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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: S.C. Cronwright-Schreiner SMD 30/33/g
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date24 November 1906
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. ('Cron') Cronwright-Schreiner
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National English Literary Museum (NELM) 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 by an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Matjesfontein from mid October to late December 1906. The start of the letter is missing.
1 [page/s missing] interested in the abnormal - not the exceptional, but
2diseased. His works ought to be called "the pathology of sex". It is
3not a study of sex in its healthy, common life giving manifestations,
4but of the diseases & perversions to which sex is, like all all other
5parts of our nature, liable.
6
7 I wrote to Ellis some time ago suggesting he should write a book or
8one or two books on sex in its normal, beautiful manifestations. Show
9for instance the wonderful effect of sex love in stimulating & raising
10the intellectual faculties, as in the case of the Brownings who pboth
11produced nearly all their best & greatest work during their intensely
12happy married life, & Mills case & a great many others. Also to
13showrite on the strange & beautiful blending of maternal feeling with
14sexual love - in almost all normal women when they have been married
15to a man a few years. (Ellis quotes a little bit of a letter of mine
16on this subject in this book) There are numbers of like subjects
17connected with sex of immense interest. But Ellis would have none of
18it. These things he said didn't interest him, they were not what he
19was trying to get at!! To me study of sex in its higher manifestations,
20 where it becomes in men & women the stimulus to noblest self
21sacrifice & the highest intellectual activity, is far more interesting
22than the fact that a certain unhappy abnormal man is only in love with
23the digestive organs of dogs! But with Ellis it is just the other way.
24To a certain extent Ellis is a true decadent; that is why he has a
25sympathy with Oscar Wildes writings & Symonds &c which I never can
26have.
27
28 ^NB Perhaps Burger would take a share in the paper? If he was
29interested in it he would help to get it taken in the Hanover district.^
30
31 Don't you think dear one, you might perhaps ?while the workmen are
32about have another coat of whitewash put on the roof. It must be
33wearing rather thin as it was not put on the right way (standing in a
34wooden cask for some time & being continually stirred). I which I I
35wish knew exactly the right proportions of salt & quicklime.
36
37 I enclose 1/- in stamps. Please buy Old Party some eggs. I fancy they
38are rather dear now, & feed her up on them. She's getting old dear, &
39needs extra feeding up to keep up her strength. I fancy I see her
40eating the raw eggs!
41
42 Your Bratje
43
44
45
Notation
Enclosed with this letter is a sheet of paper on which, in Cronwright-Schreiner's writing, is a now missing part of Schreiner's letter: '(you are profoundly right). There is Ellis's character, with all its beauty, truth, nobility and many wonderfully many-sided intellectuality, a strong element of abnormality. I felt it from the first day I met him; he never denied it; & we have often discussed it. He is only interested [ends]'.