"Small Schreiner expected by Will & Fan, many London friends" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/36
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date31 January 1889
Address FromHotel du Parc, Mentone, France
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 148
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the Sheffield Archives, Sheffield Libraries, Archives and Information Services, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Archive Collections. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Hotel du Parc
2 Mentone
4 Thank you, Edward, I know you write just for my sake. Thank you.
6 You are entirely wrong about me, how people have got the idea that I
7retouch & overwork my work I can’t make out! My great fault as
8writer is that I cannot bear to re- touch, even to reread anything
9when once I have written it. I have three novels, two other books, a
10whole box of dreams, all dashed off & then never looked at again. Take
11my novel From Man to Man; for 9 years I have not touched or not opened
12or looked at any, but the first chapters. The My fault is that I shall
13go on producing producing producing, & finishing off nothing in such a
14shape that I can present it to the world. If my ambition could wake up
15again it would be different, but its quite dead, it seems to me I
16can’t rouse it. I write for myself & to myself. This is the secret
17of my work as an artist. The very thought that I shall have to publish
18seems to seems to kill out my power of work. This is why Karl Pearson
19was so good for me. Just for a little time while I was near him, he
20woke up my ambition, that is, my wish to express myself to others. He
21never taught me anything, he never sympathized with me, he just did
22that for him me! I must think & I must produce as long as I live, but
23that is for my self. It is against this feeling that I have to fight.
24I know what I am & what I can do, what does it matter to me what any
25other person says? That’s ^unreadable people^ I’ve just finished a
26beautiful dream (to me). Well, why should I sit & write it out now?
27The only reason I go on writing ^out^ at all now is because I want to
28get a lot of money to help other people to do their work. Oh, I live
29other peoples work. I feel ambitious about that.
31 Olive
33 ^Yes, at heart you & I are at one on that question of the intellect;
34you will see if ever I publish one of my novels that we are; but I
35would like the qualification given.^
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.