"Great meerkat attack on Dutch parson" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/498
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter DateJune 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 301-2
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Havelock Ellis.
2De Aar (? June).
3
4No, dear, I don't think it's because Ibsen wrote in a small country,
5or amid a simple life, that his plays lack something. It's because his
6persons are so often types, not individuals; they are not real. The
7woman in Ghosts is the most real. I think that's what one feels the
8want of, just as in much of Sir Walter Scott's writing - they are
9types; though Eardly Hendry and his old mother and many other of the
10poor persons are persons and no types, and so splendid. I don't think
11Ibsen ever loved any of his characters really, so you don't love them;
12they were only pegs on which to hang actions and ideas, they weren't
13real men and women to him. Like Bernard Shaw's uninteresting men and
14women, you wouldn't care at any moment if the whole lot were drowned.
15Shakespeare felt his characters - they lived for him, and so did
16Euripides.
17