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

 | 
William Sharp
, 
Fiona Macleod

Chapter Seven

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Life: 1891

1The Sharps arrived in Rome in early December of 1890 and stayed until March. Elizabeth recalled those months as “one long delight” for her husband, which “amply fulfilled even his optimistic anticipation. He reveled in the sunshine and the beauty; he was in perfect health; his imagination was quickened and worked with great activity” (Memoir 173). In mid-December, Edith Wingate Rinder came from London to spend three weeks with Mona Caird, a close friend of the Sharps who was wintering in Rome “for her health.” A beautiful and intelligent young woman of twenty-six, Edith had married Mona’s cousin, Frank Rinder, less than a year earlier, on February 17, 1890. Edith and Frank were childhood sweethearts who had grown up as landed gentry on neighboring farms in the north of England. Educated at home and locally, Edith spent a year studying in Germany and worked for a time as a governess in Lincolnshire upon returning home. Frank was also educated in Lincolnshire and sent to Fettes College, a well-established boarding school in Edinburgh. During his first year – 1883–84 – he became ill with cerebral meningitis which left him somewhat crippled and in ill-health for the rest of his life. Back in Lincolnshire, feeling isolated, deprived of culture, without prospects, and unable to overcome their parents’ opposition to their marrying, the young couple set their sights on London. Mona Caird, Frank Rinder’s first cousin, had married in 1887 a wealthy Scottish Laird – James Alexander Henryson Caird of Cassenary, Creeton, Kirkendbrighten – and settled into a substantial house in South Hampstead. An early advocate of freedom from the stultifying restraints of high Victorianism, Mona invited Edith Wingate and Frank Rinder to London, adopted them for a time into her household, and facilitated their marriage, which took place not at a church, as was customary, but at a London Registry Office on February 27, 1890.

2The Sharps knew Edith and Frank Rinder in London before and after their marriage. Their South Hampton house was only a few blocks from Mona Caird’s, and there was frequent entertaining back and forth. By December 1890, the glow had worn off Edith’s marriage, and Sharp’s relationship with Elizabeth had devolved into that of a mother overseeing her frequently-ill child whom she called “my poet.” In any case, the friendship between the handsome William Sharp, free of pressing obligations and revitalized at the age of thirty-five, and the strikingly beautiful Edith Rinder, who was twenty-six, blossomed under the warm Italian sun into a close and lasting relationship. Edith would become the mysterious unnamed friend Sharp frequently alluded to in letters and conversations and the principal catalyst for the Fiona Macleod phase of his literary career. In an 1896 letter to his wife, Sharp said he owed Edith his “development as ‘Fiona Macleod’ though, in a sense of course, that began long before I knew her, and indeed while I was still a child.” “Without her,” Sharp continued, “there would have been no ‘Fiona Macleod’.” After quoting from this letter in the Memoir 222, Elizabeth continued, with remarkable generosity, “Because of her beauty, her strong sense of life and the joy of life; because of her keen intuitions and mental alertness, her personality stood for him as a symbol of the heroic women of Greek and Celtic days, a symbol that, as he expressed it, unlocked new doors in his mind and put him ‘in touch with ancestral memories’ of his race.” When Pharais: A Romance of the Isles, the first Fiona Macleod book, was published in 1894, it was dedicated to “E. W. R.” – Edith Wingate Rinder.

3Sharp and Edith took long walks together in the Roman Campagna in late December and early January. The beauty of the countryside and the joy of his new found love moved Sharp to compose in February a sequence of exuberant poems that were privately printed in March as Sospiri di Roma, sighs of Rome. Of that volume and Edith Rinder’s role in its genesis, Elizabeth wrote

The “Sospiri di Roma” was the turning point. Those unrhymed poems of irregular meter are filled not only with the passionate delight in life, with the sheer joy of existence, but also with the ecstatic worship of beauty that possessed him during those spring months we spent in Rome when he had cut himself adrift for the time from the usual routine of our life, and touched a high point of health and exuberant spirits. There, at last, he found the desired incentive towards a true expression of himself, in the stimulus and sympathetic understanding of the friend to whom he dedicated the first of the books published under his pseudonym. This friendship began in Rome and lasted throughout the remainder of his life (Memoir 222).

4Elizabeth included in the Memoir excerpts from Sharp’s diary that detail his activities and his writing during January and February. On January 3, he and Edith traveled by train to the village of Albano south of Rome and walked from there to Genzano where they looked down into Lake Nemi, which “looked lovely in its grey-blue stillness, with all the sunlit but yet somber winterliness around. Nemi, itself, lay apparently silent and lifeless, ‘a city of dream,’ on a height across the lake.” He continued, “One could imagine that Nemi and Genzano had once been the same town, and had been riven asunder by a volcano. The lake-filled crater now divides these two little hill-set towns.”

5This excursion stands out among others Sharp described because of what it came to mean to him in the context of his relationship with Edith Rinder and his creation of Fiona Macleod. On February 8, after Edith had returned to London, he wrote a poem called “The Swimmer of Nemi (The Lake of Nemi: September):”

White through the azure,
The purple blueness,
Of Nemi’s waters
The swimmer goeth.
Ivory-white, or wan white as roses
Yellowed and tanned by the suns of the Orient,
His strong limbs sever the violet hollows;
A shimmer of white fantastic motions
Wavering deep through the lake as he swimmeth.
Like gorse in the sunlight the gold of his yellow hair,
Yellow with sunshine and bright as with dew-drops,
Spray of the waters flung back as he tosseth
His head i’the sunlight in the midst of his laughter;
Red o’er his body, blossom-white ‘mid the blueness,
And trailing behind him in glory of scarlet,
A branch of red-berried ash of the mountains.
White as a moonbeam
Drifting athwart
The purple twilight,
The swimmer goeth –
Joyously laughing,
With o’er his shoulders,
Agleam in the sunshine
The trailing branch
With the scarlet berries.
Green are the leaves, and scarlet the berries,
White are the limbs of the swimmer beyond them
Blue the deep heart in the haze of September,
The high Alban hills in their silence and beauty,
Purple the depths of the windless heaven
Curv’d like a flower o’er the waters of Nemi.

6In his diary, Sharp followed the poem’s title with “(Red and White) 42 lines” though it was shortened to thirty-one lines when it appeared in Sospiri di Roma. This poem and others in the volume represent a departure into the realms of free verse and impressionism in an effort, following Walt Whitman and others, to break the rigidity and formalism of poetry, as J. W. Turner had done and Whistler and the French impressionists were doing in painting.

7There is more to be said about the Nemi poem. Sharp must have known the paintings of the lake by John Robert Cozens (1777) and George Inness (1857) and of Turner’s many depictions of the lake and its surroundings. He must also have known the lake was the most famous place of worship of the Roman Goddess Diana Nemorensis (“Diana of the Wood”) who was the goddess of wild animals and the hunt and identified with the Greek goddess Artemis, a goddess of the moon and fertility. He must also have been aware of the myth central to James Fraser’s ground-breaking Golden Bough, which appeared in 1890. The King of the Woods – Rex Nemorensis – guards the temple of Diana Nemorensis, Diana of the Wood, with a golden bough that symbolizes his power. Annually, reflecting the progress of the seasons and the harvest, another man plucks a bough from the golden tree, swims Lake Nemi, kills the King, assumes his powers, and guards Diana’s temple. In his poem, Sharp idealizes himself in the handsome and powerful swimmer who carries the red-berried ash bough, a symbol of dynamic life, to lay at the feet of Diana’s reincarnation as the beautiful Edith Rinder.

8Sharp’s fascination with Lake Nemi, its renewal myth, and the day – January 3, 1891 – he visited Nemi with Edith Rinder did not end with the poem. Years later he cast the day in a different guise, but with the same significance. He transformed the poem’s handsome male swimmer into a beautiful woman. Ernest Rhys, in his Everyman Remembers, recalled Sharp telling him that

His first meeting with Fiona was on the banks of Lake Nemi when she was enjoying a sun-bath in what she deemed was virgin solitude, after swimming the lake. “That moment began”, he declared, “my spiritual regeneration. I was a New Man, a mystic, where before I had been only a mechanic-in-art. Carried away by my passion, my pen wrote as if dipped in fire, and when I sat down to write prose, a spirit-hand would seize the pen and guide it into inspired verse. We found we had many common friends: we traveled on thro’ Italy and went to Rome, and there I wrote my haunting Sospiri di Roma”.

9Rhys took Sharp’s words to mean there was “an objective Fiona Macleod,” and “the passion she inspired gave Sharp a new deliverance, a new impetus.” Though Rhys did not know who she was, he was correct. A real woman figured crucially in Sharp’s creation of Fiona Macleod. The male swimmer in Sharp’s Nemi poem, ""Ivory-white, or wan white as roses | Yellowed and tanned by the suns of the Orient,” was initially an idealized self-portrait. Years later, he had become Fiona “enjoying a sun-bath in what she deemed was virgin solitude, after swimming the lake.” The lengthy diary account of his first day-long walk with Edith Rinder and the importance he placed on their visit to Nemi suggest that may have been the day their relationship deepened. It was she, not the imaginary Fiona, who was responsible for his “spiritual regeneration,” for his becoming a “New Man, a mystic,” where before he “had been only a mechanic-in-art.” She was responsible for the burst of creativity that produced the poems of Sospiri di Roma and eventually for the emergence of Fiona Macleod.

10On February 8, he wrote “A Winter Evening” | (An hour after Nightfall, on Saturday, January 17, 1891) | [To E. W. R.], which describes his walk through a heavy snowstorm on January 17. His diary entry for the 17th begins “Winter with a vengeance. Rome might be St. Petersburg.” In the late afternoon, he had gone alone for a walk on the Pincio Terrace in the whirling snow.

Returning by the Pincian Gate, about 5:45 there was a strange sight. Perfectly still in the sombre Via di Mura, with high walls to the right, but the upper opines and cypresses swaying in a sudden rush of wind: to the left a drifting snow-storm: to the right wintry moonshine: vivid sweeping pulsations of lightening from the Compagna, and long low muttering growls of thunder. (The red light from a window in the wall). (Memoir 176–77).

11When he turned this experience into a poem on February 8, the same day he wrote “The Swimmer of Nemi,” he focused on that red light:

Here all the snow-drift lies thick and untrodden,
Cold, white, and desolate save where the red light
Gleams from a window in yonder high turret

12And the poem ends:

Here in the dim, gloomy Via dell’Mura,
Nought but the peace of the snow-drift unruffled,
Whitely obscure, save where from the window
High in the walls of the Medici Gardens
Glows a red shining, fierily bloodred.
What lies in the heart of thee, Night, thus so ominous?
What is they secret, strange joy or strange sorrow?

13Why he chose this poem to dedicate to Edith we cannot know, but it is tempting to speculate. Walking home, he observed the contrast between the sweeping winds above and the relative peace below as the lightning and thunder approached the city, the rush of wind and snow on one side and wintry moonshine of the other. He was walking alone, and the dedication to Edith suggests the poem was meant to describe the experience for her. If so, the red light high in the dark wall may represent Edith as a steady, though now remote, beacon of warmth and contentment for the poet, alone and buffeted between periods of moonlit joy and stormy depression.

14After Edith returned to London in mid-January, the Sharps became more active in the literary and artistic life of Rome, attending lectures and visiting art studios. Sharp’s diary shows he sampled a remarkable array of writers: Elie Reclus, Pierre Loti, George Meredith, Robert Browning, Charles Swinburne, Coventry Patmore, Antonio Fogazzaro, Gabriel D’Annunzio, Henrik Ibsen, Edgar Allen Poe, Henri de Balzac, and Sainte-Beuve. He wrote articles for the New York Independent and the British National Review and a poem for Belford’s Magazine. He met Elihu Vedder who wanted to know what the British press had written about his illustrations for Omar Khayam. On January 10, Sharp thanked Bliss Carman, literary editor of the New York Independent, for sending the issue of December 25 that printed his a poem, “Paris Nocturne,” an unrhymed impressionistic poem that anticipated those he was writing in Italy.

15On January 30, Sharp turned in earnest to the poems that would become Sospiri di Roma. By February 2, he had written fourteen and remarked in his diary, “Such bursts of uncontrollable poetic impulse as came to me today, and the last three days, only come rarely in each year.” The next day, February 3, he sent several poems to Carmen and asked him to consider publishing them or send them to other American editors for possible publication. If accepted he asked that they should appear before they were included in the volume of poems he planned to publish in March. On February 10 and 11, Sharp sat for a drawing by Charles Holroyd that became the etched portrait Sharp used to face the title page of Sospiri di Roma:

16In late February, Charles Ross, a Norwegian painter, asked Sharp to sit for him and produced a pastel portrait that Elizabeth reproduced in the Memoir. The many surviving portraits of Sharp suggest that painters and photographers considered him a handsome and imposing figure.

17Sharp arranged to have the poems he was writing printed by the Societa Laziale’s press in Tivoli at his expense, and he continued writing and revising until mid-March when Elizabeth left for Florence to spend more time with her aunt. Sharp stayed on in Rome and went to Tivoli for a few days to put his poems in their final shape and oversee their type setting. Julian Corbett, a friend and a prominent British naval historian who had just published a biography of Sir Francis Drake, accompanied him, and the two men spent mornings working and afternoons exploring Tivoli and the surrounding hills. During a visit to the castle of San Poli dei Cavalieri, they met a “comely woman” who gave them some wine. She also told a tale that found its way, along with the town and surrounding scenery, into Sharp’s “The Rape of the Sabines,” a convoluted story that appeared the following year in the first and only issue of Sharp’s Pagan Review.

18Towards the end of the month Sharp joined Elizabeth in Pisa, and from there they went to Arles in the south of France where they stayed until the end of March. On March 30, Sharp sent Catherine Janvier a letter from Provence in which he told her his Sospiri di Roma was being printed that very day

to the sound of the Cascades of the Anio at Tivoli, in the Sabines – one of which turns the machinery of the Socièta Laziale’s printing-works. I do hope the book will appeal to you, as there is so much of myself in it. No doubt it will be too frankly impressionistic to suit some people, and its unconventionality in form as well as in matter will be a cause of offense here and there. You shall have one of the earliest copies.

19About seventy-five copies were printed and sent to Sharp who sent them selectively to his friends and to newspapers and periodicals where they were most likely to be well received. He told Mrs. Janvier that Marseilles was unattractive compared to Rome. He and Elizabeth preferred Arles, but it paled in comparison to the hill towns of the Apennine and the Sabines:

When I think of happy days at the Lake of Nemi, high up in the Albans, of Albano, and L’Ariccia, and Castel Gandolfo – of Tivoli, and the lonely Montecelli, and S. Polo dei Cavalieri, and Castel Madamo and Anticoli Corrado, etc., among the Sabines – of the ever new, mysterious, fascinating Campagna, from the Maremma on the North to the Pontine Marches, my heart is full of longing.… You will find something of my passion for it, and of that still deeper longing and passion for the Beautiful, in my “Sospiri di Roma”, which ought to reach you before the end of April, or at any rate early in May.

20On May 1, Sharp wrote again to Catherine Janvier, this time about the critical response to Sospiri di Roma:

It is no good to any one or to me to say that I am a Pagan – that I am “an artist beyond doubt, but one without heed to the cravings of the human heart: a worshipper of the Beautiful, but, without religion, without an ethical message, with nothing but a vain cry for the return, or it may be the advent, of an impossible ideal”. Equally absurd to complain that in these “impressions” I give no direct “blood and bones” for the mind to gnaw at and worry over. Cannot they see that all I attempt to do is to fashion anew something of the lovely vision I have seen, and that I would as soon commit forgery (as I told someone recently) as add an unnecessary line, or “play” to this or that taste, this or that critical opinion. The chief paper here in Scotland shakes its head over “the nude sensuousness of ‘The Swimmer of Nemi’, ‘The Naked Rider’, ‘The Bather’, ‘Foir di Memoria’, ‘The Wild Mare’ (whose ‘fiery and almost savage realism!’ it depreciates – tho’ this is the poem which [George] Meredith says is ‘bound to live’) and evidently thinks artists and poets who see beautiful things and try to fashion them anew beautifully, should be stamped out, or at any rate left severely alone.

21Here Sharp seemed to reject the idea of being called a “Pagan,” which connoted an unrestrained sensuality and the absence of Christian beliefs. The more he thought about it, however, the more he warmed to the term. The statues he saw in and about Rome and described in the Sospiri poems were certainly pre-Christian and therefore Pagan. The poems reflect the renewed energy – sexual as well as artistic – that Sharp experienced in Italy, and soon he would write under various pseudonyms the stories and poems in the first and only issue of his Pagan Review.

22It is no wonder the papers and journals that received copies of the book were put off by the form of the poems and their “nude sensuous.” The male nude swimmer in the Nemi poem is one of several white nudes – men and women and even a white mare pursued and mounted by a dark stallion – that populate the volume. Shortly after his previous volume of poems – Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy – appeared in 1888, Sharp wrote to a “friend:” “I am tortured by the passionate desire to create beauty, to sing something of the ‘impossible songs’ I have heard, to utter something of the rhythm of life that has touched me. The next volume of romantic poems will be daringly of the moment, vital with the life and passion of today.” Three years passed before he fulfilled that promise in a month-long burst of creativity in Rome. Sharp saw himself as part of a wider effort to break through the constraints of late Victorianism, but the assault on poetic forms and sexual norms that resulted from his “passionate desire to create beauty” in Sospiri di Roma met resistance or avoidance among all but a few close friends who shared his goals. George Meredith was one of those friends. In a letter to Sharp, he praised the volume with some reservations: “Impressionistic work where the heart is hot surpasses all but highest verse.… It can be of that heat only at intervals. In ‘The Wild Mare’ you have hit the mark.” That is the poem the Scottish paper criticized for its “fiery and almost savage realism.”

23From May until mid-August, Sharp spent most of his working hours on the biography of Joseph Severn that Severn’s son had asked him to write. The Sharps stayed in Provence until the end of April. Sharp went to London in early May and intended to go back to France where they would spend the summer in the Forest of Fontainebleau. While he was away, Elizabeth became ill with an “insidious form of low fever” and returned to England for treatment. Along with medication, she needed rest so they went to Eastbourne on the Sussex coast for two weeks where she could have the fresh sea air, and he could work undisturbed on the Severn book. After several weeks Sharp went to see his mother in Edinburgh while Elizabeth, restored to health, stayed with her mother in London. In mid-July they met in York and went to Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast for six weeks. On August 21, back in London, Sharp asked the Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine if he might be interested in publishing a story curiously entitled “The Second Shadow: Being the Narrative of Jose Maria Santos y Bazan, Spanish Physician in Rome.” Blackwood’s declined, but Bliss Carman published it in the New York Independent on August 25, 1892. Sharp finished the last revisions of his Severn book on August 28, and he and Elizabeth left for Stuttgart where Sharp and Blanch Willis Howard would plan their collaboration.

24The two writers settled on a title and a plot. A line from Shakespeare’s Othello – “A fellowe almost damned in a faire wife” gave them a title. Their novel would be called A Fellowe and his Wife, and the main characters would be a German Count and his beautiful young Countess who decides to live in Rome and become a sculptor. Sharp would draw upon his experience in Rome to write the letters of the “faire wife” while Howard would draw upon hers in the German court to write the Count’s replies. In Rome, the wife falls under the spell of a famous sculptor who seduces and then betrays her. Though it takes a great deal of heightened prose, especially on the wife’s part, the husband finally goes to Rome, confronts the sculptor, forgives his wife, and takes her back to Germany. Sharp’s decision to play the part of the Countess was logical enough given his immersion in Rome. His easy adoption of the role and his obvious pleasure in molding the female character through her writing foreshadowed his decision to adopt a female authorial voice and pseudonym for his first Fiona Macleod romance in 1894. A Fellowe and his Wife, published in both America and Britain in 1892, contains a good deal of Sharp’s enchantment with the beauty and culture of Rome and Howard’s with the German aristocracy she had recently joined by marriage.

Fig. 9. Blanche Willis Howard, in F. E. Willard, A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in all Walks of Life (Buffalo, N. Y.: Moulton, 1893), p. 735, Wikipedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:BLANCHE_WILLIS_HOWARD_VON_TEUFFEL._A_woman_of_the_century_(page_745_crop).jpg

25Sharp was energized by the warm fall weather in southern Germany and by his relationship with Howard, who enjoyed being called the Frau Hof-Arzt von Teuffel. In a letter to Catherine Janvier on September 3, he said he was “electrified in mind and body:”

The sun flood intoxicated me. But the beauty of the world is always bracing – all beauty is. I seemed to inhale it – to drink it in – to absorb it at every pore – to become it – to become the heart and soul within it. And then in the midst of it all came my old savage longing for a vagrant life: for freedom from the bondage we have involved ourselves in. I suppose I was a gypsy once – and before that ‘a wild man o’ the woods’.

26Also on September 3, he wrote excitedly to Bliss Carman:

How strangely one drifts about in this world. Not many days ago I was on the Yorkshire moors or along the sea-coast by Whitby: a few days ago I was in Holland, and rejoicing in the animated life of that pleasant ‘water-land’: last Sunday I was strolling by the Rhine or listening to the music in Cologne Cathedral. And now we are temporarily settled down in this beautiful Vine-land – in Stuttgart, the loveliest of all German capitals. It is glorious here just now. The heat is very great, but I delight in it. These deep blue skies, these vine clad hills all aglimmer with green-gold, this hot joyous life of the South enthralls me – while this glorious flooding sunshine seems to get into the heart and the brain.

27He concluded the letter to Catherine Janvier on that high note:

I have had a very varied, and, to use a much-abused word, a very romantic life in its external as well as in its internal aspects. Life is so unutterably precious that I cannot but rejoice daily that I am alive: and yet I have no fear of, or even regret at the thought of death. There are many things far worse than death. When it comes, it comes. But meanwhile we are alive. The Death of the power to live is the only death to be dreaded.

28Having finished the Severn biography, Sharp had returned to a warm and beautiful place and remained in good health. He had developed a close friendship with a newly noble woman who was also an established novelist. He experienced in Germany in September and October 1891 a joy that came seldom, but powerfully. Soon after arriving in Stuttgart, he confided in his diary, “What a year this has been for me: the richest and most wonderful I have known. Were I as superstitious as Polycrates I should surely sacrifice some precious thing lest the vengeful gods should say, ‘Thou hast lived too fully: Come!’”

29In his diary on September 6, Sharp called Howard a “charming woman.” He “liked her better than ever” and had to remind himself he was there to collaborate with her on a novel. Conscious of his propensity to fall in love with attractive women, he wrote, “I must be on guard against my too susceptible self.” In his late September annual birthday letter to E. C. Stedman, he wrote more expansively:

I am here for a literary purpose – though please keep this news to yourself meanwhile – i. e. collaborating with our charming friend Blanche Willis Howard (von Teuffel) in a novel. It is on perfectly fresh and striking lines, and will I think attract attention. We are more than half through with it already. She is a most interesting woman, and is of that vigorous blond race of women whom Titian and the Palmas loved to paint, and whom we can see now in perfection not in Venico but at Chioggia, further down the Adriatic. But if I fall too deeply in love, it will be your fault – for it was you who introduced me to her! I told her about your birthday, and I think she is going to send you a line of greeting. We see each other for several hours daily, or nightly, and – well, literary life has its compensations! But our affectionate camaraderie is as Platonic as – say, as yours would be in a like instance: so don’t drag from its mouldy tomb that cynic smile which lies awaiting the possible resurrection of the Old Adam! Your ears must sometimes tingle as your inner sense overhears our praises of you as man and writer.

30He went on to tell Stedman he planned to visit America in early 1892 and give a series of public lectures in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Buffalo, Albany, & perhaps elsewhere. He listed fourteen possible topics ranging from the Pre-Raphaelites to “Poets and Poetry Today” and asked Stedman for advice and assistance in making the arrangements. More immediately, he and Elizabeth left Germany in mid-October and returned to England via Amsterdam on October 20.

31The extreme high Sharp experienced in Germany collapsed into physical illness and a deep depression in London. Elizabeth wrote, “The brilliant summer was followed by a damp and foggy autumn. My husband’s depression increased with the varying of the year.” On November 9 he spent all day at his London club – the Grosvenor – and wrote as follows in a note to Elizabeth who was spending the day with her mother.

I have been here all day and have enjoyed the bodily rest, the inner quietude, and, latterly, a certain mental uplifting. But at first I was deep down in the blues. Anything like the appalling gloom between two and three-thirty! I could scarcely read, or do anything but watch it with a kind of fascinated horror. It is going down to the grave indeed to be submerged in that hideous pall. As soon as I can make enough by fiction or the drama to depend thereon, we’ll leave this atmosphere of fog and this environment of deadening, crushing, paralysing death-in-life respectability. Circumstances make London thus for us: for me at least – for of course we carry our true atmosphere in ourselves – and places and towns are, in a general sense, mere accidents (Memoir 192).

32In December he wrote to Catherine Janvier in New York, “Do you not long for the warm days – for the beautiful living pulsing South? This fierce cold and gloom is mentally benumbing.” He looked forward to reading for her in three weeks one of the pieces of “intense dramatic prose” he had written in Germany.

33While dealing with his depression and proceeding with his “Dramatic Interludes,” Sharp had to return to his Severn biography. The publisher – Sampson Lowe, Marston & Company – decided to issue the work as one volume rather than two. Sharp thought he had finished the biography, but he was forced to condense the first volume and eliminate most of the second which chronicled Severn’s life after Keats died, including the twenty years he spent as British Counsel in Rome. Shortly after returning to London, Sharp wrote an article called “Joseph Severn and His Correspondents” that Horace Scudder published in the December 1891 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. In early December he wrote to Scudder:

If practicable, within the next fortnight or 3 weeks I shall send you the promised “Unpublished Incidents in the Life of Joseph Severn” (or such title as you prefer). I am glad there is a chance of these reminiscences appearing in a conspicuous place – for it appears that many people both in America and here are mainly anticipating the record of Severn’s consular life (partly, no doubt, after Ruskin’s splendid eulogium of him in Praeterita) – which is, so far as the book is concerned, regrettable.

34Scudder published that article as “Severn’s Roman Journals” in the May 1892 issue of the Atlantic.

35On December 8 Sharp informed Bliss Carman he had booked passage on the Teutonic which would sail from Liverpool on January 6 and arrive in New York on January 12 or 13. He had been forced to postpone all lecturing.

I am going out partly to attend to some private literary business, best seen to on the spot; partly to arrange for the bringing out in America of a play of mine which is to be produced here; and partly to get a glimpse of the many valued friends and acquaintances I have in N. Y. and Boston. I shall be in N. Y. for three weeks at any rate. Perhaps later on, say in your issue for the first week in January, you will be able to oblige me by inserting in the Independent a para to the above effect: as this would save me letting a lot of people know, and enable me to economize my limited time.

36According to Elizabeth, Sharp’s doctor had “strictly prohibited” him from giving lectures in the United States. Once in New York, he used that excuse to decline a request from a Harvard faculty member to lecture there “upon a subject of contemporary literature.” His doctor probably warned Sharp to avoid stress, but the fact that no lectures were prepared and none given followed a pattern of planning and then canceling. That pattern, I believe, was rooted in a deep insecurity about the depth of his knowledge – something akin to stage fright – which caused his weak heart to race uncontrollably before and during any presentation to a potentially critical audience.

Letters: 1891

To Richard Garnett, [early January, 1891]1

  • 1 Richard Garnett(1835–1906,) English librarian and author, entered the British Museum in 1851 as an (...)

3719, Via delle Quattro Fontane (p. z). | Rome

38Amico Mio,

  • 2 Elihu Vedder (1836–1923), a painter and illustrator of considerable merit, was born in New York of (...)

39After a glorious walk of over 15 miles across the loveliest part of the Campagna, in a perfect flood of hot sunshine (which, with a bumble-bee, a lizard, some daisies, and campagna-violets, made Spring seem already come) I have been spending a pleasant afternoon at Elihu Vedder’s.2 He is eager to see all that has been written in England about his “Omar Khayam” and I told him I thought you had written something. Is that so? If so, I wish you could send it to me if practicable: and I would take it to him. He is delighted at the idea that you have written about it all, but I warned him that I might be mistaken, though I fancy I am not. He has strongly imaginative things in his studio just now.

  • 3 Probably “Lilith,” a prose outline of which he read to Elizabeth on January 9 (Memoir 176).

40I am writing a lyrical drama,3 and other imaginative work: though hitherto circumstances have been somewhat against that leisure & repose to which I had so looked forward. However, after this week things will be better for me in this respect.

41Cordially Yours, | William Sharp

42P.S. I shall write again, about Pope Alexander’s tomb, & about Keats’& Shelley’s graves.

43ACS University of Texas at Austin

To Bliss Carman, January 10, 1891

44C | o Messrs. Maquay Hooker and Co., | 20, Piazza di Spagna, Rome 19, Via delle Quattro | Fontane | (p. z). | Roma | 10 Jan 91

45Dear old Chap,

46A hurried line to thank you for your welcome Christmas-Greeting – welcome as from the Sender, welcome for its own beauty. You will doubtless also have received the brief Greeting I sent.

  • 4 Paris Nocturne” was printed in the December 25, 1890, issue.

47Thanks, too, for the N. Y. Independent, with my poem, just to hand.4

  • 5 On January 8, 1891, Sharp wrote in his diary: “After dinner copied out ‘Rebirth’ (Spring’s Advent) (...)

48I send you one of my African poems – the ‘colour’ of which will perhaps please you. I hope it may suit you for the Independent.5

49Would you care for two or three papers on Contemporary Italian Literature – not so much critical, as to give an idea of what intellectual life and stir there is in Italy of today. Do you know any Magazine or Paper which would care for them? Don’t bother about the matter, however. I am rather full of it at present.

50With love; dear Carman, | Yours ever | William Sharp

51P.S. Don’t forget to go and see my dear friends the Janviers, at 20, Seventh Avenue, if you have not yet done so.

52P.S. I think we shall remove ourselves to Venice about the beginning of March.

53ALS Smith College Library

To Bliss Carman, February 3, 1891

5419, via delle Quattro Fontane | (p. z). | Rome | 3:2:91

55My dear old Boy

56I have got so utterly out of the way of all unnecessary letter writing that I often fear my distant friends will all agree to “curse me and forget”. You, however, understand, I know.

57I am writing much in verse just now, to the serious detriment of my finances! Late in the spring I am going to bring out a little volume – possibly I shall have it printed here, and perhaps for private circulation only – of poems dealing entirely with certain impressions of Rome, the Sabine and Alban hill-country, and the Campagna: a few at most, and all in irregular and unrhymed measures – a poetic ‘species’ in which I take great delight. The volume will be called “Sospiri di Roma”. (Keep all this to yourself, meanwhile). The more important happen also to be the longer, but I send some herewith of the shorter.

58I should be particularly pleased if you could use what you like best, and soon, so as not to cause a delay with the issue of my booklet. Can you manage this, amico mio.

59As I managed the “Universal Review” affair for you, I am also going to ask you to think over if you can ‘plant’ any of the other MSS herewith which you can’t use – if you can plant them somewhere, I don’t care where so long as they appear without much delay, and bring me some of the needful.

60I am doing this, however, in full trust that if the matter should be a burdensome or in any way disagreeable business for you, that you will proceed no further in it.

  • 6 Elizabeth Sharp stayed in Rome until mid-March and then went to Florence (Memoir 181). Sharp stayed (...)

61It is glorious weather now, and full Carnival. We leave here about the 25th of February – go to Spezia (probably) for a week – then elsewhere along the coast, St. Raphael or Antibes, and then into Provence for a month or so.6 Would you like some Provence sketches – in prose, I mean?

62Always affectionately yours, | William Sharp

63I was delighted to get your charming and characteristic Christmas remembrance.

64Letter-Address henceforth | 72 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | London. W

65ALS Smith College Library

To Catherine Janvier, March 30, 1891

6630:3:91.

67Gento Catarine,

68You see I address you à la Provençale already! We left Italy last week, and came to Provence. Marseilles, I admit, seemed to me an unattractive place after Rome – and indeed all of Provence we have seen as yet is somewhat chill and barren after Italy. No doubt the charm will grow. For one thing, Spring is very late here this year….

69Arles we like much. It is a quaint and pleasant little town: and once I can get my mind free of those haunting hill-towns of the Sabines and Albans I love so much – (is there any hill range in the world to equal that swing of the Apennines stretching beyond Rome eastward, southward, and southwestward?) – I shall get to love it too, no doubt. But oh, Italy, Italy! Not Rome: though Rome has an infinite charm, even now when the jerry-builder is fast ruining it: but “greater Rome”, the Agro Romano! When I think of happy days at the Lake of Nemi, high up in the Albans, of Albano, and L’Ariccia, and Castel Gandolfo – of Tivoli, and the lonely Montecelli, and S. Polo dei Cavalieri, and Castel Madamo and Anticoli Corrado, etc., among the Sabines – of the ever new, mysterious, fascinating Campagna, from the Maremma on the North to the Pontine Marches, my heart is full of longing. I love North Italy too, all Umbria and Tuscany: and to know Venice well is to have a secret of perpetual joy: and yet, the Agro Romano! How I wish you could have been there this winter and spring! You will find something of my passion for it, and of that still deeper longing and passion for the Beautiful, in my “Sospiri di Roma”, which ought to reach you before the end of April, or at any rate early in May. This very day it is being finally printed off to the sound of the Cascades of the Anio at Tivoli, in the Sabines – one of which turns the machinery of the Socièta Laziale’s printing-works. I do hope the book will appeal to you, as there is so much of myself in it. No doubt it will be too frankly impressionistic to suit some people, and its unconventionality in form as well as in matter will be a cause of offence here and there. You shall have one of the earliest copies.

70Yesterday was a fortunate day for arrival. It was a great festa, and all the women were out in their refined and picturesque costumes. The Amphitheatre was filled, tier upon tier, and full of colour (particularly owing to some three or four hundred Zouaves, grouped in threes or fours every here and there) for the occasion of “a grand Bull-Fight”. It was a brilliant and amusing scene, though (fortunately) the “fight” was of the most tame and harmless kind: much less dangerous even for the most unwary of the not very daring Arlesians than a walk across the remoter parts of the Campagna….

71Memoir 182–83

To Catherine Janvier, May 1, 1891

721st May, 1891.

  • 7 Sharp is commenting on the critical reception of Sospiri di Roma (1891).

73Whether coming with praise or with blame and cast me to the perdition of the unrighteous, the critics all seem unable to take the true standpoint – namely, that of the poet.7 What has he attempted, and how far has he succeeded or failed? That is what should concern them. It is no good to any one or to me to say that I am a Pagan – that I am “an artist beyond doubt, but one without heed to the cravings of the human heart: a worshipper of the Beautiful, but, without religion, without an ethical message, with nothing but a vain cry for the return, or it may be the advent, of an impossible ideal”. Equally absurd to complain that in these “impressions” I give no direct “blood and bones” for the mind to gnaw at and worry over. Cannot they see that all I attempt to do is to fashion anew something of the lovely vision I have seen, and that I would as soon commit forgery (as I told someone recently) as add an unnecessary line, or “play” to this or that taste, this or that critical opinion. The chief paper here in Scotland shakes its head over “the nude sensuousness of ‘The Swimmer of Nemi’, ‘The Naked Rider’, ‘The Bather’, ‘Foir di Memoria’, ‘The Wild Mare’ (whose “fiery and almost savage realism!’ it depreciates – tho’ this is the poem which Meredith says is ‘bound to live’) and evidently thinks artists and poets who see beautiful things and try to fashion them anew beautifully, should be stamped out, or at any rate left severely alone….

74In work, creative work above all, is the sovereign remedy for all that ill which no physician can cure: and there is a joy in it which is unique and invaluable….

75Memoir 185–86

To Theodore Watts-Dunton, May 7, [1891]

7672 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | W. | Friday, May 7th

77My dear Watts

78Many thanks for your kind and friendly letter. I have time only for the most hurried reply. I had to come over to London on private matters, and was about to return to France, when my wife unexpectedly came over, having been medically ordered to do so. She has been unwell for some time, and lately seriously. She is now gaining ground, but it will be a few weeks before she is herself again. An insidious form of low fever is the nominal cause. I am inclined to think she has never quite recovered from an attack of influenza last year: but besides this the arteries got harm from the bad drainage & bad water in Provence.

79We are going to Eastbourne at the beginning of the week for a fortnight – & that will do her much good, I expect.

80Of course all our plans have been upset: and I do not know what we are going to do between the end of May and September, when we intend to go to Southern Germany [for] two months. As soon as we return from Eastbourne we are going to pay a short visit to George Meredith. It will be a pleasure to me to tell him how highly you appreciate his new book. Nothing has gratified me so much as the letter he wrote to me about “Sospiri di Roma”. Curiously enough (considering author’s vanity) I can’t quite see why the short poem “The Wild Mare” is so fine as he would have it. He says it is “unrivalled in its kind, a superb bit of living verse”, and that “it lives in him”. I am delighted – but, as the Yankees say, I don’t quite ‘catch on’. By the way, I had such a friendly & kind (though by no means ‘palavery’) note from Gosse. The book, of course, will bring me nothing in cash – tho’ it has paid its expenses: but it seems to have struck many and divers kinds of people.

  • 8 Coulson Kernahan (1858–1953) was a writer of fiction, criticism, recollections, and imaginative and (...)

81I know little of the Coulson Kernahan8 to whom you allude. He made a hit a year or so ago by a book (which first appeared serially in Lippincott’s) called “A Dead Man’s Diary”. He is now settled in London, and doing good journalistic work. He is writing occasional papers on literary men of the day for The Echo and The British Weekly.

82I have not yet overcome my Rome-sickness – and long to be back again. I loved Rome many years ago, and despite all the spoiling of it that goes steadily on I loved it this last winter & spring more than ever.

83I hope to see you when we are in town again. If, perchance, you shd. be in Eastbourne, you would find us at 6 Moslyn Terrace.

84Ever yours sincerely | William Sharp

85If my wife were ‘up’, or knew that I was writing, she would send cordial greetings.

86ALS British Museum, typescript at Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

To Bliss Carman, [mid-July, 1891]

87Letter Address | 2 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh

88My Dear Old Man

  • 9 Charles G. D. Roberts. See note to Sharp's letter to E. C. Stedman dated July 27, 1889.

89I wonder if this will reach you in New York, or if you are away somewhere on what must be a much needed holiday. If you are in or should be going to Nova Scotia give my love to dear old Roberts,9 who seems by the way to have quite forgotten me, as he has taken no notice of two letters I wrote to him from Italy, and has never acknowledged “Sospira di Roma”.

  • 10 Walter Severn (1830–1904,) a painter, was the son of Joseph Severn, also a painter and a friend of (...)

90I am writing this at Whitby, on the Yorkshire Coast, where I shall remain for the next six weeks, and hope to finish my long-delayed “Severn Memoirs”.10 Then we go to Germany (Stuttgart). From there I hope to send you one or two interesting & novel travel papers, in lieu of those I was supposed to have sent from Italy and Provence.

91I hope the enclosed may suit you. It would no doubt interest a great many even among those who have never visited the Italian islands.

92Best Greetings, old fellow, | from Yours Affectionately Ever | William Sharp

93When are you going to publish your poems in Book Form?

94ALS University of Iowa

To The Editor, Blackwood’s Magazine, August 21, 1891

9572 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | London W. 21 Aug: 91

96Dear Sir:

97On my return to England for a short time I find the enclosed among some MSS. which had accidentally been sent home, in the Spring from Rome, in a box.

  • 11 The Second Shadow: Being the Narrative of Jose Maria Santos y Bazan, Spanish Physician in Rome” wa (...)

98I shall be very pleased if it suit you; and I must ask your indulgence for its being sent in ‘Pencil’. I am just finishing my long delayed Severn Memoir, and, moreover, go abroad again next week (Friday: from this address): and I have, consequently, too much to do to attempt copying: “The Second Shadow”.11 However. My MS. is clear & legible.

99Yours very brief | William Sharp

100If unsuitable, please return MS. (my only copy) to Miss Mary Sharp, 2 Coltbridge Terrace, Murrayfield, Edinburgh.

101If accepted: And if proofs are sent anytime from the 1st till the end of September: my address will be bei Frau Leisewitz, Johannes Strasse 33, Wurttemberg, Germany.

102ALS National Library of Scotland

To Catherine Janvier, September 3, 1891

  • 12 The Sharps went to Stuttgart so he could collaborate with Blanche Willis Howard on A Fellowe and Hi (...)

103Johannes Strasse 33,12 | 3:9:91.

104I know that you would revel in this glowing golden heat, and in the beautiful vinelands of the South. Southern Germany in the vintage season is something to remember with joy all one’s life. Yesterday it seemed as if the world were one vast sea of deep blue wherever a great glowing wave of light straight from the heart of the sun was flowing joyously. I revel in this summer gorgeousness, and drink in the hot breath of the earth as though it were the breath of life. Words are useless to depict the splendour of colour everywhere – the glimmer of the golden-green of the vines, the immeasurable sunfilled flowers, the masses of ripening fruit of all kinds, the hues on the hill-slopes and in the valleys, on the houses and the quaint little vineyard-cots with their slanting red roofs. In the early afternoon I went up through the orchards and vineyards on the shoulder of the Hasenberg. It was a glory of colour. Nor have I ever seen such a lovely purple bloom among the green branches – like the sky of faerieland – as in the dark-plum orchards. There was one heavily laden tree which was superb in its massy richness of fruit: it was like a lovely vision of those thunderclouds which come and go in July dawns. The bloom on the fruit was as though the west wind had been unable to go further and had let its velvety breath and wings fade away in a soft visible death or sleep. The only sounds were from the myriad bees and wasps and butterflies: some peasants singing in the valley as they trimmed the vines: and the just audible susurrus of the wind among the highest pines on the Hasenberg. There was the fragrance of a myriad odours from fruit and flower and blossom and plant and tree and fructifying soil – with below all that strange smell as of the very body of the living breathing world. The festival of colour was everywhere. As I passed a cottar’s sloping bit of ground within his vineyards, I saw some cabbages high up among some trailing beans, which were of the purest and most delicate blue, lying there like azure wafts from the morning sky. Altogether I felt electrified in mind and body. The sunflood intoxicated me. But the beauty of the world is always bracing – all beauty is. I seemed to inhale it – to drink it in – to absorb it at every pore – to become it – to become the heart and soul within it. And then in the midst of it all came my old savage longing for a vagrant life: for freedom from the bondage we have involved ourselves in. I suppose I was a gipsy once – and before that “a wild man o’ the woods”.

105A terrific thunderstorm has broken since I wrote the above. I have rarely if ever seen such continuous lightening. As it cleared, I saw a remarkably beautiful sight. In front of my window rose a low rainbow, and suddenly from right there was a bright steel-blue bolt, seemingly hurled with intent right through the arch. The next moment the rainbow collapsed in a ruin of fading splendours….

106I have had a very varied, and, to use a much abused word, a very romantic life in its external as well as in its internal aspects. Life is so unutterably precious that I cannot but rejoice daily that I am alive: and yet I have no fear of, or even regret at the thought of death. There are many things far worse than death. When it comes, it comes. But meanwhile we are alive. The Death of the power to live is the only death to be dreaded….

107Memoir 186–88

To [Bliss Carman],13 September 3, 1891

  • 13 The salutation and content of this letter indicate clearly it was addressed to Bliss Carman.

108Johannes Strasse 33 III | Stuttgart | Wurtemberg | 3: Sept: 91

109My dear old man

  • 14 Charles G. D. Roberts. See note to Sharp's letter to E. C. Stedman of July 27, 1889.
  • 15 I have been unable to identify this person.

110Thanks for your letter and enclosure, which reached me just before I left London for Holland. I am hoping that you are away in Villegiatura this divine month of September. If anywhere near dear old Roberts,14 give him my love: and say that I hope he duly received “Sospiri di Roma” with my letter. And by the way, if you come across C. F. Hall,15 tell him that I sent him a copy also. He wrote to me some time ago to say that he was sending or was going to send a copy of some magazine containing something about myself by him – but either it was not sent or it missed me. By the way, in your last note you said something about never having recd. back the photo of myself from the “Magazine of Poetry”. My memory is confused about this: but you shall have another some day. Has any article about me ever appeared in the Mag. of Poetry? If so, I have not seen it.

111How strangely one drifts about in this world. Not many days ago I was on the Yorkshire moors or along the sea-coast by Whitby: a few days ago I was in Holland, and rejoicing in the animated life of that pleasant ‘water-land’: last Sunday I was strolling by the Rhine or listening to the music in Cologne Cathedral. And now we are temporarily settled down in this beautiful Vine-land – in Stuttgart, the loveliest of all German capitals. It is glorious here just now. The heat is very great, but I delight in it. These deep blue skies, these vine clad hills all aglimmer with green-gold, this hot joyous life of the South enthralls me – while this glorious flooding sunshine seems to get into the heart and the brain. Even as a town Stuttgart is charming, with its old and new parts, and its magnificent Anlagen leading to Cannstadt. There is ample entertainment of all kinds-open-air concerts, the opera, & so forth. But if you were here, we would leave the town, charming as it is, and go away on the tramp through the golden vinelands and up through the blue Alps of Suabia and Franconia. South Germany in the blithe season of the Vintage is one of the loveliest places in this beautiful world.

112But no more South for us this year, once this golden month of September is over. Early in October we shall be in Nuremberg and thence rapidly north not only to Holland but to the far north of Holland – Helder and Hoorn on the Zuyder Zee. About the 20th of October we shall be in England again, as I have art-work that must be attended to. I shall then go off by myself for one of my vagrant gipsy-tramps – either in the west of Scotland (probably round the Island of Arran) or else through the Fen-lands, or perhaps loaf on the upper Thames Reaches. Thereafter I shall be in or close to London, and working very hard.

  • 16 Edmund and Laura Stedman; Catharine and Thomas A. Janvier.

113And now for some good news: in all probability I shall see you and other friends in New York at the end of January or beginning of February. But please meanwhile keep this to yourself: for, until my plans are more decided I do not wish my intended visit known even to friends. I intend to go a-lecturing for about two months in the States. It will be a great happiness to see you again, old fellow, and I look forward to seeing you among the first friends – you, and the Stedmans, and the Janviers, and H. W. Alden.16

  • 17 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn appeared in March 1892.

114Thank heaven, I have at last finished my long-delayed Severn Memoir.17 The book will be out in November probably.

115I don’t know if you ever print humourous verse. If so you may care to print the following parody of Hamlet’s famous speech, by “Joseph Severn the friend of Keats” à propos of Etching, at the time when that art first began to be practiced in England by the modern school. I asked my copyist to make a double version of it: so I can send you one herewith. If printed, it would of course, have to appear before the issue of the book – which, however, cannot be till the beginning of November at the earliest.

  • 18 The White Gull” (1892) is an elegy subtitled “For the Centenary of the Birth of Shelley.”

116You say you send me your latest experiment – “an overgrown lyric”: but unfortunately you only say so, for there was no enclosure save the cheque. I look forward to your poem on Shelley.18

117I doubt if New York or neighbourhood will be particularly pleasant at the beginning of February – but still we must manage a day out of the city somewhere. For myself I love, too, the solitude of nature in the days of deepest winter.

118But whether in the north or south I often bear you in loving remembrance: as I hope that you too do,

119Your affectionate friend, | William Sharp

120ALS Huntington

To Horace Scudder, September 18, 1891

121Letter address: 72 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London, W.

122Johannes Strasse 33 III | Stuttgart | Würtemberg | 18th Septr| 91

123Dear Mr. Scudder,

  • 19 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn (1892).

124As you will have surmised – imperative reasons have interfered with the appearance of the Severn Memoirs: but at last the book is in the printer’s hands. My wife’s serious illness, and our frequent journeyings this year, together combined against my getting on with “Severn” or sending you one of the promised articles.19

  • 20 William Sharp, “Joseph Severn and His Correspondents,” Atlantic Monthly, LXVIII (Dec. 1891), pp. 73 (...)
  • 21 Richard Westmacott(1799–1872), the son of Sir Richard Westmacott, also a sculptor, was Professor of (...)
  • 22 George Richmond (1809–1896), an English painter and a member of Blake’s circle, was a fashionable p (...)
  • 23 Ruskin’s letter included his first impressions of Venice and his criticism of English artists (part (...)
  • 24 Seymour S. Kirkup (1788–1880) was a painter and one of a group of young men who were friends and di (...)

125But today I have sent you one that I think you will be pleased to have. You can call it what you like: I name it simply “A Batch of Letters”.20 I have, you will see, adopted your suggestion, and kept the explanatory text succinct as practicable. The mere fact that it contains the first letters written in Venice by the sculptor Westmacott,21 the painter Geo. Richmond R. A.,22 and by Mr. Ruskin23 – a long and important epistle – would make it interesting: but there is other readable matter. The letters of that remarkable man Seymour Kirkup24 will be read eagerly by many Americans as well as English – for he knew literally hundreds of your countrymen in the course of his long life in Italy.

  • 25 Thomas Fisher Unwin (1848–1935) founded the publishing house T. Fisher Unwin in 1882 and was a join (...)

126I think the article is not beyond the limits you gave me. If too long, you can strike out Severn’s letter etc. to Unwin’s25 at pp 17 to 17c.

127Messrs. Sampson Low Marston & Co. are to publish the book, and they have suddenly put a swift step forward and wish to get the book out in November if practicable, probably about the middle of that month or about the 25th. Hence my telegram to you today, which I would have made more explicit, but for the heavy charge: however, I daresay it will be plain to you, giving you notice, as it occurred to me that the MS. might arrive so late as to cause you inconvenience.

128I thought the book would be out early in 1892. Owing to this sudden change, and pressure, I can send off only one Severn article – so the two other magazines which wanted a “Correspondence” article must perforce go without.

129I am writing this from Germany, but I hope this letter and the MSS. will reach you with not more than a day or so’s delay than if sent from England.

  • 26 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn was published in March 1892.

130You shall hear from me further either by the same or the next post: but meanwhile I hurriedly close, so as to be sure of this one.26

131Faithfully Yours, | William Sharp

132ALS Harvard Houghton

To Horace Scudder, September 19, 1891

133Letter address: 72 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London, W.

134Johannes Strasse 33 III | Stuttgart | Wurtemberg | 19th September| 91

135Dear Mr. Scudder,

  • 27 Joseph Severn and His Correspondents” was published in the December 1891 issue of Atlantic Monthly

136Yesterday I wrote to you, and sent my MS. Batch of Letters,27 to be used, if practicable, in your November issue.

137I had not time to add that (chiefly owing to technical matters connected with illustrations, and questions of outlay etc). it was decided that the Severn Memoirs would be issued in one instead of its two bulky volumes. This involved a complete reconstruction of the book, and, as I have found to my cost, a complete reconstruction of that reconstruction. In accomplishing this I not only removed over 500 MS. pages of unnecessary though often most entertaining matter, but have practically done away with the record of Severn’s life during close on 20 years, the period which he himself thought, and in his experience undoubtedly was, the most interesting of all. This is his Consular period. It was impracticable to steer a middle course with so eventful a period and with so much interesting material to draw upon: and as it was impossible to give the record adequately I have preferred to reduce it to a few sentences, leaving it to be understood that I shall make up for this omission elsewhere. When Severn went to Rome in 1861 as Consul (for the “King of Sardinia” as well as for Great Britain), the Temporal Power was daily falling away: there was constant friction between the French and the Roman troops and citizens; in the North there were the advancing shadows of Victor Emmanuel and Cavour and “United Italy”, in the South the more ominous shadows, Garibaldi and Republicanism. In Rome itself the Pope was plotting against Italy, the Catholic Ambassadors against the Pope, Cardinal Antonelli against everybody: and in the city were daily broils, murders, and violent perturbation. Severn was an indefatigable diarist, and his daily record is unbroken all through the eventful years (a social and artistic and general as well as a political record) till that eventful year when Italy became one the Great Powers, and the Sovereign of “The United Kingdom”, though excommunicated, walked safely to and fro through the streets of Rome: when France declared war against Prussia, and the Pope decreed his own infallibility; and when, as Severn relates with half unconscious anticlimax, a lady was elected to the chair of Literature at Bologna! Nor was he a whit less scrupulous as a diarist from l870 onward till a few weeks before his death in 1879.

  • 28 A second Sharp article on Severn, “Severn’s Roman Journals,” appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in Ma (...)

138It is my intention now, therefore, to take the honey out of these diaries, and publish the matter irrespectively of my Severn Memoirs. But as I think of, in the first instance, going further back so as to include some of the striking episodes which I have been unable to interpolate in the Memoirs, it may be necessary for me to throw these “Incidents in the Life of Joseph Severn” into two sequent articles.28 However, I shall be better able to judge a week hence. You certainly shall have it or them, if you wish – though I would need to know before very long, as it would be as well to print them on the wave of new interest about Severn which will be excited by the Memoirs. I should add that the Diaries contain many gossipy amusing anecdotes.

139I have also kept out the great bulk of Chas. Armitage Brown’s letters, for separate use: and other correspondence. These I shall probably print elsewhere, unless you have any special reason for wishing to see them.

140I have not forgotten my promise to send you a copy of Severn’s portrait of Keats, and you shall have it yet.

  • 29 A Fellowe and His Wife (1892).

141I am at present in Stuttgart collaborating with Blanche Willis Howard in a novel of a new and peculiar kind – but please keep this piece of personal news strictly to yourself.29 We hope to score both a literary and a monetary success with our venture, which is nearly un fait accompli.

142It is possible (and here again I have to obtrude my claim for privacy) that I may be in Boston early in 1892, and I look forward with great pleasure to the prospect of making your acquaintanceship in person.

143With kind regards, | Yours faithfully, | William Sharp

  • 30 The Atlantic Monthly did not publish any poems by Sharp in 1891–1892.

144P.S. I enclose a poem which I wrote a short time ago. Perhaps you may give it a haven in the Atlantic M.30 If you do not care for it may I ask you to return it to me at your earliest convenience.

145ALS Harvard Houghton

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, [late September, 189131]

  • 31 Wm. Sharp, Oct 8-’91” is written in another hand at the top left of the letter’s first page. This (...)
  • 32 Again, Sharp puts his letter address in London at the top of the page.

14672 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | London W32

147Johannes Strasse 33 III | Stuttgart | Wurtemberg

148My dear Stedman,

149When I wrote to you for your birthday last year I was in Scotland somewhere – at a place called St. Margaret’s, if I remember rightly – and this time it is from South Germany, from pleasant Stuttgart. But not less cordially and affectionately than then do I send you, my dear fellow, my heartiest greetings and good wishes. If loving remembrance could keep you and your dear wife and Arthur from any avoidable ills of life you would be safe from harm. It would be unflattering as well as commonplace to say that I often think of you – for of course I do: but I would have you understand that I would at times snatch an hour for the purpose of writing to you were it not that I know your time to be so terribly exploited by correspondence – so that even letters not requiring an answer are extra burdens, however pleasant. Some time ago I nearly launched upon you a long letter, with pages of a new dramatic poem, but remembering how it would help to tire your eyes and perhaps reach you when you were busy with original work, I tore it up, or so much of it as was done.

150But I cannot let your birthday go past without a brief word. You and yours occupy a suite of rooms in the mansion of my heart – and strangers have at any time only to mention the word ‘Stedman’ and they are open to them too.

151Someday my wife and I hope to have you and your wife as welcome guests – though we are still vagrants on the face of the earth. I think I told you that after Italy we went to Provence, and thence meant to go to the Forest of Fontainebleau for the summer – but my wife became unwell, from a kind of low fever as we thought, but possibly an unpleasant kind of influenza – and so we crossed to England. A few weeks at Eastbourne set her up again. Then I went to Scotland, and we met later at York. Then we went for nearly two months to Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast: and thence at the end of August to Holland. We came to Stuttgart about three weeks ago: and shall be here till mid-October, when we go to Amsterdam for a few days and then back to England.

152I am here for a literary purpose – though please keep this news to yourself meanwhile – i. e. collaborating with our charming friend Blanch Willis Howard (von Teuffel) in a novel. It is on perfectly fresh and striking lines, and will I think attract attention. We are more than half through with it already. She is a most interesting woman, and is of that vigorous blond race of women whom Titian and the Palmas loved to paint, and whom we can see now in perfection not in Venico but at Chioggia, further down the Adriatic. But if I fall too deeply in love, it will be your fault – for it was you who introduced me to her! I told her about your birthday, and I think she is going to send you a line of greeting. We see each other for several hours daily, or nightly, and – well, literary life has its compensations! But our affectionate camaraderie is as Platonic as – say, as yours would be in a like instance: so don’t drag from its mouldy tomb that cynic smile which lies awaiting the possible resurrection of the Old Adam! Your ears must sometimes tingle as your inner sense overhears our praises of you as man and writer.

153You know of course your cognate Old-English surnames, ‘Stedman’ ‘Steadfast’ and ‘Standfast’. I have made an “epigramicle” thereon as a birthday-greeting for you. Have you ever heard the phrase “he’s stead” or “he’s a stead-man”? I fancy it lingers only in Yorkshire and perhaps the northern counties. A ‘stead-man’ is a man not to be daunted – and is distinct from ‘ steady’, which in the north means rather ‘prosperous’ or ‘financially sound’, ‘sure’.

154And now for my other piece of news – which also, by the way, I presume had better not get about for the present.

155You may see me in the latter half of January! In other words, I think of giving some lectures (so as ‘to raise the wind’ – a process urgently needful!) in America during February & perhaps the first half of March. I have heard that New York is not so “lectory” a place as other cities, so I had best leave it out of my calculations, I suppose. But I think of throwing this unparalleled and magnificent chance of intellectual development to the citizens of Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Buffalo, Albany, & perhaps elsewhere.

156It is my present intention to leave England somewhere about the 10th of January; and it depends on lecturing-circumstances whether I go first to Boston – or, as my heart prompts, to New York. If I go first to New York, may I find shelter with you for the night of my arrival & perhaps the following day?

157And now, amico mio, will you help me in this scheme if you can? A good deal depends upon my being able to carry it out – but this you will understand, as otherwise I would not go in for it.

158If you can possibly spare me time to answer the following – or if your eyes are troubling you, perhaps Arthur in the goodness of his heart may do so for you.

  1. Do you know any good lecturing-agents in whose hands I could put myself?

  2. How should I apply?

  3. I think of lecturing thrice a week, evenings. I might also lecture occasionally at some Ladies College or Institute in afternoons.

  4. Approximately, what terms should I expect?

  5. I suppose Lectures in America, as here, extend to about an hour?

159If in any way you can further my aims in this respect you will do me a material service. Could you, for instance, put me “on the lines” at Baltimore?

160Perhaps you will be able to send me a line soon – as I have many necessary arrangements to make. Here is my tentative List of Subjects: –

I. The Preraphaelite Movement in English Arts and Literature: What it was, and its influence.

II. Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Man and the Artist,

III. Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Poet, and His Circle: Theodore Watts: Wm. Bell Scott: Philip Marston: O’Shaughnessy: Oliver Madox Browne: John Payne: etc.

IV. Swinburne

V. George Meredith.

VI. The Aesthetic School: What it really means and is.

VII. Critics and Criticism.

VIII. Poets and Poetry of Today

IX. On Catholicity of Taste in Literature

X. Literary Education: What it means.

XI. Current Tendencies in Art and Literature

XII. Our Women Poets

XIII. Women as Novelists

XIV. Episodes of the Literary Life (Possibly)

161Which of these do you think likeliest to “take’ in America? In a word, suggest to me what you can.

162What a shame to land all this upon you. But your big heart will forgive & understand.

163Love to you all. | Your affectionate friend | William Sharp

164ALS Private

To Bliss Carman, October 15, 1891

165Oct. 15, 1891

166Amico Mio,

167This is only a flying p | c as I am leaving Germany to return to England.

  • 33 The Second Shadow, Being the Narrative of Jose Maria Santos y Bazan, Spanish Physician in Rome” wa (...)

168Do you remember that story “The Second Shadow”?33 If it has not perchance found a haven, please oblige me by sending it for me to Maclure (“Syndicate Maclure” – N. Y. Tribune Offices) and ask if he will buy it for his syndicate. He knows me. I think £ 5 wd. be a fair price – tho’ he may give more. It would come in well at the Xmas or New Year ‘bogey-story’ season.

169In great haste | Yours ever | William Sharp

170ACS Smith College Library

To Richard Le Gallienne, [late October, 1891]

17172 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | London | W

172My dear Mr. Le Gallienne

  • 34 The Sharps were in Stuttgart from early September to mid-October.
  • 35 Derby: Frank Murray, 1891.
  • 36 Le Gallienne married Eliza Mildred Lee on October 22, 1891.

173I have returned, for a time, from abroad34 – to find that many interesting things have happened during my absence other than those I chance to have heard of: and among them the publication of your “Bookbills of Narcissus”.35 And I might not have seen it at all, but that I have been staying with George Meredith. This morning I found your book on Miss Meredith’s table, and dipped into it with great interest. Since I came to town today I have tried to obtain a copy but in vain. If the book is not sold out, will you be so good as to send me a copy, and at the same time let me know the amount of my indebtedness. Miss Meredith also informed me that you were about to be married: perhaps by this time you already are.36 If so pray accept my cordial good wishes for you both, and for that other welfare which I know is so dear to you.

174Sincerely Yours | William Sharp

175ALS University of Texas at Austin

To H. Buxton Forman, November 6, [1891]

17616 Winchester Road | Swiss Cottage N. W. | Friday Evening | Nov. 6

177My dear Sir

  • 37 Edward John Trelawny (1792–1881) was a friend of Shelley and Byron and author of Recollections of t (...)
  • 38 Rayner Storr (1835–1917) was the author of a concordance to the Latin original of the four books kn (...)

178I find on looking at my notes that there are no Trelawny letters belonging to or in the care of Mr. Rayner Storr. I may be wrong in thinking that you said his names were rightly Edward John and that the letters you have are signed E. J. I have letters signed both E. J. and J. E. and “Edward Trelawny” – and one simply “Trelawny”.37 I enclose one signed J. E. for your inspection. Pray let me have it again at your early convenience.38

  • 39 William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898), a graduate of Eton and Oxford, dominated British politics thro (...)
  • 40 Walter Severn, Joseph Severn’s son.
  • 41 Staff members in the British Museum’s Department of Printed Books. See note to Sharp’s early Januar (...)

179If you have any notes concerning persons directly “inspired” by Keats’s writings, possibly you may be able to tell me something of the author of a romance called “Titian”; written circa 1840 (presumably). It is an interesting “Keatsian” letter – but only the first four pages have been preserved. It is dated Oxford 1844 and bears an extraordinary resemblance to Mr. Gladstone’s39 handwriting of that period: but though W. E. Gladstone did become intimate with Severn in the early ’forties there is no record of his having published any work of this kind. The Severns cannot tell me anything of the writer: the letter I found among a batch of some 20 to 30 notes by Mr. Gladstone – presumably placed there by Walter40 or someone on account of the already alluded to resemblance in handwriting. I have vainly sought for the author’s name or the book at the Brit. Museum, and with the friendly help of R. Garnett and W. A. Fortiscue.41

180Yours faithfully, | William Sharp

181ALS Brown University

To Elizabeth A. Sharp, November 9, 1891

182Grosvenor Club, | Nov. 9th, 1891.

  • 42 In the Memoir, E. A. S. prefaced this letter as follows: “The brilliant summer was followed by a da (...)

183I have been here all day and have enjoyed the bodily rest, the inner quietude, and, latterly, a certain mental uplifting. But at first I was deep down in the blues.42 Anything like the appalling gloom between two and three-thirty! I could scarcely read, or do anything but watch it with a kind of fascinated horror. It is going down to the grave indeed to be submerged in that hideous pall…. As soon as I can make enough by fiction or the drama to depend thereon we’ll leave this atmosphere of fog and this environment of deadening, crushing, paralysing death-in-life respectability. Circumstances make London thus for us: for me at least – for of course we carry our true atmosphere in ourselves – and places and towns are, in a general sense, mere accidents….

  • 43 Edmund Schérer, Essays on English Literature, trans. George Saintsbury (1891).
  • 44 Jules Breton, Life of an Artist: Art and Nature, trans. Mary J. Serrano (1891).

184I have read to-day Edmond Schérer’s Essais on Eng. Literature:43 very able though not brilliant – reread the best portions of Jules Breton’s delightful autobiography,44 which I liked so much last year… all George Moore’s New Novel, Vain Fortune.

  • 45 William Edmonstone Aytoun’s Firmillian: or, the Student of Badajoz: A Spasmodic Tragedy (1854) was (...)

185I had also a pleasant hour or so dipping into Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and other old dramatists: refreshed my forgotten acquaintanceship with that silly drama “Firmilian”:45 and, generally, enjoyed an irresponsible ramble thro’ whatever came to hand. I am now all right again and send you this little breath, this little ‘Sospiro di Guglielmo’ to give you, if perchance you need it, a tonic stimulus. No, you don’t need it!

186Memoir 192–93

To Bliss Carman, December 8, 1891

18716 Winchester Road | Swiss Cottage | London N. W. | 8 | December| 91

188My Dear Old Man

189It is with a thrill of keen pleasurable anticipation that I let you know of my speedy visit to New York: for I have taken my passage by the “Teutonic”, due to sail from Liverpool on Wedny, Jany 6th – and so may expect to be in New York City somewhere about the 12th or 13th, for I suppose the midwinter passages are about a day longer than those of the summer season.

190It will be a delight to see you again. What a lot we shall have to talk about.

191I have postponed all lecturing for this year. I am going out partly to attend to some private literary business, best seen to on the spot; partly to arrange for the bringing out in America of a play of mine which is to be produced here; and partly to get a glimpse of the many valued friends and acquaintances I have in N. Y. and Boston. I shall be in N. Y. for three weeks at any rate. Perhaps later on, say in your issue for the first week in January, you will be able to oblige me by inserting in the Independent a para to the above effect: as this would save me letting a lot of people know, and enable me to economise my limited time. My first movements when I do get to N. Y. C. are as yet uncertain: perhaps the safest address wd. be c/o Thos. A. Janvier, 20, Seventh Avenue, (although I may go direct to the Stedman’s at first).

  • 46 Charles G. D. Roberts. See note to Sharp's July 27 letter to E. C. Stedman.
  • 47 Like Bliss Carman, Clarence Winthrop Bowen (1852–1935) wrote for The Independent, and he served as (...)

192Is there any chance of old Roberts46 being in N. Y. in the middle of Jany? If you see Mr. Clarence Bowen,47 pray tell him that I look forward to seeing him again. You might add that Mrs. Coleridge was with us yesterday, and was asking after him.

193George Cotterell was much gratified by your friendly and appreciative letter, and I too thank you for it.

194Herewith I enclose two short poems which I hope you may be able to use.

195Au revoir, dear Carman,

196Yours Ever | William Sharp

197P.S. My long delayed “Severn” is at last practically off my hands, and will be pubd. in the latter part of Jany.

198ALS, Pierpont Morgan Library

To Catherine Janvier, [December?, 1891]

  • 48 Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy (1881) and Sospiri di Roma (1891). This “new imaginative wor (...)

199You will be the first to hear my new imaginative work. Although in a new method, it is inherently more akin to “Romantic Ballads” than to “Sospiri”, but it is intense dramatic prose.48 There is one in particular I wish to read you – three weeks from now…. Do you not long for the warm days – for the beautiful living pulsing South? This fierce cold and gloom is mentally benumbing…. Yes you are right: there are few women and perhaps fewer men who have the passion of Beauty – of the thrilling ecstasy of life.

200Memoir 193

To Horace Scudder, [? early December, 1891]

20172 Inverness Terrace | London W.

202I enclose as a “Xmas Card” the long promised photo of Keats, after the drawing by Severn which he regarded as the truest likeness of the poet.

203Dear Mr. Scudder,

  • 49 The December 1891 number of The Atlantic Monthly contained Sharp’s “Joseph Severn and His Correspon (...)

204Your foresight proved correct – for the December number of the Atlantic Monthly has been out some time, and the Severn Memoirs are as yet unborn.49 The trouble over the illustrations, and the need to include some important early-period matter, necessitated unexpected delay: and a week or so ago it was decided that the book should be held over till sometime in January. I hope the article has interested your American public: that in this country seems very appreciative. Let me acknowledge again with many thanks the cheque duly remitted to me a short time ago.

205The publishers seem to expect a large demand for the book – and in America two leading firms have, I understand, applied for ‘an edition’. I am as sorry as the Severns, and other friends and interested persons, at the necessity I have been under of giving the purest bird’s-eye-view of Severn’s consular years in Rome – but it was imperative that I should

206avoid entering upon so large and complex a part of his life. There was no course between extreme constriction and adequate detail – and the latter was impossible owing to the scheme of the Memoir as finally arranged. However, I may write a supplementary volume.

  • 50 This article became “Severn’s Roman Journals” which appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in May 1892.
  • 51 John Ruskin, Praeterita: Outlines of Scenes and Thoughts Perhaps Worthy of Memory in My Past Life, (...)

207If practicable, within the next fortnight or 3 weeks I shall send you the promised “Unpublished Incidents in the Life of Joseph Severn” (or such title as you prefer).50 I am glad there is a chance of these reminiscences appearing in a conspicuous place – for it appears that many people both in America and here are mainly anticipating the record of Severn’s consular life (partly, no doubt, after Ruskin’s splendid eulogium of him in Praeterita51) – which is, so far as the book is concerned, regrettable.

208I hope to leave for America (this time without my wife, I regret to say) on the 6th of January, by the Teutonic; due at New York somewhere about the 13th. I have postponed lecturing till another year: and am coming out only to visit some friends, and to attend to some private matters of my own. I expect to be about three weeks in New York in all, and, if practicable, a week in Boston. Indeed, I should go there if only to have the pleasure of making your acquaintanceship in person, if you are certain to be there. If business or pleasure should take you to New York in January (after 14th), and you could afford me the pleasure of an interview, I could always be heard of (if not found at!) E. C. Stedman’s or at Thos. Janvier’s, 20, Seventh Avenue.

209With cordial Greetings for Xmas and the Coming Year –

210Sincerely Yours, | William Sharp

211ALS Harvard Houghton

To Horace Scudder, December 29, 1891

21272 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | 29th Dec| 91

213Dear Mr. Scudder,

  • 52 The proposed double article became one article: “Severn’s Roman Journals,” Atlantic Monthly, May 18 (...)

214Fortunately I have been able before my departure for America to complete the double-article comprising excerpts from the Roman diaries of Joseph Severn.52

215I found it wd. be impracticable to cover the whole period (186l–l879), so chose the most eventful, that of the decade (1860–1870) wherein the Papal Temporal Dominion collapsed. All the matter I send you is untouched in my book (for which already, I am glad to say, there is a great demand in advance) and otherwise unpublished – with the exception of Baron Bunsen’s letter given at page 1a. This, it seems to me, shd. be retained: but as you will.

216I have done my utmost to restrict the length to your article-limit. The complete MS. represents, so far as I can calculate, from 15,000 to l6,000 words. Probably one article of 7,500 words and one of 8,000 wd. represent it. (I think the inset marginalia shd. be retained?)

  • 53 Meaning “potpourri”.
  • 54 Giacomo Antonelli (1806–1876) was premier of the first constitutional ministry of Pius XI.
  • 55 John Gibson (1790–1866) was an English neo-classicist sculptor who spent most of his life in Rome.
  • 56 Friedrich Oberbeck (1789–1869) was a German painter who made extensive use of religious symbolism a (...)
  • 57 Charlotte Saunders Cushman (1816–1876) was a well-known and popular American actress who lived and (...)
  • 58 Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908), an American sculptor and poet, studied under John Gibson in Rome.

217But I leave you a free hand to curtail when you think advisable. I have endeavoured to compile a generally interesting Olla Podrida53 – as a purely political-excerpt article wd. be heavy perhaps. The personalia about Cardinal Antonelli,54 John Gibson,55 Oberbeck,56 the Americans Miss Cushman57 and Miss Hosmer58 etc. etc. come in well, I daresay you will agree with me.

218I leave here next Wednesday (6th) per “Teutonic” and expect to be in New York by the 12th or 13th at latest. My letter-address there is c/o Mr. Tho. A. Janvier, 20, Seventh Avenue, N. Y. City.

219In haste, and with all good wishes for 1892,

220Cordially Yours, | William Sharp

221P.S. I have not divided the article, leaving this to you to decide. The title, by the way, can be whatever you like.

222The Severn book is ready – and will probably be issued circa Jany 20th.

223M. S. by Registered Book-Post Herewith.

224William Sharp

225ALS Harvard Houghton

Notes

1 Richard Garnett(1835–1906,) English librarian and author, entered the British Museum in 1851 as an assistant and rose to be superintendent of the reading-room in 1875. From 1890 to 1899, when he retired, he was the Keeper of Printed Books (or Chief Librarian), a post his father held for many years. He also wrote and published extensively. Among his publications were biographies of Carlyle (1887,) Emerson (1887), Milton (1890), Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1898); a volume of original, fanciful tales, The Twilight of the Gods (1888); a tragedy, Iphigenia in Delphi (1890); A Short History of Italian Literature (1898); and Essays of an Ex-librarian (1901).

2 Elihu Vedder (1836–1923), a painter and illustrator of considerable merit, was born in New York of Dutch ancestry. Having decided to become an artist, he went to Europe to study and fell in love with Italy. He lived most of his life in Rome where he became a central figure in the expatriate life of the city. He is best known for his illustrations for the Rubaiyet of Omar Khayyam, the first edition of which was published with the poem in 1884 and sold out in six days.

3 Probably “Lilith,” a prose outline of which he read to Elizabeth on January 9 (Memoir 176).

4 Paris Nocturne” was printed in the December 25, 1890, issue.

5 On January 8, 1891, Sharp wrote in his diary: “After dinner copied out ‘Rebirth’ (Spring’s Advent) to send to Belford’s, and ‘The Sheik’ for The Independent” (Memoir 175). Neither poem was accepted for publication, but Elizabeth included “Spring’s Advent” in her 1910 edition of the poems Sharp published under his own name. “The Sheik” remains a mystery. Sharp wrote a poem titled “The Sheik (A Portrait from Life)” in El Ah’bra, Morocco when he and Elizabeth visited North Africa in January/February, 1893. That poem, perhaps because of its homoerotic shadings, appears to exist only in a fair copy manuscript in private hands.

6 Elizabeth Sharp stayed in Rome until mid-March and then went to Florence (Memoir 181). Sharp stayed in Rome through the end of March to oversee the final proofing of Sospiri di Roma.

7 Sharp is commenting on the critical reception of Sospiri di Roma (1891).

8 Coulson Kernahan (1858–1953) was a writer of fiction, criticism, recollections, and imaginative and religious studies who co-edited, with Frederick Locker-Lampson, Lyra Elegantiarum (1891), a standard anthology of light verse. His works include A Dead Man’s Diary (1890), Wise Men and a Fool (1901), In Good Company (1917), Swinburne as I Knew Him (1919), and Six Famous Living Poets (1926).

9 Charles G. D. Roberts. See note to Sharp's letter to E. C. Stedman dated July 27, 1889.

10 Walter Severn (1830–1904,) a painter, was the son of Joseph Severn, also a painter and a friend of John Keats. Severn in 1885 asked Sharp to write a biography of his father and, when Sharp agreed, loaned him a large trove of papers by and about Joseph Severn, including unpublished manuscripts and letters. For additional information about Sharp’s Severn biography, see Memoir 168 and note to Sharp’s December 1885 letter to Edward Dowden. Sharp wrote most of his Life and Letters of Joseph Severn in the summer of 1891, finishing it at the end of August, and it was published in March 1892 by Sampson Low & Co. in London and Charles Scribner’s Sons in New York. On August 24, 1891, he had lunch with Joseph Severn’s youngest brother, Charles Severn, who was 86 years old. Charles confirmed what he had told Sharp the previous September that Keats composed his Nightingale ode after spending a night under a tree in Hampstead listening to the bird’s song (Memoir 186).

11 The Second Shadow: Being the Narrative of Jose Maria Santos y Bazan, Spanish Physician in Rome” was accepted by Bliss Carman and published in The Independent on August 25, 1892.

12 The Sharps went to Stuttgart so he could collaborate with Blanche Willis Howard on A Fellowe and His Wife.

13 The salutation and content of this letter indicate clearly it was addressed to Bliss Carman.

14 Charles G. D. Roberts. See note to Sharp's letter to E. C. Stedman of July 27, 1889.

15 I have been unable to identify this person.

16 Edmund and Laura Stedman; Catharine and Thomas A. Janvier.

17 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn appeared in March 1892.

18 The White Gull” (1892) is an elegy subtitled “For the Centenary of the Birth of Shelley.”

19 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn (1892).

20 William Sharp, “Joseph Severn and His Correspondents,” Atlantic Monthly, LXVIII (Dec. 1891), pp. 736–48.

21 Richard Westmacott(1799–1872), the son of Sir Richard Westmacott, also a sculptor, was Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy from 1857 to 1867 and was a well-known writer and lecturer on art.

22 George Richmond (1809–1896), an English painter and a member of Blake’s circle, was a fashionable portrait painter.

23 Ruskin’s letter included his first impressions of Venice and his criticism of English artists (particularly those of the Royal Academy) and English art: “It isn’t of any use to try and do anything for such an age as this. We are a different race altogether from the men of old time: we live in drawing-rooms instead of deserts, and work by the light of chandeliers instead of volcanoes” (p. 740, see note 2).

24 Seymour S. Kirkup (1788–1880) was a painter and one of a group of young men who were friends and disciples of William Blake. Later he settled in Italy and became a leader of Anglo-American literary society in Florence where he spent most of his life.

25 Thomas Fisher Unwin (1848–1935) founded the publishing house T. Fisher Unwin in 1882 and was a joint founder of the First Council of the Publishing Association.

26 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn was published in March 1892.

27 Joseph Severn and His Correspondents” was published in the December 1891 issue of Atlantic Monthly.

28 A second Sharp article on Severn, “Severn’s Roman Journals,” appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in May 1892, 631–44.

29 A Fellowe and His Wife (1892).

30 The Atlantic Monthly did not publish any poems by Sharp in 1891–1892.

31 Wm. Sharp, Oct 8-’91” is written in another hand at the top left of the letter’s first page. This is the date of Stedman’s birthday and indicates approximately when the letter was received. Sharp regularly wrote birthday letters to Stedman after they met in New York in the summer of 1889, and many have survived. Also written in pencil on the top left of the first page: “J. B. Pond–show him” and “For Dr. Lambert from L. S. Y. [?].”

32 Again, Sharp puts his letter address in London at the top of the page.

33 The Second Shadow, Being the Narrative of Jose Maria Santos y Bazan, Spanish Physician in Rome” was published in The Independent, 44 (August 25, 1892), 1205ff.

34 The Sharps were in Stuttgart from early September to mid-October.

35 Derby: Frank Murray, 1891.

36 Le Gallienne married Eliza Mildred Lee on October 22, 1891.

37 Edward John Trelawny (1792–1881) was a friend of Shelley and Byron and author of Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron (1858).

38 Rayner Storr (1835–1917) was the author of a concordance to the Latin original of the four books known as De Imitation Christi: Given to the World A. D. 1441, by Thomas a Kempis: With full contextual quotations by Rayner Storr (1910).”

39 William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898), a graduate of Eton and Oxford, dominated British politics throughout the century. As head of the Liberal Party, he first served as Prime Minister in 1868–74.

40 Walter Severn, Joseph Severn’s son.

41 Staff members in the British Museum’s Department of Printed Books. See note to Sharp’s early January 1891 letter to Garnett.

42 In the Memoir, E. A. S. prefaced this letter as follows: “The brilliant summer was followed by a damp and foggy autumn. My husband’s depression increased with the varying of the year. While I was on a visit to my mother he wrote to me, after seeing me in the morning.” Following the letter, she wrote: “His health was so seriously affected by the fogs that it became imperative that he should get into purer air so he decided to fulfill his intention of going to New York even though he had been forced to relinquish all ideas of lecturing.” He began planning this trip to the United States when he was in Germany in September. See Sharp’s late September 1891 letter to E. C. Stedman.

43 Edmund Schérer, Essays on English Literature, trans. George Saintsbury (1891).

44 Jules Breton, Life of an Artist: Art and Nature, trans. Mary J. Serrano (1891).

45 William Edmonstone Aytoun’s Firmillian: or, the Student of Badajoz: A Spasmodic Tragedy (1854) was published under the pseudonym, T. Percy Jones.

46 Charles G. D. Roberts. See note to Sharp's July 27 letter to E. C. Stedman.

47 Like Bliss Carman, Clarence Winthrop Bowen (1852–1935) wrote for The Independent, and he served as publisher of that paper from 1896–1912. He was also an historian, his most famous work being The History of the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington as First President of the United States (D. Appleton, and the Committee on the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of Washington as President, New York: 1892), a beautiful book designed in part by the architect Stanford White and a monument of New York’s gilded age. Bowen was one of the principal founders of the American Historical Association in 1884.

48 Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy (1881) and Sospiri di Roma (1891). This “new imaginative work” was the brief dramatic sketches Sharp published in 1894 as Vistas (Derbyshire, Moray Press). In his diary for October 1891 (Memoir 190–91), Sharp mentions that he has completed two “Dramatic Interludes” (“Northern Night” and “The Birth of a Soul”) and has begun “The Passion of Manuel van Hoëk.” All three works appeared in Vistas, the latter under the title “The Passion of Pere Hilarion.”

49 The December 1891 number of The Atlantic Monthly contained Sharp’s “Joseph Severn and His Correspondents.”

50 This article became “Severn’s Roman Journals” which appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in May 1892.

51 John Ruskin, Praeterita: Outlines of Scenes and Thoughts Perhaps Worthy of Memory in My Past Life, 3 vols. (1885–1900).

52 The proposed double article became one article: “Severn’s Roman Journals,” Atlantic Monthly, May 1892.

53 Meaning “potpourri”.

54 Giacomo Antonelli (1806–1876) was premier of the first constitutional ministry of Pius XI.

55 John Gibson (1790–1866) was an English neo-classicist sculptor who spent most of his life in Rome.

56 Friedrich Oberbeck (1789–1869) was a German painter who made extensive use of religious symbolism and initiated a Pre-Raphaelite movement in Germany.

57 Charlotte Saunders Cushman (1816–1876) was a well-known and popular American actress who lived and traveled in London and Rome in the 1850s and 1860s.

58 Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908), an American sculptor and poet, studied under John Gibson in Rome.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 9. Blanche Willis Howard, in F. E. Willard, A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in all Walks of Life (Buffalo, N. Y.: Moulton, 1893), p. 735, Wikipedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:BLANCHE_WILLIS_HOWARD_VON_TEUFFEL._A_woman_of_the_century_(page_745_crop).jpg
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