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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/4a-vii
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date19 January 1888
Address FromAlassio, Italy
Address To8 St Albans Place, Blackburn, Lancashire
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 129; Rive 1987: 134-5; Draznin 1992: 439-40
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. This letter has been dated by reference to an associated envelope and its postmark, which also provides the address it was sent to. The paragraph beginning 'You mustn't pitch' down to Schreiner?s signature is written on a small scrap of paper. The final insertion is on the back of the envelope.
4Fisher Unwin has sent me K P’s book. I am pretty well satisfied with
5it. The power of the book lies in its stimulating quality. That is the
6power which it has. It is the peculiarity of Pearson’s mind that he
7stimulates almost to agony; it is not at all the result of my knowing
8him that makes me feel this, it was this quality which attracted me to
9him. Someone has said that the power of stimulating thought ^& feeling^
10is the power of genius. Only genius can do it, but all genius
11doesn’t do it. Mill does, Spencer doesn’t to the same extent.
12Geothe does; Shiller does not at all. Whitman & Browning do, Tennyson
13does not at all. I personally prize the stimulaters most, I like a
14book you can only read a few pages of & then you have to throw it down
15you have so many thoughts of your own. I have never fully analyzed
16what this stimulating power is but it is possibly only
18^to a very complex nature, & is the result of their seeing things with
19something of that wonderful real complexity that exists in life. If I
20were dieing Pearson could stimulate me into getting up to work. This
21is his power, this is his value & the curious thing is he never
22understands it himself.^
24You mustn’t pitch into Pearson because every one will charge into
25him now! Keep my copy of Freethought till I tell you what to do with it
27Pough! only a fortnight I thought long. I haven’t got any money now
28so I can’t get the things, stockings &c. but my brothers will
29perhaps send me £5 on my birthday & then you can bring the things
30with you. The old ladys here say I wear rags. It’ll be nice in
31Australian Tyrol. Living will
33^be so cheap there. I am going to borrow £5 from Carpenter to try he
34write my book.^
38^Return inclosed letter sometime. The dreams are quite too, too, too.^
The 'inclosed letter' is no longer attached. 'KP's book' is: Karl Pearson (1888) The Ethic of Freethought London: T. Fisher Unwin. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive's (1987) version is taken from Cronwright-Schreiner. Cronwright-Schreiner's 1924) extract is incorrect in various ways and also includes material from a different letter.