry, the first begun by Wordsworth and Keats and the second by Rossetti and William Morris. A few poems in the volume are a marked improvement over those published earlier, but its main interest is the “Dedicatory Introduction” which forecasts the poetry Sharp would write as Fiona Macleod. The volume did not have the broad impact Sharp anticipated or bring him the recognition he sought.

13As 1888 proceeded, Sharp developed a close friendship with Richard Le Gallienne, an aspiring poet who lived in Liverpool and would move to London in 1891 to write for The Star. On May 19, he thanked Le Gallienne for his friendly and sympathetic Academy review of his Marston book. Three days later he asked Le Gallienne to let him know when he would be in London as he looked forward to the pleasure of meeting him. In early June, Le Gallienne did come to London, and Sharp sent him a special invitation: “If you have not made any other arrangement could you come here on Sunday evening next? We don’t “dress” on Sunday evenings, as friends sometimes drop in then promiscuously: and indeed on Sunday next we are, I believe, to have ‘high tea’ in place of dinner, for the sake of domestic convenience of some kind.” He asked Le Gallienne to come at six so they could have a private “hour’s chat” before the other guests arrived. He had sent Le Gallienne a copy of Romantic Ballads and wanted to talk with him about the new Romantic movement its preface forecast. He sensed from reading Le Gallienne’s poems that he might be a willing recruit for the new Romanticism and recognized his potential as a major actor in London’s literary life in the 1890s. Sharp’s interest in Le Gallienne and the attention he received when he moved to London were due in no small measure to the young man’s carriage and physiognomy – indeed, his physical beauty.

Fig. 7. Arthur Ellis (c. 1894). Photograph of Richard Le Gallienne. Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Richard_Le_Gallienne,_by_Alfred_Ellis.jpg, Public Domain.

14Le Gallienne also valued their relationship as he affirmed strikingly in his The Romantic Nineties (Putman and Sons, London and New York, 1926):

When I reached London [from his native Liverpool], Sharp was already known as the biographer of Rossetti, the editor of an excellent anthology of sonnets, a popularizer of poetry. As editor of the famous “Canterbury” series, model of many such to follow, [and] something of a poet himself.… It was his personality that mattered most. He was probably the handsomest man in London, a large flamboyant “sun-god” sort of creature, with splendid, vital, curling gold hair and a pointed golden beard, the bluest of Northern eyes, and the complexion of a girl. Laughing energy radiated from his robust frame, and he was all exuberance, enthusiasm, and infectious happiness, a veritable young Dionysus.… No one could know him without falling under the spell of his generous magnetic nature, and I was proud to count him among my dearest friends.

15Le Gallienne’s description of Sharp rivals and confirms that of Ernest Rhys in Everyman Remembers, and they differ substantially from the William Sharp portrayed in his September 1887 letter to Hall Caine. In 1900 Le Gallienne dedicated his Travels in England to Sharp with affection and a brief but compelling piece of doggerel:

Will, you have travelled far and wide
On many a foreign country-side,
Tell me if you have fairer found
Than honeysuckled English ground;
Or did you, all the journey through,
Find such a friend, dear Will–as you?

16In August 1888, the Sharps went to Scotland where they stayed two and a half months visiting family and friends. In a mid-October birthday letter to Theodore Watts, Sharp said there had been only four “wholly wet days” during their visit. They had spent most of their time near the sea in the west Highlands or on the east coast, “but we were also for some weeks at a glorious spot in Strathspey, a lovely moorland farm a thousand feet above the sea, among the Grampians, in Morayshire” just northwest of Aberdeen. While in Scotland he finished his second book for Walter Scott’s Great Writers Series, a study of the German poet Heinrich Heine (1897–1865). He was seldom ill during his annual visits to Scotland, and his letters were invariably cheerful. Even the letter he sent Caine from Fife in September 1887 describing his bouts of illness concluded, “I have been in a strong mental and spiritual ferment lately, and I think I shall speedily write something I have long had in my mind.” Perhaps it was the fresh air and familiar surroundings augmented by relief from the pressures and tensions of London.

17When he returned to London in the fall, Sharp asked Andrew Chatto if his firm, Chatto & Windus, would like to publish a romance he was writing called Sampriel. The novel was “a romance of the adventurous mind, an attempt toward further stimulating the advent of the true romantic sentiment.” Chatto accepted the offer and published it in 1889 under the title Children of Tomorrow. The love affair at the center of the romance embodied many of the Shelleyan ideas Sharp found appealing. As enumerated by Elizabeth in the Memoir 146, those ideas reflected the influence of Mona Caird who had written a book Sharp asked Chatto to consider publishing. Children of Tomorrow, like Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy, exemplified what he called in the letter to Chatto the “new romantic movement.” Just as the poems represented a flowering of Romanticism, the novel was “destined to revolutionize contemporary fiction.”

18The renewed good health Sharp enjoyed during the summer in Scotland lasted through the fall, enabling him to continue the writing and editing that produced a reasonable income. Although these two years – 1887 and 1888 – had been marked by bouts of ill health, they also included periods of hard work that brought improved financial circumstances and acceptance and respect within the London literary establishment. In the end, however, neither Romantic Ballads and Poems of Fantasy nor Children of Tomorrow brought Sharp the accolades and acolytes he sought. The new Romanticism proclaimed in the books was undercut by the quality of the product. Oscar Wilde made that point bitingly in reviewing Romantic Ballads: the introduction announcing the new Romanticism was the “most interesting part of the volume,” but it heralded “a dawn that rose long ago,” and the poems were “quite inadequate.” The critical response to the two volumes – and the lack of it – caused Sharp to believe his reputation as an editor and critic hampered his effort to gain acceptance and approval for his poetry and fiction. That belief influenced his decision to break from editing in 1890 and launch a new life, which culminated four years later in his creation of a new personality – Fiona Macleod – through whom he relaunched his “new Romanticism” pseudonymously under the umbrella of the Celtic revival.

Letters: 1887–1889

To J. Stanley Little, January 3, 1887

1946, Talgarth Road|, West Kensington|, W |. 3: 1: 87

20My dear Sir,

21Herewith I enclose my cheque for one guinea – being my subscription to the “Shelley Socy” for 1887.

  • 1 The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Great Writers Series (London: Walter Scott, 1887.)

22I am engaged on a volume on “Shelley”1 for the new series “Great Writers” – so wd. be obliged if I could have the Socy publications now due as soon as practicable.

23Yours faithfully|, William Sharp

24Jas. Stanley Little Esq|. Hon Secy

25ALS Princeton

To Edward Dowden, [early January, 1887]2

  • 2 I am indebted to Professor Terry Meyers for dating this letter.

2646 Talgarth Road| West Kensington| W

27Dear Dowden

28Your card just to hand. Don’t forget that if you can arrange to spend a few days in London on your return to Ireland my wife and I wd. have sincere pleasure in putting you up. A spare bedroom always is ready for friendly occupation, – and you wd. at least have a warm welcome here. Do you know Mrs. D. O. Hill in Edinburgh – the sister of Sir Noel Paton and the most eminent woman-sculptor our country has produced? She is an ardent Shelleyan – and has, moreover, produced a fine bust of Shelley.

29Hoping your lectures will be highly successful, & cautioning you to be more careful against cold etc. than poor Sydney Dobell was when he lectured for the first & last time at the Philosophical – also trusting that you may return via London –

30Sincerely yours| William Sharp

31ALS TCD

To J. Stanley Little [January?, 1887]

3246, Talgarth Road|, West Kensington|. W.

33Dear Mr. Little,

  • 3 What Is Art (1884.) Seems to have been privately printed.

34I am much indebted to you for sending me your treatise on aspects of art.3 I already knew it, and admire and agree with it heartily. You take the manly and honest, and as it seems to me, the only true view of art in its widest sense. Some of the chapters are particularly noteworthy. I trust the book has had a wide sale: the more widespread the influence of such teachings the better for all workers in Art, Poetry, and Fiction – in all the Arts: and for those to whom these workers appeal.

35With thanks, and kind regards,

36Yours very truly|, William Sharp

37ALS Princeton

To Richard Le Gallienne,4 [late February, 1887]

  • 4 Richard Le Gallienne (1866–1947) went to London in 1889 to act as Literary Secretary for Wilson Ba (...)

3846, Talgarth Road|. West Kensington|, W.

39… My other vols (original I mean) are not easily procurable now, but if you have not seen my last vol. of poems (1884) – “Earth’s Voices – Sospitra – etc”. I should be glad to send a copy to so kindly and sympathetic a reader.

40Believe me|, Yours very truly|, William Sharp

  • 5 “Rossetti in Prose and Verse,” National and English Review (formerly The National Review), 9 (Marc (...)

41P.S. I have just finished an article upon Rossetti for the March number of The National Review, in a footnote to which I have referred to poor Philip Marston’s death, and quoted Rossetti’s sonnet to him – which I see you know.5 I have forgotten to say that I am interested about your own poems. Are you going to publish in London? If so, you may have to come to town – pray come and see me, if you do.

42ALS (fragment) University of Texas at Austin

To James Cotton,6 [Spring, 1887?]

  • 6 Editor of The Academy.

43Thursday

44My dear Cotton,

45My memory is so infernally bad just now – & I find I forgot two things when I saw you today. One was to give you a copy of the reissue of “Sonnets of This Century” in its cheap form. It is now thoroughly revised – & contains 12 sonnets not in other editions. In this – practically the ninth – I have put two of my own: I always refused to do so hitherto. And for half a dozen special friends I have had inserted as frontispiece a silhouette of myself done by my wife.

46The other was to ask you if you would care to edit a vol. sometime in the Canterbury Poets? It does not pay when there is much trouble, but when it simply means a little arrangement (perhaps not even that) and a short introduction, it is sometimes worthwhile. As your tastes are scholarly it struck me that you might care to do a nominally classic vol. I think a reprint of Chapman’s Homer would be interesting. What think you?

  • 7 Sir Frank Thomas Marzials (1840–1912) succeeded Eric S. Robertson as editor of the Great Writers s (...)

47Before I saw you today I called on Marzials,7 prepared to throw up my book on Shelley: but he very kindly shifted it on till August.

  • 8 Probably a brother of Elizabeth A. Sharp.

48Robertson saw my cousin8 in Bombay: he does not seem to have improved in health.

49Yours ever| W. S.

50ALS Huntington

To May Clarissa Gillington, [Spring, 1887]

5146, Talgarth Road|, West Kensington. W.

  • 9 May Clarissa Gillington’s Byron’s Poems was published by Elliot Stock in 1892. In addition to poet (...)

52Dear Miss Gillington9

53I am glad that I have been able to be of any encouragement and help to you.

54Under the circumstances I think I may venture upon a certain explanation. Some months ago Mr. Eric S. Robertson – who was one of my chief friends – gave up the Literary Editorship of Young Folks Paper on his appointment as Professor of Literature at the University of the Punjab in northern India. At the time you receive this he will be lecturing to his students at Lahore!

55On his resignation, the Editorship was offered to me by the Proprietor of the paper, and I accepted it. While Mr. Robertson was getting ready to start, your MS. vol came to him, and was by him passed on to me. At the time I did not know your work, and took the vol. indifferently – for I am afraid that having reviewed in our chief literary journals many scores of books has made me somewhat more callous than I used to be. The night before Mr. Robertson sailed I dined with him, and then told him that I had looked into your vol., & your poems in back nos. of the Y. F. P. and was really impressed by the genuine poetic impulse they betrayed – in fact, that I had a distinctly higher opinion than he himself had formulated.

56Since then I have thought often of your work. Editorially I always strive to be absolutely just – as perhaps you have inferred! Although, comparatively speaking, a young man myself, it is now many years ago since I fairly made my debut in literature – and it is the memory of my own experiences which makes me glad to be of any assistance to those whom I consider to be genuine poets at the outset of their literary life.

57I was in So. Hampstead the other day and thought of calling upon you to talk over your poems but found time pressed me too greatly to enable me to do so.

58When you and your sister are next in town perhaps you will let me know (writing to me under my own name, & to my private address).

  • 10 Two more printings of this successful anthology appeared in 1886 and a second edition was publishe (...)

59Since you are so pleased at my having inserted a sonnet of yours in the latest edition of my “Sonnets of this Century,”10 I think you will be gratified also at a letter you will likely receive erelong from my wife, who also is somewhat of a victim to cacoethes scribendi.

60The more I think of it the more I am convinced of the advisability of your and your sister’s bringing out a vol. of poems conjointly. I should like to talk the matter over with you before you “proceed to extremities”. I am glad to hear that your sister is also a sea-painter. As an art critic this interests me, and I hope that some day I may encounter her work professionally.

61There are good reasons why an Editor as far as possible preserves his “incognito,” therefore kindly consider my confidence as strictly private, i. e. to go no further. Except when addressing me privately and to this address, I must remain the Editor of Young Folks Paper.

62With sincere good wishes|, Yours most truly|, William Sharp

63ALS Princeton

To Richard Garnett, [Spring, 1887]

64Northbrook House| Micheldever| Hants

65- Dr. Garnett

  • 11 Richard Garnett, Life of Thomas Carlyle, Great Writers Series (London: Walter Scott, 1887).
  • 12 An anthology of poems about the sea arranged by Elizabeth A. Sharp for the Canterbury Poets Series (...)
  • 13 The reference here is to Garnett’s Io in Egypt and Other Poems, which was published in 1859. It wa (...)

66I was in town a day or two ago for a few hours, and among various letters & packets found your “Carlyle”11 which you so kindly sent. I am looking forward to reading it tomorrow. As I had already ordered a copy, I gave the one you sent into the hands of my wife – as from you – knowing how much she would value it. From a hasty dipping into the book it looks most entertaining, and satisfactory to the Carlylean. But I shall let you know again what my impressions are. I suppose you received the copy of Sea Music12 which Mrs. Sharp sent to you? I liked all of yours therein, but especially the very beautiful “When shall we cross the sandy bar?” – which, if I am not mistaken, was published in your poems.13

67Hoping you and yours are well

68Sincerely yours| William Sharp

  • 14 Sharp’s Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley was published as number 11 in the Great Writers Series (Londo (...)

69Shelley14 is almost out of my hands.

70ALS University of Texas at Austin

To Ford Madox Brown, [April 28, 1887]

7146, Talgarth Road| West Kensington| W.

72Dear Mr. Madox Brown

  • 15 The Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1887 was held in Manchester, England, to celebrate the Golden Jubi (...)

73You were so good last year as to ask me to stop a night with you if I were in your neighbourhood. I intend to be in Manchester for a day or a night about the 16th or 17th of May – for the Exhibition – and it wd be so very pleasant [for] me to pay you a visit if it were convenient for you.15

74My wife and I go over to Paris (for the Salon) on Saturday morning, and we shall not return till about the 14th.

75Hoping you are well and that your work at the Manchester Town Hall Frescoes is progressing satisfactorily.

76Sincerely yours| William Sharp

  • 16 Philip Bourke Marston died after a prolonged illness on February 14, 1887 at the age of thirty-six (...)

77P.S. I have just finished the Memoir of poor Philip Marston to precede his forthcoming volume of stories.16

78Transcript of ALS sold by Sotheby’s on December 18, 1995

To Edward Dowden, [June 7, 1887]17

  • 17 Date from postmark.
  • 18 Printed on stationary and crossed out: New Athenaeum Club, | 26, Suffolk Street, | Pall Mall.

7946 Talgarth Road| West Kensington| London|. W.18

80My dear Dowden

  • 19 Edward Dowden, “Victorian Literature,” The Fortnightly Review, vol. 47, June, 1887, pp. 835–67.
  • 20 After taking his B. A. from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1881, John Stuart Verschoyle (1853–1915 (...)

81Just a line to let you know how greatly one of your readers has enjoyed your most able and brilliant article in the current “Fortnightly” – the best article of the kind which I ever remember to have read.19 It has been much admired by others also, I can assure you from my own knowledge. What pleases me most is its broad outlook – its wide survey – no mere platitudes of generalization, but the genuine all-embracingness of fine vision. But I am also delighted with its moderation, tolerance, wide sympathy, and high tone. Even an editor can wax enthusiastic over it (or one practically an editor) for Verschoyle20 was speaking to me about it the other day in no measured terms.

  • 21 Edward Silsbee was a sea captain from Massachusetts and an admirer of Shelley’s poetry. “Many acqu (...)
  • 22 Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (1798–1879), who called herself Claire, was a stepdaughter of William Go (...)

82I hope you are to be in London this summer. Did you ever meet a Mr. Silsbee?21 I had a long talk with him at his rooms the other day. He has resided for some years with Claire Clairemont – & has several Shelley MSS. He told me several unpublished stories about Shelley. I wonder if Claire Clairemont’s statements are quite reliable.22

83Hoping you are well, and writing some poetry (which, though I admire all you have written, is the foremost thing).

84Sincerely yours| William Sharp

  • 23 See note to Sharp’s April 28 letter to Ford Maddox Brown.

85P.S. I sent you a copy – a fortnight ago – of poor Philip Marston’s posthumous vol, with my Memoir of him: which I hope duly reached you.23 They say that only ladies go in for PSS, but I find I must add another: – I had a letter some time ago from an unknown correspondent about my “Sonnets of This Century” wherein she mentioned that she had been so much struck by your sonnets, theretofore unknown to her, that she had purchased your “Poems”. W. S.

86ALS TCD

To Louise Chandler Moulton,24 [? July 3, 1887]25

  • 24 Ellen Louise Chandler Moulton (1835–1908), a writer of poetry, fiction, and children’s stories, wa (...)
  • 25 Tentative date from blurred postmark.

87Sorry to have had to leave your charming “afternoon” so abruptly today. I will explain to you how imperative the reason was, another day. If I had stayed, I wd. have had to have been rude (unavoidably) & this I wished to avert.

  • 26 See note to Sharp’s April 28 letter to Ford Maddox Brown.
  • 27 Philip Bourke Marston (1850–1887), the son of John Westland Marston, a well-known man of letters, (...)

88You were looking “blooming”. I am glad to see you so well. The “Song’s Sake”26 is going well (Roberts Bros. have sent a preliminary order for 250) but, the publisher tells me, almost solely on a/c of the Memoir. The stories have not taken very well, as yet. Reviews all very flattering: one just to hand says P.27 was at least fortunate in death in having such a biographer. I’m so glad.

89W. S.

90ACS Louise Chandler Moulton Collection, Library of Congress

To Edward Dowden, [? August, 1887]

  • 28 “Obertoun, | Dumbartonshire” is printed on the stationary and crossed out.

9116 Rosslyn Terrace| Kelvinside| Glasgow28

92Dear Mr. Dowden

93Thanks for your note, forwarded to me from London to above address (good, for letters, throughout Augt. & Sept?).

94I should be very glad to have the loan of Tyler’s unpublished Essay as you kindly offer – if you care to entrust it to me and to risk postal mischances.

95No, thank the Gods, whatever my demerits I have not yet died – only succumbed to a different kind of ‘fatal dart’: but I shd. much rather have died than have written the volume to which you refer, by someone of the same name whom oblivion hath mightily overtaken.

96If you can spare time I shd. be most glad to hear from you again, but don’t want to be a nuisance.

97In extreme haste| Sincerely yours| William Sharp

98ALS TCD.

To Hall Caine, September 1, 1887

99St. Margaret’s | North Queensferry| Fife| N. B |. 1: 9: 87

100My dear Caine

101I was very pleased to receive your sympathetic letter. I think you are the only one of my friends who has recognised what a secret enemy my illhealth is. I look so robust, and (often at a great effort) try to be cheerful and sanguine that many think I have little to complain of. You, however, realise something of what I have really to endure. There are perhaps few people who know what “angina pectoris” really is, though “snake in the breast” gives them some idea it is not pleasant. If from hereditary taint it sometimes attacks the most robust natures, & is then deadliest. The agony of it is sometimes too great for conscious endurance, and over one’s head always hangs the shadow of sudden death. The doctor has warned me it may come at any moment; I may stoop too suddenly, may fall, may receive startling news – anything of the kind may bring about instant death. This, added to the precariousness of the literary life and its incessant hard work, gives me many a dark hour. Sometimes I awake at night with the dull gripping pain which is ominous of attack, and as I lie by my sleeping wife I do not know if I shall ever see the morning’s light. Then I think of the hard struggle of life, and what my death would mean to my wife, and – well, I needn’t dilate on the subject.

102But partly because it is my natural bias and in great part because I have trained myself to this kind of self-control, I betray nothing of all this to any one. The other day a friend remarked to my wife that I was looking so well and was so cheerful & confident that I must surely be exceptionally well – and yet this was shortly after an attack so violent and dreadful that it was sometime before I came round. If, however, I did not keep this ‘brave front’ before the world, I would give way to the shadow that dogs me always. I never allow it to overcome me: if it be too appellant I face it and as it were frown it down. I have no fear of death, which the soul in me knows to be but the gate of life. The world is so very beautiful, and full of such transcendent hints of the divine, that death should be as welcome to all as the first breath of summer to the hillslopes and meadows. Yet oh I do cling to life too! There is so much I want to do, so many dreams which I would fain should not all pass oblivion ward unaccomplished.

103And after all, my complaint may be kept in check: five, ten, even twenty years may yet be mine. The doctors are very hopeful that my almost phenomenal vitality and recuperative power may enable [me] to triumph over my insidious enemy.

104You are the only one of my friends to whom I have written this – but you drew it from me by your brotherly sympathy. And now having read my words destroy and forget them. I do not complain, and would fain not be thought one of those who wail against inevitable laws. The gods have given me so much in my life, that if I were not brave & hopeful under my petty troubles I would be very poor stuff indeed.

105After two or three happy days in the Border country (close to Abbotsford) I am now at one of the loveliest estates in eastern Scotland. The grounds are wild & beautiful, and the views oversea and land are divine. I have been in a strong mental and spiritual ferment lately, and I think I shall speedily write something I have long had in my mind.

  • 29 Caine’s The Deemster: A Romance in Three Volumes was published by Chatto & Windus in London in Nov (...)

106Please do as you suggest about Appleton’s. Their reprints are to be better than ever, and, as you know, they were at all times better than Harpers’. I can pretty safely give you the assurance up to at least, 15. (Harper’s only give from, 8 – to, 10). Please tell Lang[?] & co. you are dealing direct, and kindly send me the “copy” at your early convenience (no pressing hurry) of course. The interest grows keener & keener. It is a great romance, I believe – a book it will be impossible to overlook.29 Every word seems to have come through the crucible of pure emotion: higher praise I could not give.

107Ever| dear friend| Sincerely yours| William Sharp

108PS I shall be here till Wedny or Thursday next – thereafter for two or three weeks, at least, my letter address will be Glen Cottage| Murrayfield| Edinburgh.

109ALS Manx Museum, Isle of Man

To Edmund Stedman, [early October, 1887]30

  • 30 The October 1887 number of the Century Magazine contained an article by Edmund Clarence Stedman (s (...)

110… Since you are so kindly going to do me the honour of mention in your forthcoming supplementary work, I should not like to be misrepresented.… I am a student of much else besides literature. Life in all its manifestations is of passionate interest for me, and I cannot rest from incessant study and writing. Yet I feel that I am but on the threshold of my literary life. I have a life-time of ambitious schemes before me; I may perhaps live to fulfill a tenth part of them.…

111Memoir 129 and 150

To J. Stanley Little, [mid-October?, 1887]

112Monday Afternoon

113Dear Mr. Little

114Thanks for yr card. I sent you a line yesterday to yr Forest Hill address.

  • 31 Epipsychidion, ed. by S. A. Brooke, A. C. Swinburne and R. A. Potts, was published by the Shelley (...)

115By the by, is the Epipsychidion reprint out?31 In sending back the proofs of the Shelley bibliography to the compiler, I told him not to include the ‘Epipsychidion’ unless he knew it to be out. Yet here it is, and in 1886! As I have never recd any copy, there must be a misunderstanding somewhere.

116I regret that my incessant and overwhelming work forces me to decline any promise as to a Shelley paper for 1887–1888. If you are a busier man than I am – well, I pity you! I seldom work for less than 10 hours a day, sometimes for 12 and even 14 – i. e. at fiction, criticism literary and artistic, general literary work, and editorial.

117In great haste and with best regards,

118William Sharp

119ALS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, October 27, 1887

12046 Talgarth Road| West Kensington| W |. 27: 10: 87

121My dear Mr. Little,

122It is very kind of you to suggest that I should use your Hogarth ticket, but I can only consent to do so on the distinct understanding that you really do not wish to utilise it yourself.

  • 32 George Leon Little (1862–1941) was a landscape and portrait painter and the brother of J. S. Littl (...)

123I know your brother’s work very slightly, and do not think that I have ever noticed it journalistically – and I should certainly much like to see his portrait of Haggard.32 But just do as you feel inclined; for I could doubtless obtain a ticket otherwise

124Hoping your indisposition is of a slight and transitory nature, I am,

125Yours Sincerely|, William Sharp

  • 33 Probably Joseph William Gleeson White (1851–1898) who edited Ballads and Rondeaus; Chants Royal; S (...)

126P.S. I wanted to send a copy of my just-issued Shelley to the Secy of the Socy, but as I had mislaid the new address and as G. White33 could give me no other than your present one, I took the liberty of directing the publisher to send a copy there.

127ALS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, [October 31, 1887]

128New Athenaeum Club|, 26, Suffolk Street|, Pall Mall.

129My dear Mr. Little

130I was not fortunate enough to encounter your brother last night at the Hogarth, but enjoyed seeing his portrait-picture, which seemed to me very good indeed,

131Some day, when in the neighbourhood of Portugal St., I hope to look you up.

132Hoping you are having a pleasant stay in Surrey,

133In haste, Sincerely Yours|, William Sharp

134ALS Princeton

To Hall Caine, [early November, 1887]

13546, Talgarth Road|, West Kensington|. W.

136My dear Caine

137I was unable to go to the theatre last night, but my wife went for me. She is a good substitute, as she is well qualified for that kind of work.

138Herewith I enclose her brief report.

  • 34 Next to this paragraph, Sharp wrote in the margin: “Our house, larger & better than the one at Wes (...)

139I have taken a most delightful house in Goldhurst Terrace, at South Hampstead (Finchley Rd. Station), & we move in at Xmas-tide. If you are coming to this part of the world do come to So. Hampstead. You can get really delightful houses, on short leases too, from, 50.34 It would be delightful to be near neighbors. It is well sheltered from fog & east wind – is otherwise healthy – & is not inconvenient. Try & come.

140I have rapidly run thro’ the Athenaeum review of Austin. It seems to me very acute, and, I must say, just. But I’m going to read it properly tomorrow.

  • 35 Caine’s popular novel The Deemster (see note to Sharp’s 1 September 1887 letter to Caine) was chri (...)

141I am very curious to know what you will think of the notice of the Deemster35 in same issue. Meanwhile “I reserve my own opinion”.

142Thanks for all your kind expressions, my dear fellow, & believe me ever,

143Affectly yours| William Sharp

144I am going to speak as much as possible to the numerous people I meet, abt. the “Deemster” so as to make them ask at Mudies’.

145ALS Manx Museum, Isle of Man.

To Edward Dowden, November 14, 1887

14646, Talgarth Road|, West Kensington|. W |. 14: 11: 87

147My dear Dowden

148Have you made any arrangements for the American public’n of your “Victorian Literature: and Other Essays”. And are you free to do so?

149If so, if you could let me have advance sheets, possibly Appleton & Company – for whom I have agreed to act (when it suits me!) as literary agent in this country – [will] reprint the book – thus saving it from the pirates and putting a small sum in your pockets.

150I hope you duly received the copy of my “Shelley” which I sent to you over three weeks ago: also that the “note” (the nearest to a dedication I was allowed) pleased you.

151Sincerely yours| William Sharp

  • 36 This novel was published by Hurst and Blackett, Ltd in late 1887 or early 1888 after running seria (...)

152Have just issued a 3 vol novel The Sport of Chance36 written 3 or 4 years ago, & been running serially.

153ALS TCD.

To ______ Clarke,37 [December 19, 1887]

  • 37 Unable to identify.

154Monday

155My dear Clarke,

156I have read your poem. It is damned rubbish.

157Yrs faithfully| William Sharp

158P.S. Of course you will understand by “damned rubbish” I mean the statements you put forward. After making all due allowance for cant that is often talked about women, purity, & so on – the statements you make are absolute lies and absurdities.

159Of course it wd. not be yours if it were not well put together, but this makes it all the worse. I trust you’re not going to insert it in yr. book. It is a clever firework, mon cher ami, – nothing else – save that it might fall on some fool’s head and make him sillier than before.

160W. S.

161N.B. This is not a poem you can disavow by saying it is from another point of view, not necessarily yr. own opinion, etc. – hence the foregoing.

162ALS American Antiquarian Society

To ______ Clarke, December 20, 1887

163The Fine Art Society| (Limd).| 20: 12: 87

164My dear Clarke,

165Glad to find you were not offended by the somewhat blunt expression of my sentiments.

166Of course, I know well (indeed, one unfortunately can’t go through the world without knowing) that your strictures are often deserved – but when I said your statements were absolute lies and absurdities I meant only as applicable to womankind in general. In one sense, therefore, I withdraw the term absolute. Only when I speak or think of womankind I do not think of prostitutes or fools, any more than when speaking of our noble English Literature I think of Ernest Wildings or the “authors” who hatch their filth in Holywell St. It is for this reason I don’t think your verses justifiable – they apply only to a very small and worthless portion of womankind and not to womankind in general. It would not be a bit more absurd to say that all men are without reasoning powers, because in your or my or anyone’s experience all the men who had come into contact with us seemed devoid of mind.

167If I had seen the poem at yr. diggings, I should simply have dissented from it, at the same time being amused & taken with its point of forcibleness – for then I should simply have looked at it as written from momentary spleen, or as a clever jeu d’esprit. But printed and circulated lines are a different thing altogether.

168If they really represent your opinions I am honestly sorry – for I like you personally and think highly of your powers – but I could not disguise from myself the impossibility of any man rising to lasting worthy reputation who kept insistently to such necessarily degrading and “un-manning” a belief.

169If in the meantime you really hold to them I believe & hope you will in time come to a somewhat truer and higher belief in your fellow creatures. You must have had an exceptionally unfortunate experience: possibly, I have had the reverse: but from experience alone I can flatly deny yr. statements as general statements.

170I am no longer at the age, you know, where every young woman seems an angel of innocence and ignorance, nor when love or passion blinds the eyes to visible defects, yet instead of my reverence for true womanhood falling off it is yearly growing more strengthened, till now with Shelley it is one of my cardinal faiths – the equality of the sexes. In the past I prefer to be, however humbly, in the company of Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats, – and in the present with Tennyson, Browning, and Rossetti – than with the Wycherleys and Congreves, the Rochesters and Sedleys, or the luscious-and-lust poeticules and the Swinburnes.

171If Browning and Rossetti & Victor Hugo had had the same views on women as Swinburne, they might still have been greater – but not so immeasurably so as they are.

172If I did not think well of you & your powers I should not give the matter a second thought – leaving both author and verses to well merited damnation: – as it is I do hope you won’t be so rash as to publish them in yr. book.

173In haste| Yrs ever sincerely| William Sharp

174ALS American Antiquarian Society

To Alfred H. Miles,38 December 31, 1887

  • 38 Alfred H. Miles (1848–1929) compiled and edited Poets and Poetry of the Century, nine volumes of w (...)

175Wescam| 17a Goldhurst Terrace| South Hampstead| N.W |. 31/12/87

176My dear Sir

177On my return from the Isle of Wight I find your letter awaiting me. I have known for some time about your forthcoming book – in fact, I have on one or two occasions acted as literary judge as to the selections.

178I am of course complimented that you should wish to include anything of my verse: and since you do me the courtesy of permitting me to indicate my own preferences I shall be pleased to name a few poems for you to select from.

179I think the best (all round) selection that has been made from my writings is in the latest volume of Mr. D. H. Edwards’ “Modern Scottish Poets” – I forget whether the 9th or 10th, but the same vol as that in which Robt. Louis Stevenson, Wm. Black, & others appear.

180I am at present staying with friends while “house-moving” (the address I have given is that of my new residence) and have none of my books within reach. Tomorrow I go to Essex (The Mill House, Felstead, Essex) for a week or ten days, and on my return to my new house would be pleased to see you there at any time. In any case I shall ask your acceptance of my second book of verse (the first, The Human Inheritance, was sold out some four years ago) – but if you wish to select at once I will direct a copy to be sent to you. Otherwise I shall wait till you find it convenient to call – best by appointment.

181Yours very truly| William Sharp

182Alfred H. Miles Esq

183ALS University of British Columbia

To [Richard Garnett], [Early 1888]

184Wescam| Goldhurst Terrace| S. H N.W.

185Cher Ami

  • 39 The letter was written in early 1888 after the Sharps moved from West Kensington to South Hampstea (...)

186I have finished your Emerson.39 I think it is a most able piece of work – quite the best study extant of the man and his work. Greatly as I like the Carlyle I think that on the whole I consider the Emerson finer. I agree almost in toto with what you say about his philosophy – altho’ on some minor points I differ from your estimate of some of the poems. I think your remarks on the Essays on History and Art are particularly to the point.

187As for the charming close, I can call to mind nothing more delightful. How I envy you those last two sentences. Happy man, that your “Exhibit” be of such haunting, unforgettable kind.

188Ever cordially yours| William Sharp

189ALS University of Texas at Austin

To ____________, [? early 1888]

190Wescam| 17a Goldhurst Terrace| So. Hampstead| NW| Sunday

191My dear Sir,

192I shall be glad to make your personal acquaintance. But I never am at ‘Warwick Lane’ which is only an agency and not an editorial or managerial office save when Mr. Scott’s manager chances to be in town.

193I am dining out tomorrow (Monday) evening – but would be pleased to see you in the afternoon, anytime between 3 o’clock and 5: 30, or up to 6. This is the only opportunity, I fear. I am always at work in my study in the mornings. If, however, you are to be in town on Tuesday, I could arrange to meet you at my club, as above, around 4: 30. At least, I think I could, tho’ I cannot say yet, definitely.

194But it wd. be more convenient if you could come out to So. Hampstead tomorrow: that is, if it be not too far for you to come.

195If you come from London itself come by Metropolitan Ry (via Baker St) to “Finchley Rd., So. Hampstead”. Goldhurst Terrace is 3 minutes walk from the station. If you come from Holloway your quickest way, I fancy, would be by North Western Ry to Loudoun Rd., which is about 5 minutes from us in another direction – or if the L.& N.W. Ry is not available, then by the North London Ry via Kentish Town etc. to Finchley Road. This is the first station beyond “Hampstead”, on the North London or Midland, and is about 4 minutes further west than the Metropolitan Finchley Rd.

196Yours faithfully| William Sharp

197ALS Fales Library, New York University

To Richard Le Gallienne, [late January?, 1888]

198Wescam|. 17A Goldhurst Terrace| South Hampstead| N.W.

199Dear Mr. Le Gallienne

200I am ashamed to have so long kept you waiting for an answer – but the truth is that all of my correspondence is so hopelessly in arrears that I expect weeks must elapse ere in my brief leisure moments I shall be able to materially reduce its appalling bulk.

  • 40 Le Gallienne’s My Ladies’ Sonnets and Other “Vain and Amatorious” Verses, with Some of Graver Mood(...)
  • 41 Although Mrs. Sharp states they took the house at 17a Goldhurst Terrace in the spring of 1887 (Mem (...)

201I have long – how long I dread to think – owed you a letter about your charming volume of poems,40 but alas, have never yet done what should have been a pleasant duty. As regards the Canterbury application, my excuses are illness, absence from town, and house moving. In the early winter I got inflammation of the lungs & had to knock off work & go to the Isle of Wight: since Xmas we have been house-moving41 – an experience more dire than ever befell Ulysses in all his wanderings.

202I regret that I find myself unable to entertain your friend’s proposal: pray assure him of my regret when giving my thanks for the offer.

  • 42 One hundred and four volumes appeared in the Canterbury Poets series between 1884 and 1922. Sharp (...)

203As for your own proposal I have to say what amounts to the same thing – tho’ with the addition that ultimately it is possible I might be able to commission the volume. Meanwhile the publisher wishes me to make no more arrangements, as we have already enough on hand to keep the series going for two years.42

204Is there any chance of your being in London this half-year? If so, I trust to have the pleasure of making your acquaintance in person. The above is my new address – and here you are likely to find me anytime till the end of July – save the first fortnight of May, when my artwork calls me to Paris.

205With best wishes| Sincerely Yours| William Sharp

206ALS University of Texas at Austin

To the Editor of the New York Independent, [January or February, 1888]

207Wescam| Goldhurst Terrace| South Hampstead| London| N.W.

208Dear Sir

  • 43 Vol. XXIII, 943–59.

209Could you undertake a serial that has already begun to appear in an English periodical? My Romance of Adventure, entitled “The Secret of the Seven Fountains” commenced in the Xmas number of Young Folks Paper,43 and will conclude about the end or middle of April. (34 chapters)

210It has, so far, I am told, proved a great success. It is a story of exciting adventure, for the first half laid in the little known Fen Lands of East Anglia, and thereafter in Turkey and the Danubian principalities. The central motive is a clue to immense treasure – the clue being the Secret of the Seven Fountains. The interest is continuous and cumulative, and the mystery is preserved to the concluding chapter.

  • 44 Under the Banner of St. James: A Romance of the Discovery of the Pacific (London: James Henderson (...)
  • 45 Jack Noel’s Legacy: A Story for Boys (London: James Henderson & Sons, Ltd., 1887). Published seria (...)

211Again, do you ever reprint stories that are unknown in America? Last year I wrote serially an historical romance dealing with the discovery of the Pacific:44 and the previous year a boy’s romance entitled “The Great Pearl” (Jack Noel’s Legacy)45 which took so well that the publisher paid me a considerable amount over the very fair sum originally arranged. Would it be any use sending either of these to you for publication?

212Again, would you care for any regular literary letter (or London correspondences) from me, if your present arrangements do not preclude any such agreement? I am the London correspondent of one of the chief Scottish papers – on the staff of The Academy, Athenaeum, Scot’s Observer, etc. etc. and have, I may add, quite exceptional facilities.

213Believe me| Yours faithfully| William Sharp

214Author of “The Sport of chance” (3 vols) “A Venetian Idyll” etc. etc. “Life of Heine”, “Biography of Shelley” (Great Writers) “Rossetti: A Record and a Study”, “The Human Inheritance: and Other Poems”, “Earth’s Voices: Sospitra: Transcripts from Nature”: “Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy”: “A Memoir of Philip Bourke Marston”: etc. etc. and Editor of “Sonnets of this Century” etc – General Editor “The Canterbury Poets” – etc.

215The Editor| The New York Independent

216ALS Pierpont Morgan

To Alexander Anderson,46 February 10, 1888

  • 46 Alexander Anderson (1845–1909), a Scottish poet, started his working life at a quarry, and then he (...)

217Wescam|. 17A. Goldhurst Terrace| South Hampstead| N.W.

218Dear Mr. Anderson,

  • 47 Sharp’s request must have been turned down as there is no record of his giving the proposed lectur (...)

219If there are any vacancies on next winter’s lectures-list, do you fancy the committee would care to have a lecture by me?47 If so, I may add that it would have to be before or about Xmas – as I intend to accept the invitation to lecture in New York, Boston, etc. early in 1889. The lectures I would prefer to deliver in Edinburgh (unread elsewhere) would be: –

220(1) Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Painter and Poet (or, more explicitly, “Rossetti’s personality as displayed in his Poems and Pictures”)

221(2) The Great Russian Novelists Nikolai Gogol – Count Tolstoi – Ivan Turgéniev – and F. Dostoëvsky.

222With best wishes for your health and welfare throughout the year that is still “new” –

223Yours sincerely| William Sharp

224ALS by courtesy of the Edinburgh City Libraries

To Richard Le Gallienne, [early May, 1888]48

  • 48 This letter was probably written after Sharp’s return from reviewing the Paris Salon in April.

225Wescam|. 17A Goldhurst Terrace|, South Hampstead| N.W.

226Dear Mr. Le Gallienne

227After over 48 sleepless hours of work, travel, and work again (for I have only this morning returned from Paris) I find your letter among a host of others awaiting attention.

  • 49 Philip Bourke Marston’s Wind-Voices, published by Stock in 1884.
  • 50 Le Gallienne’s review of Philip Bourke Marston’s Song-Tides: Poems and Lyrics of Love’s Joy and So (...)

228Herewith I send “Wind-Voices”49 which please return when done with, as it was given me by P. B. M. himself and I do not wish to lose it. I am glad you are to notice the Poems in the Academy, for I know you appreciate P. B. M’.s poetry.50

  • 51 Sharp’s Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy was published in the spring of 1888.

229My forthcoming booklet51 is but a tiny affair – though of condensed romanticism, I hope and venture to believe. You shall have a copy when it does appear. Probably 10 days, or perhaps less, hence.

230I am very pleased to hear that you are to be in town in June. Let me know a week or more beforehand if possible, as my time is always difficult to arrange. As a rule I am always engaged Wedys and Sunday evenings. We must have a dinner & chat, if you are to be in town for any length of time.

231Sincerely Yours| William Sharp

232ALS University of Texas at Austin

To Frederick Shields, [early May, 1888]52

  • 52 The Sharps lived at Wescam from January 1888 to Summer, 1890. The letter was probably written in e (...)

233Wescam|. 17A. Goldhurst Terrace|. South Hampstead| N.W.

234My dear Shields

235I have just returned from Paris where I have been “doing” the Salon. It is, I fear, the resort of the evil rather than of the good spirits of art.

  • 53 Sir Noel Paton.

236Sir Noel’s53 son never answered a letter of mine of a fortnight or so ago – so I presume is away somewhere.

237I am very sorry indeed to hear that the Manchester journey was so unproductive. I have spoken to various friends about your “Death and Love”, but as yet apparently without success. However, I still venture to hope that fortune lurks in Scotland.

238I shall be very pleased to receive the little volume to which you allude.

239I am very very busy just now – and much worried by some troublesome matters of a private sort: but otherwise, I am thankful to say, things are well with me.

240My wife joins me in ever kind remembrances –

241In great haste| I am ever, dear Shields
Affectionately Yours| William Sharp

242ALS Spencer Library, University of Kansas

To Richard Le Gallienne, [May 19, 1888]

243Wescam| 17A, Goldhurst Terrace|. South Hampstead| N.W.

244My dear Mr. Le Gallienne

  • 54 See note to early May, 1888 letter to Le Gallienne.
  • 55 Whitsuntide fell on May 20th in 1888.

245It is midnight, and I have just returned from dining out and found my Academy here with your most sympathetic and friendly article.54 I’ll write to you in more detail in a day or two – tho’ if you do not hear from me till Tuesday do not think it negligence. I’m going to spend my Whitsuntide55 at Burford Bridge with George Meredith, but will be back by Monday evening most likely: but I may be able to write before then.

  • 56 Philip Bourke Marston.

246Meanwhile, with thanks for your friendly allusions to myself in your excellent and critical article on P. B. M.56

247Believe me|, Most cordially yours|, William Sharp

248ALS University of Texas at Austin

To Richard Le Gallienne, [May 22, 1888]

249Tuesday Night

250Dear Mr. Le Gallienne

  • 57 Of this visit, Elizabeth Sharp recalled that Meredith and Sharp would have long conversations in t (...)

251I have just returned from my delightful visit to the loveliest part of the loveliest county in Southern England – and with glorious weather & such a host as George Meredith I need not say that I have enjoyed the last few days immensely.57

252When are you coming to town: I remember you said you wd. be here ere very long? Please give me as much warning of your visit to London as practicable: for while I much look forward to the pleasure of seeing you I am so much engaged in every way just now that I have generally to arrange my plans well beforehand.

  • 58 See letter to Le Gallienne dated 22 May 1887.

253Your Marston-review in the Academy58 afforded me – as I have already told you – much pleasure. I am glad you agree with me in thinking that his lyrics have the true Elizabethan note and, broadly speaking, perhaps his sonnets: and of course it is doubly pleasant to have a review from the pen of one who is not only an admirer of Philip Marston but who is himself a true poet.

  • 59 Charles Grant Blairfinde Allen (1848–1899) was born in Canada and educated in France and in Englan (...)
  • 60 James Cotton, editor of the Academ.

254Yesterday I walked over from Burford Bridge to look-up Grant Allen,59 & there I found Cotton of the Academy.60 I told him how pleased I was with your article – the first, I fancy, you have done for the Academy.

255In a few days I shall be able to send you a booklet of my own “Romantic Ballads: & Poems of Phantasy”, in which I hope you may find something to care for.

256In great haste| Sincerely Yours| William Sharp

257ALS University of Texas at Austin

To Theodore Watts, [May 23, 1888]61

  • 61 The Wednesday after the Sharp’s visit to Meredith at Box Hill was 23 May 1888 (Memoir 145).

258Wescam|. 17A. Goldhurst Terrace| South Hampstead| N.W |. Wedny Night

259My Dear Watts

260You did not dream, but understood in all verity that I am Messrs. Appletons’literary deputy, or rather agent, in this country. I have all along been hoping that you may come to some arrangement with Appletons. Did you ever see their reprint of ‘The Dreamster” – a much better get up than any of the other houses who reprint English books. Is there any chance of your being Chancery-Lanewards tomorrow (Thursday)? I intend to be at Cotton’ s at or shortly before 3: and could meet you anywhere in that neighborhood if you wired to me early in the forenoon (Wescam, Goldhurst Terrace, Hampstead is sufficient for telegrams)..

  • 62 E. A. S. identifies the novel as One of Our Conquerors, which was not published until 1891 (Memoir(...)

261The weather was so glorious that we were persuaded by George Meredith to remain yet another day – and I enjoyed it immensely. He read me some exceedingly fine poems, far surpassing anything he has yet done in verse – and also a considerable portion of a new novel.62

262On Monday by the by I walked over to Dorking & called on Grant Allen. He was very sorry that you had not called on him when in the neighborhood, but I explained that, in the circumstances, it was impossible – & that you were as sorry as he could be. I found Cotton there, and he and I walked back in company and he made Meredith’s acquaintance.

263What a charming fellow G. M. is – is he not? The more I see of him the more I admire and like him.

  • 63 The opening night of Ben-my-Chree, the adaptation of Hall Caine’s The Deemster, was on May 17, 188 (...)

264The enclosed brief beginning of a short note I had yesterday from Caine is all the direct news I have had – tho’ I hear that the play is a great success.63

265Tomorrow – or next day – I shall send you a copy of my little book of “Romantic Ballads”. I hope – as it is maturer work – it may satisfy you more so far as execution is concerned. In substance it is imaginative in the truest sense – as I do not hesitate to say. It honestly seems to me that with all its demerits there is stuff in it of the purely imaginative kind such as you will not easily find in the work of other contemporary minor poets. Of course I shall be disappointed if no one likes it, or thinks highly of it – but for the first time in my life I am indifferent to adverse criticism: for I feel well assured that the little booklet is sterling – and with this assured confidence a bad reception can at the worst be but unfortunate and disagreeable.

266However, you will soon be able to see and judge for yourself. A few of the poems have already been seen by friends. Of a short one entitled “The Deathchild,” Stedman – for instance – writes that he knows nothing more weird and original & imaginative in recent modern poetry. It is certainly original – whatever else it may be. But the strangest work is in “The Weird of Michael Scott” – particularly in Part III.

  • 64 Norman Maccoll (1843–1905) was editor of The Athenaeum. His publications include Greek Sceptics fr (...)

267Even if you care for the book very much I do not urge you to review it – as I know your kind friendship will prompt you to do – for I know how busy you are: but do you think you could persuade Maccoll64 to let someone give it a separate notice? I shall not send a review copy to the Athenaeum till I hear from you.

268I had originally intended to issue only 100 copies, as I thought there would be no demand for such a little book (only some 80 pp including Preface, Title-Pages, etc). – but there has been such an unexpected and gratifying anticipatory demand [all the more so as – being privately printed – the price is unknown. Of course I’ve made it small – 2/6 or 3/-] that I have agreed to a larger edition – most of which is already engaged.

269If you are not to be in town tomorrow you might drop me a line – or, perhaps, after receipt of my booklet, which, however, may not arrive till Friday or Saturday, tho’ I expect one or two early copies tomorrow.

270Ever yours affectionately| William Sharp

271I am so glad to hear that you are going to publish the poem you recited part of to me the other day. It was exceedingly fine.

272ALS British Library

To Mr. Osborne,65 June 4, 1888

  • 65 I have been unable to identify Mr. Osborne.
  • 66 The main letterhead of this stationery reads (left) Walter Scott, Publisher; (center) The Canterbu (...)

273Wescam,66 | 17a Goldhurst Terrace|, South Hampstead|. London,
N.W.

274Dear Mr. Osborne

275The only influential member of the Reform club whom I can call to mind just now as an acquaintance is Sir James Caird, the well-known Agriculturist and Land commissioner. I will see what can be done with him.

276Best wishes for your success. If fortune favour you let me know, so that I may be among the first to congratulate you.

277In great haste| Sincerely Yours| William Sharp

278ALS, UWM Library.

To Richard Le Gallienne, [early June, 1888]

  • 67 Although this letter is written on 46, Talgarth Road stationery with the old address crossed out a (...)

279Wescam,67 | Goldhurst Terrace| So: Hampstead| N.W.

280Dear Mr. Le Gallienne

281If you have not made any other arrangement could you come here on Sunday evening next?

282We don’t “dress” on Sunday evenings, as friends sometimes drop in then promiscuously: and indeed on Sunday next we are, I believe, to have ‘high tea” in place of dinner, for the sake of domestic convenience of some kind.

  • 68 Sharp’s brackets. Graham R. Tomson was the pseudonym for Rosamund Tomson (1860–1911), wife of J. A (...)

283If you could be with me by 6 o’clock we could have an hour’s chat ere “appeasing the demon” as the Japanese say. At 7 o’clock Mr. & Mrs. Tomson will look in. “Graham R. Tomson’s” name you doubtless already know as that of one of the most accomplished of the ballade and rondeau singers (though she has done other & far stronger [unpublished] work).68 She is a lovely creature and a genuine poet. Her husband, Arthur Tomson, is one of the coming men among our younger artists. They “move” to our neighborhood this week, to our great pleasure.

  • 69 Elizabeth Sharp stated (Memoir 140) that Walter Pater was one of the Sharps’ frequent guests at th (...)

284Thereafter we may or may not be alone: Walter Pater or some other literary or artistic friend may drop in69 – but if you are not pressed for time you can stay after any casual visitors have gone. But to make sure, try and come about 6, when I shall be alone and disengaged.

285I don’t know from what part of the town you will be coming – but it may be as well to tell you that our station is Finchley Road (Metropolitan) (South Hampstead), and that you will have to change at Baker Street.

286When you leave Finchley Rd. Station turn down to the right into Broadhurst Gardens, & below its left (east) end you will see two terraces meeting at an angle – that to the left is Goldhurst T.

  • 70 Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy (London: Walter Scott, 1888).

287Let me know if you can come on Sunday. By the by a copy of my book70 was sent to you today.

288Yours sincerely| William Sharp

289ALS University of Texas at Austin

To Richard Le Gallienne, July 7, 188871

  • 71 Date from postmark.

290Dear Mr. Le Gallienne

291I meant to write to you yesterday but mislaid the card with your address – which I have only now found.

292Owing to the sudden “flopping” upon us of a friend from Germany – & other reasons as well – I much regret the unlikelihood of our meeting again during this visit. I may add, however, that we are always “home” to any visitors on Sunday evenings (about 8), and also on Monday afternoons (4 to 6). Just do as you feel inclined. In great haste, & with best wishes,

293Sincerely Yours| William Sharp

294ACS University of Texas at Austin

To Theodore Watts, [mid-October, 1888]

295Wescam | Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead| N.W.

296My dear Watts

297I have just returned from Scotland after my two and a half months absence from London: and I hurriedly send this line to wish you every good wish for your birthday. May your New Year be prosperous in every respect – and health abide with you.

  • 72 Morayshire lies northwest of Aberdeen in Scotland. Roxburghshire lies south west of Edinburgh.

298I have had good fortune with weather – only four wholly wet days all the time I’ve been in the north. Most of the time we were by the sea – either in the west Highlands or on the east coast, but we were also for some weeks at a glorious spot in Strathspey, a lovely moorland farm a thousand feet above the sea, among the Grampians, in Morayshire.72 I also stayed a bit in Roxburghshire and the south Border.

299I have been very busy. I am now very much occupied. My monograph on Heine is off my hands, I am glad to say, and will be out in a fortnight.

300I heard from Caine this morning. He is staying near Keswick, but has been seedy “dyspeptically,” as he says. He is up to the ears in authorship – has done splendidly with his play – engaged on another – and so forth.

301Perhaps you will be able to find time to review Lee Hamilton’s new book – Imaginary Sonnets – just out. Probably a copy has been sent to you at his request. Poor fellow – it is wonderful that such good work can be produced in such circumstances. In his letter to me he says it is an attempt to introduce into the sonnet a dramatic element which it has not hitherto had, and to make it express in the first person emotions & passions more vehement and tragic than heretofore. He adds “I have spent the most terrible Spring and Summer – unable to endure the slightest conversation and in absolute immobility of body and even hand. I suffer too greatly still even to sign this letter with my own hand”.

  • 73 John Nichol (1833–1894) was Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at Glasgow Univers (...)

302I spent some pleasant hours with Nichol while we were both staying at Crieff – also with Minto at Aberdeen – and other friends elsewhere.73

303Again with affecte good wishes|, Yours ever, William Sharp

304ALS Princeton

To Richard Garnett, [Fall, 1888]

305Wescam | Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead | N.W.

306My dear Garnett

307In the case of exceptionally noteworthy books it is in my power to dilate upon them in the “London Letter” of the Glasgow Herald – which, as I daresay you know, is the most influential paper in the North. While a “London Letter” notice does not preclude another review in ordinary course, it is very much more serviceable owing to the prominence it gives, and the greater number who see it – and also from the fact that the literary items of the G. H’.s London Letter are copied by other papers throughout the north.

  • 74 Richard Garnett’s Twilight of the Gods and other Tales was published in 1888 (London: T. Fisher Un (...)

308I therefore read thro’ the “Twilight of the Gods”74 on the evening I received it – and as soon as possible sent off the enclosed to the G. H. office here. I hope it may prove serviceable to the book.

309I am just bolting off to the Press View at the Grosvenor – so must postpone further remarks about your new book for a little. But I cannot close without telling you again that it is very long indeed since I have had such a literary festa. The book is a delight to me from the first page to the last – and both in matter and style it seems to me a volume that will take very high rank indeed. It is literature. I did not know that you had the rare and delightful Heinesque genius in prose composition – greatly as I knew you to be in sympathy with Heine. Any book so original as well as so charming must be sure of its place – and I congratulate you most heartily.

310Again thanking you for so kindly giving me a copy (I shall ask you to “inscribe” in it someday).

311In haste | Most sincerely yours | William Sharp

312I had sent Unwin a P/card, telling him of the notice – in case he shd. be in need of something to start with as a quotation from the Press.

313ALS University of Texas at Austin

To: ______________, ______, 1888

314Wescam | Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead | NW

315Dear Sir

  • 75 Henry Van der Weyde (1838–1924) was a Dutch-born English painter and photographer. His family emig (...)

316There is a good photograph of Philip Marston taken by Van der Weyde, 182 Regent St.75

317Whether Mr. Van der Weyde has any copies – or the negative – or the right to sell, I cannot say. There is a still better up-looking one – but I forget who did it. Here is an engraved likeness of P. B. M. (after Van de W’s portrait) which serves as Frontispiece to the vol. of Marston’s tales published a year or so ago (with an earlier version of my Memoir) by Mr. Walter Scott at a small sum, 3/6 I think, or perhaps 4/6. The book is called “For a Song’s Sake: and other Stories”.

318Friends of “Y. F. P”. are always cropping up unexpectedly. I am glad you are one of them. It is a good paper, and Olympic is doing really good work. I certainly don’t regret the time I have given and give to it – tho’ after all it occupies but a small portion of my busy life.

319Your very truly | William Sharp

320P.S. Yes the romance entitled “Alwyn” is by Theodore Watts. Though well-known to many literary friends, and in type, it has not yet been published. I understand that it will be issued early in 1889. W. S.

321ALS. Princeton

To Andrew Chatto, [Fall 1888]76

  • 76 Andrew Chatto (1841–1913) was the principal in Chatto & Windus, a London firm that published works (...)

322Wescam | Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead

323Dear Mr. Chatto

324As I am writing at any rate about Mrs. Caird I take the opportunity to broach another matter.

  • 77 The romance became eventually The Children of Tomorrow (London: Chatto & Windus, 1890).
  • 78 Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy was privately printed for Sharp by Walter Scott in 1888.

325I am engaged upon a romance (for one volume issue) which I believe to be a book which could not be overlooked.77 (You will excuse the inevitable seeming arrogance – but this is a matter of assured conviction with me). It is the outcome of much into which I need not enter, except to say that it is an attempt toward further stimulating the advent of the true romantic sentiment. It is not, I should explain, a romance of the adventurous mind: it is, in spirit, a romance, say for illustration’s sake, of the “Scarlet Letter” or Oliver Madox Brown’s “Black Swan” type. I have critically and otherwise identified myself very closely of late with the new romantic movement which is in the air, and, I believe, is destined to revolutionise average contemporary fiction. To enable you to more clearly comprehend what I mean I send you a copy of my last vol. of verse,78 in the preface of which you will find my “pronounciamento”.

326The edition was sold out within a few days of publication, and I have only one or two reserve copies left – but it would afford me pleasure if you would accept the one I send.

327As for the romance, it is called “Sanpriel” (from the heroine’s name). The idea of heredity is at the base of it, though more as an occult than a specified or obviously-worked out motive. It is but fair to explain that it would have one very strong situation near the close – an episode that would invite, no doubt, as much antagonism as appreciation. I know that I can rely upon your keeping strictly to yourself the basis of the episode in question. To a certain extent you will be able to infer it from the incident related by Pope to Lady Mary Wortley Montague, and upon which Sir Stephen de Vere wrote a little lyric entitled “On Two Lovers Killed by Lightning”.

The summer sun is passed and gone
Again shines out the summer sun
On lips that are, tho’ pale and dead,
With living smile still garlanded.
They lived, they loved, and loving died,
By God’s own lightning purified.
He saw their truth, and, pitying, gave
At once a bridal and a grave.

328I have, I should explain, a standing offer from a publisher for this romance, whenever I finish it, at a very fair royalty.

329Now of course I cannot expect you “to jump at” a book of which your reader has seen nothing – but what I wish to ask you is if you care to consider the following suggestions: –

330That you should nominally commission this romance of “Sanpriel”, to be placed in your hands by the end of February. That in consideration of my finishing it by that date (earlier than I should otherwise do) and giving you the right of publication, you guarantee me, 50 on receipt of completed MS. If you decide to take it, after inspection, we can then come to terms as to the sum you feel inclined to offer: in which case the, 50 to be reckoned as on account.

331If, after consideration, you decide against publication, then I to return you half of the guarantee-amount, viz, 25.

332I should like very much to publish with you – and to convince you that my proposals are not unreasonable I may add that in addition to the Royalty-Promise alluded to I have a private assurance from another house of inclusion of the book (about which nothing is known, however; save that I have put my heart into it, as the saying is) in a series of one-volume novels, at a sum-down of, 30.

333Please consider all I have written as strictly private.

334The reason why the earliest date for delivery of MS. would be Feby 28th is that I have not yet finished a serial romance (of an entirely different kind) which is to commence at Xmas: and I have in the meantime to cease working at “Sanpriel”.

335If you would like to see me further on the matter, perhaps you could call on me at my club (the Grosvenor club, 135 New Bond St). on some specified day, at any hour convenient to you after 2 o’clock, except Mondays.

336In any case, I dare say you will be able to say yea or nay very shortly.

337Believe me| Yours very truly| William Sharp

338ALS Pierpont Morgan

To Richard Garnett, [Fall, 1888]

339Wescam| Goldhurst Terrace| So. Hampstead| NW

340My dear Garnett

  • 79 Graham R. Tomson (1860–1911), ed., Greek Anthology, trans. by Garnettand others (London: Walter Sc (...)

341My friend Mrs. Graham Tomson, to whom you wrote consenting to the inclusion of some of your epigrams in the Canterbury vol. of the Greek Anthology selections,79 is anxious for a reader’s ticket at the Museum. She is not up to the mark at present, and so cannot apply personally. I forget what is the present procedure in the matter, but it would much oblige me if you would send me the necessary paper to sign, which I should take to Mrs. Tomson.

342She also wants to meet you – and I told her that some day erelong I would go with her to the B. M. and introduce her to you.

343By the way – I am to review the “Twilight” elsewhere, but not for a fortnight or three weeks yet.

344In haste | Sincerely yours | William Sharp

345ALS University of Texas at Austin

To Richard Garnett, [Fall, 1888]

346Wescam | Goldhurst Terrace | So: Hampstead

347My dear Garnett

  • 80 Mathilde Blind. See note to Sharp ltr. to Watts of July 22, 1882.
  • 81 Garnett’s Twilight of the Gods and Other Tales.

348I was in St. Edmund’s Terrace to say au revoir to Miss Blind,80 and simply called at your house on the off chance of seeing you. I thought the opportunity also would be a good one to tell you how I like your new book81 more and more. I have recommended it to several people, though I refuse to lend it, partly because I don’t like lending author’s copies, and partly because those who wish to read it should buy it or get it from the library. I also wanted to ask you if you could tell me anything about Azrael, the Talmudic angel of death. I want to find something that would justify the relevancy of “The Wing of Azrael” as title of a novel – something in the sense of “The Shadow of Death”, “The Shadow of Fate”, “The Sword of Damocles”, or the like.

349Perchance you know or can put me on some clue. There is, however, no urgency. Anytime within a week or so would do, if you should happen to light upon anything accidentally.

350Yours most sincerely| William Sharp

  • 82 Sharp’s Life of Heinrich Heine was published (London: Walter Scott) in the Great Writers Series in (...)

351I hope the “Twilight” is going on propitiously. I do not think Unwin advertises enough: but I am only judging from what I happen to see|. Tomorrow or next day I hope to send you a copy of my Heine.82

  • 83 Olive Schreiner (1855–1920) was a South African novelist, political critic, and feminist. She had (...)

352By the way, I had a note on Saturday from Olive Schreiner.83 Her address is Hotel Mediterranie, Alassio, Italy. She intends to be in London for a few weeks next May, and will, I hope, stay with us for a day or two.

353ALS University of Texas at Austin

To A. Williams,84 [? November, 1888]

  • 84 The North Wales Express was a weekly English language newspaper published in Caernarfon, Wales and (...)

354My Dear Sir,

355Wescam| Goldhurst Terrace| So. Hampstead| London N.W.

356I thank you very much for sending to me the very kind and appreciative criticism from the N. Wales Express on my “Heine” – and my indebtedness is the more emphatic if you are the writer as well as the transmitter of it.

357Heine is so seldom understood in this country that I am most pleased with the tone as well as the criticism of the article.

358Believe me|, very truly yours|, William Sharp

359It may interest you to hear that the book is selling rapidly, and that it is shortly to be translated into German, and perhaps into French.

360A. Williams Esq

361ACS Pennsylvania State University

Notes

1 The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Great Writers Series (London: Walter Scott, 1887.)

2 I am indebted to Professor Terry Meyers for dating this letter.

3 What Is Art (1884.) Seems to have been privately printed.

4 Richard Le Gallienne (1866–1947) went to London in 1889 to act as Literary Secretary for Wilson Barrett, an actor-manager who wrote a successful play, The Sign of the Cross (1895.) There Le Gallienne became a frequent contributor to The Yellow Book and – along with Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson, Arthur Symons, and W. B. Yeats, among others – an original member of the Rhymer’s club. Though ten years younger than Sharp, they became good friends. In the course of his life, Le Gallienne wrote nearly ninety books. Among them are twelve published in the 1890s: George Meredith: Some Characteristics (1890), The Book-Bills of Narcissus (1891), English Poems (1892), The Religion of a Literary Man (1893), Robert Louis Stevenson: An Elegy and Other Poems (1895), Quest of the Golden Girl (a novel, 1896), Prose Fancies (1896), Retrospective Reviews (1896), Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1897), If I Were God (1897), The Romance Of Zion Chapel (1898), In Praise of Bishop Valentine (1898). After several visits to America, Le Gallienne settled there in 1903. In 1927, he began to visit Paris for long periods of time, and he moved permanently to France in 1930. See Richard Whittington-Egan and Geoffrey Smerdon’s The Quest of the Golden Boy: The Life and Letters of Richard Le Gallienne (1962).

5 “Rossetti in Prose and Verse,” National and English Review (formerly The National Review), 9 (March 1887), pp. 111–24. Sharp’s footnote (pp. 122–23) reads as follows: “One of these [sonnets] may now be quoted with exceptional propriety. Since this article was written, Mr. Philip Bourke Marston – a well-known poet and Rossetti’s most ardent disciple – died suddenly, though after prolonged ill-health, at the early age of thirty-six. [Marston died on February 14, 1887.] As many will know, Mr. Marston was afflicted from childhood with blindness. Rossetti had for him a sincere regard: and in the collected works appears the following sonnet, which has hitherto been printed only in a critical biography of the older poet. The names of Mr. Marston’s three books of poetry are Song-Tide, All-in-All, and Wind Voices.” Sharp then reproduced Rossetti’s sonnet: “To Philip Bourke Marston.”

6 Editor of The Academy.

7 Sir Frank Thomas Marzials (1840–1912) succeeded Eric S. Robertson as editor of the Great Writers series for the Walter Scott firm. Marzials wrote the volumes on Dickens and Hugo and co-authored the volume on Thackeray (with Herman Charles Merivale). Eric Robertson, mentioned in the next sentence, was a close friend of Sharp’s. (See note to Sharp’s letter to Hall Caine dated 15 June 1884). He had recently gone to India to occupy a chair of Literature and Logic at the University of Lahore (Memoir 127).

8 Probably a brother of Elizabeth A. Sharp.

9 May Clarissa Gillington’s Byron’s Poems was published by Elliot Stock in 1892. In addition to poetry, she wrote several books for children, as did her sister Alice E. Gillington.

10 Two more printings of this successful anthology appeared in 1886 and a second edition was published in 1887, which included a sonnet by May Gillington and the following note by Sharp: “A Miss Gillington has written and published some poetry of very considerable promise, for the most part as yet marked by a certain immaturity. A passion for the sea is manifest throughout her verse” (p. 289).

11 Richard Garnett, Life of Thomas Carlyle, Great Writers Series (London: Walter Scott, 1887).

12 An anthology of poems about the sea arranged by Elizabeth A. Sharp for the Canterbury Poets Series (London: Walter Scott, 1887).

13 The reference here is to Garnett’s Io in Egypt and Other Poems, which was published in 1859. It was revised with additions and published as Poems in 1893.

14 Sharp’s Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley was published as number 11 in the Great Writers Series (London: Walter Scott) in the autumn of 1887.

15 The Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1887 was held in Manchester, England, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign. It was opened by Princess Alexandra, wife of Edward, Prince of Wales, on 3 May 1887, and remained open for 166 days, during which there were 4.5 million paying visitors, 74,600 in one day alone. All manner of merchandize and crafts were exhibited in a huge hall, including paintings Sharp would review for the Glasgow Herald.

16 Philip Bourke Marston died after a prolonged illness on February 14, 1887 at the age of thirty-six. See note to Sharp’s letter to Swinburne dated April 22, 1880.

17 Date from postmark.

18 Printed on stationary and crossed out: New Athenaeum Club, | 26, Suffolk Street, | Pall Mall.

19 Edward Dowden, “Victorian Literature,” The Fortnightly Review, vol. 47, June, 1887, pp. 835–67.

20 After taking his B. A. from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1881, John Stuart Verschoyle (1853–1915) was appointed curate of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Marylebone, London in 1882. He entered enthusiastically into the city’s intellectual and social life. He began functioning as associate editor of the The Fortnightly Review under the editorship of his friend Frank Harris in 1886, where he made most of the decisions and did most of the editing of the highly regarded publication. He left London in 1891 to serve as a Rector first in Suffolk and then in Somerset where he died in Taunton in 1915. After moving from London, he returned frequently and remained a well-known and respected figure in the city’s literary and political circles.

21 Edward Silsbee was a sea captain from Massachusetts and an admirer of Shelley’s poetry. “Many acquaintances called him ‘Shelley mad’ … Richard Garnett, however, considered this maritime eccentric the best critic of Shelley he had heard” (Robert Gittings & Jo Manton, Claire Clairmont and the Shelleys 1798–1879, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, 235.) Silsbee visited Claire Clairmont (see following note) in Italy in 1872 determined to gain access to her Shelley papers. Unable to purchase them, he moved into her apartment to read and study them. His efforts to obtain the papers, and the determination of Clairmont’s niece, Paula, to marry Silsbee were described to Henry James by Eugene Lee-Hamilton. James drew upon the incident for his novella The Aspern Papers (1888) (Gittings, 236).

22 Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (1798–1879), who called herself Claire, was a stepdaughter of William Godwin and step-sister of Mary Godwin. When Shelley and Mary Godwin eloped, Claire accompanied them to the continent and remained with them throughout their excursion. That brought her in contact with Byron, of course, and their ensuing relationship produced a daughter, Allegra (1817–1822), who died of typhus after Byron assumed responsibility for her and placed her in a convent school. Clairmont traveled widely in Europe and became fluent in five languages. She lived in Russia, Germany, and France, before settling in Florence in 1870. She “contemplated writing a book to illustrate, from the lives of Shelley and Byron, the dangers and evils resulting from erroneous opinions on the subject of the relations between the sexes” (DNB).

23 See note to Sharp’s April 28 letter to Ford Maddox Brown.

24 Ellen Louise Chandler Moulton (1835–1908), a writer of poetry, fiction, and children’s stories, was married to the journalist and publisher William U. Moulton (d. 1898), who was also the editor of a weekly paper in Boston. She was prominent in literary and cultural circles in Boston, where she lived, and in Europe where she spent many summers. Her works include Juno Clifford (1855), Bed-Time Stories (1873), Poems (1877), Swallow Flights (1878), Miss Eyre from Boston, and Others (1889), and At the Wind’s Will (1899).

25 Tentative date from blurred postmark.

26 See note to Sharp’s April 28 letter to Ford Maddox Brown.

27 Philip Bourke Marston (1850–1887), the son of John Westland Marston, a well-known man of letters, was blinded at the age of three by the administration of belladonna in an effort to cure scarlet fever. He began writing poetry at an early age and published his first volume (Song-Tide and Other Poems, 1871) when he was twenty-one.; his second (All in All, 1875) four years later; and a third (Wind Voices) in 1883. By then he had became a favored member of the circle of young men around Dante Gabriel Rossetti who introduced him to William Sharp in 1880. The two men became fast friends. Following Marston’s death Sharp published a selection of his poems with an introductory Memoir in his Canterbury Poets Series (Song-Tide: Poems and Lyrics of Love’s Joy and Sorrow) and a collection of his short stories (For a Song’s Sake and Other Stories). Both were issued by the Walter Scott firm in 1888.

28 “Obertoun, | Dumbartonshire” is printed on the stationary and crossed out.

29 Caine’s The Deemster: A Romance in Three Volumes was published by Chatto & Windus in London in November 1887. The book was very successful in English (52 editions by 1921), and it was translated into nine foreign languages. Sharp is proposing the sheets be sold to Appleton’s, for whom Sharp served as an agent in these matters, and published simultaneously in the United States in order to establish U. S. copyright.

30 The October 1887 number of the Century Magazine contained an article by Edmund Clarence Stedman (see the “Life” section preceding Sharp’s letters of 1889) on the younger generation of British poets, which was then published as a supplement to the thirteenth (Jubilee) edition of his Victorian Poets, the first edition of which, published in 1875, introduced the name “Victorian Poets” to define the British poets writing during Victoria’s reign. He mentioned Sharp in the article in a section on Colonial Poets because of the Australian poems in Sharp’s first volume of poetry, The Human Inheritance. According to Elizabeth, Sharp wrote a letter to inform Stedman he was not a Colonial, but a Scot.” She reproduced one sentence of Sharp’s letter to Stedman on page 129 of the Memoir and four more on page 150 (as given above). She must have had the entire letter along with many others her husband wrote to Stedman, but I have not located it. In his generous reply, quoted partially by Elizabeth, Stedman said he would mention Sharp preceding the section on Colonials in the forthcoming edition of Victorian Poets and would also mention Sharp’s Rossetti book. These letters initiated a long friendship between Sharp and Stedman (Memoir 129).

31 Epipsychidion, ed. by S. A. Brooke, A. C. Swinburne and R. A. Potts, was published by the Shelley Society in 1887. The bibliography in Sharp’s biography of Shelley, published in the fall of 1887, gives a date of 1886 for this work.

32 George Leon Little (1862–1941) was a landscape and portrait painter and the brother of J. S. Little. He painted the portrait of Ryder Haggard in 1886.

33 Probably Joseph William Gleeson White (1851–1898) who edited Ballads and Rondeaus; Chants Royal; Sestinas; Villanelles; Etc. for Walter Scott(Canterbury Poets) in 1887 and Book-Song: An Anthology of Poems from Books of Modern Authors for Elliot Stock in 1893. In 1896 and 1897 he served with C. H. Shannon as editor of The Pageant.

34 Next to this paragraph, Sharp wrote in the margin: “Our house, larger & better than the one at West Kensington, is only, 60.”

35 Caine’s popular novel The Deemster (see note to Sharp’s 1 September 1887 letter to Caine) was christened by Punch “The Boomster,” and that name came to be applied also to its author as his fame grew, fed in part by his talent for selfpublicity. [Vivien Allen, Hall Caine, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997, p. 188]. The Deemster was successfully adapted to the stage in 1888 by Wilson Barrett, where it was titled Ben-my-Chree, and the play was revived several times over the next twenty years.

36 This novel was published by Hurst and Blackett, Ltd in late 1887 or early 1888 after running serially in The People’s Friend (in Dundee) under the title A Deathless Hate. The dedication to the three volume set: To | Theodore Watts | Poet-Romanticist-critic | These Pages | are | Affectionately Inscribed.

37 Unable to identify.

38 Alfred H. Miles (1848–1929) compiled and edited Poets and Poetry of the Century, nine volumes of which were published by Hutchinson between 1891 and 1894. Several were reprinted in later years.

39 The letter was written in early 1888 after the Sharps moved from West Kensington to South Hampstead. Richard Garnett’s Emerson and Carlyle were both published in 1887 by Walter Scottin the Great Writers series.

40 Le Gallienne’s My Ladies’ Sonnets and Other “Vain and Amatorious” Verses, with Some of Graver Mood (Liverpool: privately printed, 1887). For Le Gallienne see note to Sharp’s late February 1887 letter.

41 Although Mrs. Sharp states they took the house at 17a Goldhurst Terrace in the spring of 1887 (Memoir 141), this letter and Sharp’s use of the Talgarth address in October 1887 indicate the move did not take place until early January 1888.

42 One hundred and four volumes appeared in the Canterbury Poets series between 1884 and 1922. Sharp became general editor of the series in 1885 and served until the early nineties.

43 Vol. XXIII, 943–59.

44 Under the Banner of St. James: A Romance of the Discovery of the Pacific (London: James Henderson and Sons, Ltd, 1887). Published serially in Young Folks Paper (XXI, 891–907) in 1887.

45 Jack Noel’s Legacy: A Story for Boys (London: James Henderson & Sons, Ltd., 1887). Published serially in Young Folks Paper in 1886.

46 Alexander Anderson (1845–1909), a Scottish poet, started his working life at a quarry, and then he became a surfaceman, or navvy, on the Glasgow and South-Western Railway. During the sixteen years he worked as a surfaceman he read and studied and taught himself French, acquired a knowledge of German, Italian and Spanish, and wrote poetry, some of which was published under the pseudonym Surfaceman. He served as Assistant Librarian at Edinburgh University from 1880 to1883 and again from 1886 to1905. From 1883 to 1886 he was Secretary of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution. While still a surfaceman, he translated several poems of Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) from German. His poetry reflects his wide travels in Scotland: A Song of Labour and other Poems (1873), The Two Angels and other Poems (1875), Songs of the Rail (1878), and Ballads and Sonnets (1899). He also wrote many poems for children. His Later Poems was published posthumously in 1912.

47 Sharp’s request must have been turned down as there is no record of his giving the proposed lectures.

48 This letter was probably written after Sharp’s return from reviewing the Paris Salon in April.

49 Philip Bourke Marston’s Wind-Voices, published by Stock in 1884.

50 Le Gallienne’s review of Philip Bourke Marston’s Song-Tides: Poems and Lyrics of Love’s Joy and Sorrow, edited with an introductory Memoir by William Sharp (London: Walter Scott, 1888) appeared in The Academy, 33 (May 19, 1888), 337–38.

51 Sharp’s Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy was published in the spring of 1888.

52 The Sharps lived at Wescam from January 1888 to Summer, 1890. The letter was probably written in early May, after Sharp returned from his annual trip to Paris.

53 Sir Noel Paton.

54 See note to early May, 1888 letter to Le Gallienne.

55 Whitsuntide fell on May 20th in 1888.

56 Philip Bourke Marston.

57 Of this visit, Elizabeth Sharp recalled that Meredith and Sharp would have long conversations in the day, and at night Meredith would read to them from his novels: “The reader’s enjoyment seemed as great as that of his audience, and it interested me to hear how closely his own methods of conversation resembled, in wittiness and brilliance, those of the characters in his novels” (Memoir 145).

58 See letter to Le Gallienne dated 22 May 1887.

59 Charles Grant Blairfinde Allen (1848–1899) was born in Canada and educated in France and in England where he graduated from Merton College, Oxford, in 1870. In his mid-twenties he became a professor at Queen’s College in Jamaica. He left his professorship in 1876 and returned to England, where he turned his talents to writing and gained a reputation for his essays on science and for literary works. He published 30 novels and numerous other writings, including scientific articles praising Charles Darwin and advocating the theory of evolution. He sometimes used pen names such as “Cecil Power,” “A. J. Arbuthnot Wilson,” “Martin Leach Warborough,” and as “Olive Pratt Rayner” he published a short novel entitled The Type-writer Girl. His best-known work, The Woman Who Did, published under his own name in 1895, created a firestorm as it main character was an independent woman who refused marriage and produced a child. His unconventional views on marriage were shared by Mona Caird and Elizabeth and William Sharp.

60 James Cotton, editor of the Academ.

61 The Wednesday after the Sharp’s visit to Meredith at Box Hill was 23 May 1888 (Memoir 145).

62 E. A. S. identifies the novel as One of Our Conquerors, which was not published until 1891 (Memoir 145). Two of Meredith’s novels were published in 1890: The Case of General Ople and Lady Camper and The Tale of Chloe: An Episode in the History of Beau Beamish.

63 The opening night of Ben-my-Chree, the adaptation of Hall Caine’s The Deemster, was on May 17, 1888. See note to Sharp’s fall 1887 letter to Hall Caine.

64 Norman Maccoll (1843–1905) was editor of The Athenaeum. His publications include Greek Sceptics from Pyrrho to Sextus (1869), Select Plays of Calderon (1888), and The Exemplary Novel of Cervantes (1902).

65 I have been unable to identify Mr. Osborne.

66 The main letterhead of this stationery reads (left) Walter Scott, Publisher; (center) The Canterbury Poets, General Editor, William Sharp; and (right) 24 Warwick Lane, London, E. C. Below that at left is William Sharp and the return address.

67 Although this letter is written on 46, Talgarth Road stationery with the old address crossed out and the Wescam address written over it, it appears to postdate the letter of May 22, which mentions Le Gallienne’s anticipated trip to London and promises to send Le Gallienne a copy of Romantic Ballads in a few days.

68 Sharp’s brackets. Graham R. Tomson was the pseudonym for Rosamund Tomson (1860–1911), wife of J. Arthur Tomson. See note to Sharp’s Fall 1888 letter to Richard Garnett.

69 Elizabeth Sharp stated (Memoir 140) that Walter Pater was one of the Sharps’ frequent guests at their “Sunday informal evening gatherings” at Wescam. He came “during his Oxford vacation” in 1888 and at other times in 1888–90.

70 Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy (London: Walter Scott, 1888).

71 Date from postmark.

72 Morayshire lies northwest of Aberdeen in Scotland. Roxburghshire lies south west of Edinburgh.

73 John Nichol (1833–1894) was Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at Glasgow University from 1862–1889. Sharp studied with him during his two years at Glasgow University – 1871 – 73 – and retained his valued friendship for many years. William Minto (1845–1893) was Professor of Logic and English at the University of Aberdeen.

74 Richard Garnett’s Twilight of the Gods and other Tales was published in 1888 (London: T. Fisher Unwin). An “augmented” edition was issued in 1903 (London and New York: John Lane).

75 Henry Van der Weyde (1838–1924) was a Dutch-born English painter and photographer. His family emigrated to the United States in 1850, and he served in the American Civil War. He emigrated to England in 1870, and set up his photographic studio at 182 Regent Street in London in 1877. That year he became the first photographer to install and take portraits by electric light. He photographed many wealthy and well-known people, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Van_der_Weyde

76 Andrew Chatto (1841–1913) was the principal in Chatto & Windus, a London firm that published works by many well-known writers in the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mrs. Caird was Mona Caird, a lifelong friend of Elizabeth Sharp.

77 The romance became eventually The Children of Tomorrow (London: Chatto & Windus, 1890).

78 Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy was privately printed for Sharp by Walter Scott in 1888.

79 Graham R. Tomson (1860–1911), ed., Greek Anthology, trans. by Garnettand others (London: Walter Scott, 1889). Born Rosamund MarriottWatson, Graham R. Tomson married at nineteen George Francis Armytage (1853–1921), a wealthy Australian with whom she had two daughters. In 1884 she published anonymously Tares (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner), a volume of melancholy lyrics about love’s transience with epigraphs from François Villon and D. G. Rossetti. In late 1884 she began a relationship with the painter Arthur Tomson (1859–1905), started calling herself Graham R. Tomson, divorced Armytage, and in 1887 married Tomson. In 1889 she successfully published under the pseudonym The Bird-Bride: A Volume of Ballads and Sonnets (London: Longmans, 1889), a volume aligned with aestheticism and with New Women movement in its exploration of marriage alternatives. Her A Summer Night (London: Methuen, 1891) aligned her with the decadents in its impressionism and representation of female desire. By 1892, she had become poetry critic for The Academy, art critic for The Morning Leader, President of the Literary Ladies, and the editor of Sylvia’s Journal. In June 1894 she left Arthur Tomson and moved in with H. B. Marriott Watson (1863–1921). Tomson divorced her in 1895, but she never remarried. Her Vespertilia, and Other Verses was published in 1895 by John Lane at The Bodley Head. Though Vespertilia appeared under the signature of Graham R. Tomson, its author had renamed herself Rosamund Marriott Watson. Her reputation declined after Vespertilia, and she died at the age of 51 in 1911. She had counted Algernon Swinburne, William Morris, Christina Rossetti, and D. G. Rossetti among her early influences and, among her friends, Oscar Wilde, John Lane, W. E. Henley, Katharine Tynan, Alice Meynell, Violet Hunt, Elizabeth Pennell, and William Sharp. I am indebted to Linda K. Hughes for this information. See her Graham R.: Rosamund Marriott Watson, Woman of Letters (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2005), and biographies in The Yellow Nineties Online, http://1890s.ca/Contact_Us.aspx

80 Mathilde Blind. See note to Sharp ltr. to Watts of July 22, 1882.

81 Garnett’s Twilight of the Gods and Other Tales.

82 Sharp’s Life of Heinrich Heine was published (London: Walter Scott) in the Great Writers Series in fall 1888. Garnett wrote to Sharp on November 11, 1888 (Memoir 143–44) to say he had finished reading it and to congratulate him on the work.

83 Olive Schreiner (1855–1920) was a South African novelist, political critic, and feminist. She had published The Story of an African Farm: A Novel in Two Volumes under the pseudonym “Ralph Iron” in 1883. Schreiner also wrote Woman and Labor (1911), From Man to Man (1926), and Undine (1928).

84 The North Wales Express was a weekly English language newspaper published in Caernarfon, Wales and edited by Robert Williams. A full-column and very positive review of Sharp’s Life of Heine appeared anonymously in the issue of November 16, 1888.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 6. George Meredith, no later than 1913, in Robert Louis Stevenson: A Bookman Extra Number 1913 (London: Hodder & Stoughton), p. 138, Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:George_Meredith%27s_Portrait.jpg
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7835/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 260k
Légende Fig. 7. Arthur Ellis (c. 1894). Photograph of Richard Le Gallienne. Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Richard_Le_Gallienne,_by_Alfred_Ellis.jpg, Public Domain.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7835/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 165k

Acheter

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search