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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, November 1, 1905

Burlington Hotel.Burlington Hotel, 30 Old Burlington Street in Westminster, London. W.

All Saints day.

Dear Mildred.

Your letter came the other day, and really I could not suggest a nicer anniversary gift than the sonnet. I go to sleep with the line

“Fire winged, and make a morning in his mirth”From the 1818 sonnet “To Spenser” by John Keats (1795–1821); the line refers to the rising of Apollo, the god of the sun, to dispel the night of winter. Edmund Spenser (ca. 1552–1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene.

in my mind.

By now the wedding of my stepfather will be an accomplished fact.Josiah Huntington Quincy married Mary Honey on November 1, 1905, in New York City. I cabled to them with my usual degree of sincerity on my way back from Mass this morning. Do not gather that I am not very pleased. I am. I think it is very well for Edmund’s sake—and frankly I think J. Q. might quite conceivably have done worse—in fact, I was afraid he would at one time, and it’s a load off my mind. If you don’t object I would suggest that you burn this letter soon, as I feel that there may be even worse things to follow. By all means write me an account of the wedding—a long letter—but don’t feel obliged to stick to that subject.

Last night I saw Bernard Shaw’sGeorge Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), an Irish playwright. “Man and Superman”Man and Superman, a four-act drama by George Bernard Shaw; the play was written in 1903, partly in response to those who had questioned why he had never written a play based on the theme of Don Juan. The play opened at the Royal Court Theatre in London on May 23, 1905, without the performance of the third act, "Don Juan in Hell." very well done at the Little Court Theatre,Royal Court Theatre, a non-commercial theater on Sloane Square in London; the theater opened in 1888 as the New Court Theatre and was also known as the Little Court Theatre. the only theatre in London to which I extend my patronage. I see they don’t consider “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”Mrs. Warren’s Profession was written by George Bernard Shaw in 1893. a nice play in New York.“Shaw Play Arouses New Haven Audience; Some Lines in ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’ Start Protests; M’Adoo Considering Action; Arnold Daly, After New Haven Opening, to Come Here Monday—Safe on First Night,” New York Times, October 28, 1905. Some of the press opinions were very curious I thought.

I am here for only a few days, to collect a few pieces of furniture and a boy to come and prevent me from getting too queer by living alone. He is a poet—the one who wanted me to go to India with him—and is at present rotting in the most frightful family circle imaginable in Kensington. He was with me in Italy this Spring,See also letter of January 12, 1906. which gave me some idea of how we would get on together. I have a tale for you of your dosing, or rather two tales, one of which I think will interest you, perhaps much. It does me. It’s too good for this paper.

Your letter was sadly deflective. Why couldn’t you give me at least some hints of when we are going to meet? I hope I have not got to come to America again. I would like to come and go to Sharon and come back, but I fear the rest more and more every day. Also, if you are coming over soon I hope we may play together somewhere, and I am in the painful necessity of saving up to play. I am in debt and must live quietly in Paris to pay it off—not much—but it is time to stop it. I don’t mind it as I know you would. I am too hardened. But it would be unfortunate if I had to accustom myself to dunns [sic].

Your cooperative individuality is very grateful to me—only what misery not to be able to talk of it. I am as much at sea as ever, but I think better than a year ago. It would have sealed my doom had I shirked going to Germany. I am looking round greedily for some other disagreeable thing.

I blushed with shame when you recalled our brief conversation about Marcel SchwobMarcel Schwob (1867–1905), a French writer. See also letters of September 1, 1905; October 10, 1905; April 11, 1906; and September 1, 1906. at Bayreuth.Royall Tyler and Mildred Barnes and their mothers were together in Bayreuth, Germany, in 1902. See Autobiography (2:36). He is curiously sympathetic to me at moments, more than anyone sometimes. With some parts of “Le Livre de Monelle,”Marcel Schwob, Le livre de Monelle (Paris: L. Chailley, 1894) I truly could infer the next three sentences the first time I read it without a mistake.

I will see about your books in Paris with much pleasure. I should like some letters very much. How about your Dominican fatherFather Dufayet, a Dominican priest of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul in New York City. See Thérèse Vianzone, Impressions d’une Française en Amérique (États-Unis et Canada) (Paris: Plon-Nourrit, 1906), 218. of whom you wrote me some time ago?See letter of June 14, 1904. I would like to meet him.

The music at the new CathedralProbably Saint Paul's Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1677 and 1697 in London. here is splendid. I went to Mass and to VespersEvening prayer. today. They only do GregorianGregorian chant, a form of monophonic liturgical music in western Christianity that accompanies the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. It is named after Pope Gregory I, the bishop of Rome between 590 and 604. and PalestrinaGiovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525/1526–1594), an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music. & Co. I enjoy that enormously. Beside that I like what the Germans call Kammermusik,"Chamber music." Beethoven,Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), a German composer and pianist. Mozart,Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), a German composer. ect. [sic], Schubert,Franz Peter Schubert (1797–1828), an Austrian composer. SchumannRobert Schumann (1810–1856), a German composer. very much and I can trust you to understand what ChopinFrédéric François Chopin (1810–1849), a Polish composer and pianist. does to my feeble poise. Other music I don’t care for and Opera I abhor. As for the modern French, with a man called Reynaldo HahnReynaldo Hahn (1875–1947), a naturalized French composer, conductor, and music critic. at the head of a School,Although often considered an archetypal French composer of the earlier twentieth century, Reynaldo Hahn was neither the leader of a movement nor a teacher. who set my VerlainePaul Verlaine (1844–1896), a French poet associated with the Symbolists. to their accursed things, I am curiously bitter about them. When we meet we will talk of hothouses and of the propriety of saying Baudelaire,Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), a French poet. Verlaine, de BussyClaude-Achille Debussy (1862–1918), a French composer. & Cie.

Have you seen the just published thing of TaineHippolyte Adolphe Taine (1828–1893), a French critic and historian. wherein he speaks of Victor HugoVictor-Marie Hugo (1802–1885), a French writer. as no better than a lunatic?Hippolyte Taine’s H. Taine: Sa vie et sa correspondance was published in three volumes between 1902 and 1905. In the third volume (L’Historien, 1870–1875), which was published in 1905, Taine wrote: “[S]es [Hugo] Contemplations, la Légende des Siècles sont un mélange de folie et de parade, et rien ne me déplait aussi fort que les charlatans mystiques.” ("His Contemplations, the Légende des Siècles are a mixture of madness and show, and nothing displeases me as much as mystical charlatans.") The editor of the review in which this was published got very frightened at the ghosts he was raising and deprecated in this tone “un esprit avisé verrait ici le contraste fondamental qui existe entre le tempérament critique et le poétique.”“A wise mind will see here the fundamental contrast that exists between the critical and the poetic temperament.”

I have been reading of late Leonardo da Vinci’sLeonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), an Italian polymath, perhaps best known as an artist. book on painting.Leonardo da Vinci’s Treatise on Painting was first printed in Italian and French in 1651. It is amazing. Modern as anyone, and divinely direct. He says “the painter has two things to paint, the man and his soul . . . the latter must be expressed through the movements and gestures of the limbs and should be studied in deaf mutes, who do it better than others.”Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting, chapter 180.

I have also been reading Albrecht Dürer’sAlbrecht Dürer (1471–1528), a German painter and printmaker. poems and the diary of his journey to the Low Countries.Albrecht Dürer's Tagebuch der Reise in die Niederlande, was written ca. 1520–1521. Very strange it is—especially the poems—almost all devotional. Please be merciful and tell me your plans. I am very impatient. Two Americans, a professor and a student from Cornell are studying at Salamanca.Everett Ward Olmsted (1869–1943) and Arthur Gordon (b. 1882). See M. Thomas Inge, “Unamuno's Correspondence with North Americans: A Checklist,” Hispania 53, no. 2 (May, 1970): 277–85; and Manuel García-Blanco, “Unamuno and the United States,” Unamuno Centennial Studies, ed. Ramón Martínez-López (Austin: Department of Romance Languages, University of Texas, 1966), 77–79. Unamuno is learning to speak English (!) from them. He is writing a book on “El amor de Dios.”Tratado del amor de Dios, written in 1905–1908 but never published. I am uneasy that they should have come there, but scandalously conceited that before I went, no white man had set foot in those wastes.

Yours sincerely

Royall Tyler.

P. S. I am off again. The Scoundrel, who has been away since we went to Spain in July, has at last written to me—from Athens. He has spent the summer raiding in Macedonia with a band of Bulgarians and Macedonian malcontents. He now goes to Bagdad with Lyulph Howard’s crazy cousin Aubrey Hubert [sic],Aubrey Nigel Henry Molyneux Herbert (1880–1923), a British diplomat and intelligence officer who was appointed honorary attaché in Constantinople in 1904–1905. attaché at Constantinople, who can’t see across the street, and goes hunting wild bears in their dens. His Greek servant frightens the English peasants out of their wits by entering the local pub and doing a sword dance on the table. He can’t speak a word of anything, and is wanted for murder by all the Balkan Govts.

They have at last put a WhistlerJames Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), an American-born artist based in Britain. in the Nat. Gal. and have spelt his name wrong on the label, and put him in the British school.James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Blue and Gold (Old Battersea Bridge), ca. 1872–1875, was presented to the National Gallery of British Art (now the Tate Collection, N01959) in 1905, following the first public appeal of the Art Fund. The Salon d’automneSalon d'Automne (Autumn Salon), an annual exhibition in Paris begun in 1903. The salon was organized as a reaction to the conservative policies of the official Paris Salon. is unusually interesting, in the first place a big room with some 35 ManetsÉdouard Manet (1832–1883), a French painter. and equal number of Ingres,Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780–1867), a French painter. nothing else! Then some hundreds of Hokusai.Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), a Japanese artist. Good Persian tapestries and some Rafaelli’sJean-François Raffaelli (1850–1924), a French artist. that I am not averse to. Valloton [sic],Félix Edouard Vallotton (1865–1925), a Swiss artist. who promised much, has gone to blazes, and RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), a French artist. is become conventionally outré.“Excessive.” They are much better than the Salon,The Salon was the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris. The salon began in 1725. however. It is rather absurd to tell you I believe in Manet at the tail end of a letter. You see it is imperative that we meet soon. There is so much preliminary work to be got through before we can even start, and there is an addition to it every day, or should be.

 
Associated Things: Anniversary; Autobiography

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