"Put 'She wrote 'Peter Halket'' on my grave" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/OliveSchreinerLetters/OS-JohnHodgson/55
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date7 December 1915
Address From30 St Mary Abbotts Terrace, Kensington, London
Address To
Who ToJohn Hodgson
Other Versions
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. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. The addressee is implicit.
130 St Mary Abbotts Terrace
4Thanks, but I don’t care for going to lectures as a rule. I’d rather
5read what people have to say at home. You can’t understand what I mean
6about criticism. If people want criticism of ^their^ poetry or works of
7art – then they ought to destroy them. If a man feels the Gods have
8given him a word, to say, however poor & weak it may seem to others to
9him it is sacred & beautiful. The stories & poems I wrote at 9 years
10old were just as truly the expression of my heart as any I should
11write today If other people don’t like them so much the worse for them.
12 When have I ever set up to be a critic! I am very poor, but if I were
13offered £900 a year to read & criticize other peoples work^s^ I wouldn’t
14take it the post! Ask me to tell you a funny story about men coming to
15read me their poems, if ever we meet!
17When a thing is done & published, if I like it, I might write to tell
18the author so, but thats not criticism, its approval. With regard to
19the little poem I sent you, its the last verse I think so superb. It’s
20that that breakes me down & makes me cry every time I read it. When I
21had read it through once that last verse was imprinted on my memory so,
22 that I could never forget it, however long I lived! As the words came
23to the heart of Barry Pain, so they ca ring in mine. I think you make
24the very curious mistake of thinking people produce art by thinking,
25it is born in them, in their hearts,
27^not even to please dear beautiful Miss Wickam will I read what she writes
29Yours ever
32^Dot & Ursula have just come back from France for a holiday^
Which particular volume, if any, by the much published Barry Pain is being referred to by Schreiner is unclear, but she was probably making a joke, as Pain specialised in copious quantities of humorous verse.