"Eleanor Marx's death" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/469
Epistolary Type
Letter Date22 October 1907
Address FromDe Aar, Nothern Cape
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 274
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 Mrs. Francis Smith.
2De Aar, 22nd Oct.
4... The most important event of my childhood was the birth of a little
5sister, and my love for her has shaped all my life. It was her death,
6when I was about nine, which first made me realise the falsity of what
7I had been taught and made a freethinker of me. She only lived
8eighteen months, but for that 18 my life was entirely in and through
9her, and I watched her die. The novel I am revising now is dedicated
10to her, and the opening chapter is about a little girl's feeling when
11her new little sister is born. I sometimes think my great love for
12women and girls, not because they are myself, but because they are not
13myself, comes from my love to her.
The novel Schreiner was revising is From Man to Man.