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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Edward Carpenter SMD 30/32/f
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1908
Address Fromna
Address ToMillthorpe, Holmesfield, Sheffield
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 276, 281-2
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 of this letter is provided by the postmark on an attached envelope, although this is not fully legible; the envelope also provides the address the letter was sent to.
1 Dear old Edward
3 I like Kokoro more than any book I've read for a long time. Have you
4read "the Souls of Black Folks" I advised you to get. Tell me if you
5can how it strikes you.
7 It's very strange the sympathy I feel with the Japs, & have always
8felt. It increases with all I know of them. That love of the past men
9& women & of your own dead. Ever since I was a child I've always
10thought if I had my ideal house there would be one room set apart
11where I would have the pictures of my dead & put flowers before them &
12anything that was beautiful to me. And I could go & sit there a little
13in quiet with them every day. It would be like a little chapel. - the
14only chapel I can think of - God, the whole life doesn't need a chapel
15- the sky is his roof. & I would have remembrances of all my animals
16that I have loved so utterly there. Buddhism is so much more wide &
17satisfying than Christianity can ever be, because it takes in the
18animal & world, & sees that all life is one.
20 When I was reading that book several times it came to me how foolish
21we are ever to feel lonely in this world. Some where, we may always in
22time & space there exists which feels & thinks exactly as we do. No
23one is ever really alone.
25 What do you think of matters in England? Is there going to be much of
26a forward movement? I fear not till the party splits & Grey & Asquith
27& the rest of their order go over to the other side.
29 ^I have just had a wire from dear old General Butler; to-day he has
30landed in Cape Town. He is the one Englishman we South Africans really
31love; I mean among public men. I hope all goes well with you. Have you
32any news of our Bob. It's such a long long time since I heard from him.
34 Olive^
The book Schreiner refers to as Kokoko is: Lefcadio Hearn (1895) Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life London: Gay & Bird. See also W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) The Souls of Black Folk Chicago: A.C. McClurg. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) version of this letter is incorrect in various respects.