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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/510
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter DateApril 1912
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Brown nee Solomon
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 305
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner extract, which is part of its Special Collections. This typescripted and dated extract from a letter to Mary Brown was produced by Cronwright-Schreiner using original letters when he was preparing The Life... (1924) and The Letters of Olive Schreiner (1924). With a few exceptions, the original letters in his possession were then destroyed, as with many Schreiner letters he had been given by Mary Brown. However, when Schreiner’s originals can be compared, this shows his extracts to be severely shortened, and/or inaccurate in sometimes minor but sometimes major respects, while their frequent multiple dates (eg. 8-15 August, or August) indicate that he often combined a number of original letters, among other bowdlerisations and intrusions as well as deletions. Consequently the status of the Cronwright-Schreiner Extracts is that they are artifacts of his editorial practices, rather than being ‘Olive Schreiner letters’ as such. While this surviving Mary Brown extract is affected by the same problems, it is provided for the sake of completeness. However, it should be read and used with considerable caution for the reasons spelled out here.
1 …It is strange how slowly hope dies. If one can only accept and die
2gamely. After all it has been wonderfully beautiful for us to be alive,
3 has it not, dear? To have loved so many things & enjoyed nature so
4much, we have lived…