Miss Rhodes

Marianne Moore (1948)

A quick reminder of Patricia Willis’s search for a Miss Rhodes, associated with Marianne Moore and the Imagist circle.

You can read the previous post here.

Patricia’s Marianne Moore website is here.  Please contact her with any information about Miss Rhodes at pcwinct [at] gmail [dot] com.

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HD, Lawrence Durrell (and Aldington)

H.D., Hirslanden Notebooks cover

James D. Gifford (Fairleigh Dickinson University) recently published a brief article on ‘H.D.’s Hirslanden Notebooks and Durrell’s Claudia: Occult Modernism Across the Curtain and in the Mirror’ in ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and
Reviews
.

The article mainly analyses H.D.’s late Hirslanden notebooks, but in doing so it also points to the important of her correspondence with Aldington.  RA, as Gifford points out, reported H.D.’s reading experiences of the Alexandria Quartet to Durrell in correspondence, available in Literary Lifelines: The Richard Aldington–Lawrence Durrell Correspondence, ed. by Ian MacNiven and Harry T. Moore (1981).

Gifford suggests, among other things, that making this connection brings forth the possibility of productive readings of H.D.:

we may consider not only how knowing Durrell’s works alters the nature of some of H.D.’s cryptic references in her late writings that have only recently come into print, but it also indicates how H.D. would have given scholarship a productive reading of The Alexandria Quartet had she lived longer. We might also start to look to Durrell’s influence from H.D. as a predecessor[.]

 

Please contribute to NCLSN!

Pen, pad and keyboard

A quick reminder that contributions to the NCLSN are always welcome.  Are you working on Aldington?  I’m happy to publicise your research.  Are you working on someone in Aldington’s vast network of literary contacts?  I’d like to hear from you, too.

I’m interested in hearing from both academic and non-academic Aldingtonians.  If you just want to talk about your enthusiasm, that’d be great.  Do you have a favourite bit of Aldington that you’d like to highlight? What’s your connection to Aldington and why is he important to you?  Is there a story, poem, or novel that you think is unjustly neglected and you’d like to say something about why? Do you have a rare edition, or think you’ve uncovered something previously unknown? If you can write a bit about it, that would be great!

I would be really glad to receive contributions from members, readers and followers.  I’m keen to widen the spread of contributors, and believe that the blog offers a great way to do so.  I can either add you to the blog as an author, or you can e-mail me your piece to afrayn [dot] ac [at] gmail.com.

Andrew Frayn

Searching for a Miss Rhodes

Marianne Moore (1948)
NCLSN member Patricia Willis writes:
 
I am seeking the identification of someone who made a personal connection between Marianne Moore and the London Imagists during Moore’s first year as a professional poet. And I would like to include the results, with all due credit, in my blog, moore123.com.
In October, 1915, an acquaintance of Richard Aldington and Hilda Doolittle visited Marianne Moore at her home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She was “Miss Rhodes,” possibly Amy Rhodes or Rhoades. She came to Carlisle to stay with Ada Plank Gloss. Gloss was the sister of the artist George Wolfe Plank, whom Moore knew and who had gone to England the previous year with his Philadelphia friends, James and Mildred Whitall.
Miss Rhodes, described as wearing an elegant hat over grey hair, mentioned that she had visited Richard Aldington and Hilda Doolittle at their London home (and that Richard had dispensed with wearing a hat). She was intimate enough with the London literary scene to know that Dora Marsden contributed funds to The Egoist, that James Whitall was writing a novel with the supervision of George Moore, and that John Cournos “was poor.” She also descried Yeats’s turn toward “spiritualism.”
It is likely that Rhodes is an American since Moore does not comment on her speech; her grey hair suggests that she is older than Ada Plank Gloss, who is 34. She could be related to the Planks but I have not found a connection.The tantalizing aspect of this woman’s visit to remote Carlisle is its oddity: for news, other than by letter, of her Imagist “colleagues.” Moore usually had to go to the Library of Congress.
You can contact Patricia at pcwinct [at] gmail [dot] com.

Poets in Translation

Michael Copp - Poets in Translation
NCLSN Correspondent Michael Copp has just published Poets in Translation, consisting of his original translations of four poets: one French, one Belgian (francophone) and two Russian.
Three of them (Maurice Careme, Adrienne Monnier and Yakov Zugmnan) have probably never been translated before. Careme’s poems are a series of delicately poised vignettes, charting the inhabitants, staff and tourists, of a provincial hotel. Monnier was the owner of La Maison des Amis des Livres, that celebrated Parisian home for French, American and British literati in the 1920s and 1930s. The book includes some of her little-known poems. Zugman was a Russian Jew who had the misfortune never to see his poetry ever published in his lifetime, not even via the underground system of samizdat.
Copp Contents - Careme, Monnier, Zugman
The contents page of Copp’s Poets in Translation for Maurice Carême, Adrienne Monnier, and Yakov Zugman.
The best-known poet is Andrei Voznesensky who was one of that generation of young poets who took advantage of the ‘thaw’ in the 1960s to make a dynamic impact with their vigorous appeal to young Russians.
Copp Contents - Vozenensky
The contents page of Copp’s Poets in Translation for Andrei Voznesensky.
If you’d like a copy of the book, please write directly to Michael Copp at: 32 Hunts Hill, Glemsford, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 7RP, UK. Price, inclusive of postage & packing: £7.50, UK; £9.00, rest of the world.

Manchester University Press sale

Cover of Frayn, Writing Disenchantment

I hope you’ll all forgive me the self-promotion, but if you don’t yet have a copy of my monograph Writing Disenchantment: British First World War Prose, 1914-1930 (Manchester UP, 2014), the press currently (January 2018) has an 80% off sale on selected titles.  That brings the price down to a manageable £15!

The book discusses the way in which disenchantment comes to be the dominant narrative about the war through the course of the post-war decade; I argue that disenchantment is a condition of modernity, not only a post facto response to the war.  A wide range of popular, middlebrow and modernist authors are covered, from Ernest Raymond to Virginia Woolf via H.G. Wells (and many more).

Aldington’s Death of a Hero takes up a substantial part of my discussion of the War Books Boom in chapter 5.

Andrew Frayn

Obituary – Shelley Cox, RA bibliographer

Shelley Cox

We’re very sorry to report the death last year of Shelley Cox, a longtime friend of Aldington scholarship.  Her partner’s daughter, Melanie Thomas, writes:

Shelley Marie Cox passed away on August 8, 2017 in Carbondale, IL after a brief illness. Shelley was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1948. She grew up with a love of cats, books, politics and music, passions which she continued to pursue throughout her life. After graduating high school, she attended the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated with honors, then received her Master’s degree in Library Sciences from the University of Chicago in 1974. Her first library position was at Southern Illinois University; she remained there until her retirement over 31 years later, eventually becoming the rare book librarian in the Special Collections department for the SIU library.

Her intelligence and humor made her friends throughout the world who shared her interests. She was also able to follow those interests throughout the country and even internationally as a fan of the Moody Blues and as a member of the Lawrence Durrell International Society and the New Canterbury Literary Society, devoted to the works of Richard Aldington. Although her health prevented her from travelling as much as she wished in her later years, she continued working on research for those organizations.

Shelley is survived by her sister, Marsha Cox, and her longtime partner, Bob Thomas, as well as friends around the world who shared her passions. She will be missed by many.

 

Aldington biographer Vivien Whelpton, who came to know Shelley in recent years, adds:

I came to know Shelley during just three visits to Carbondale over the course of five years, but our regular correspondence between those visits cemented what became for me a very special friendship. We shared not just our Aldington interest, but our love of cats, an interest in music and in television drama – and our political views! In the time I knew her, Shelley was in constant physical pain, through severe arthritis, and she became increasingly immobilized. But she was full of mental energy, passion and humour, and her shrewdness and wit were a constant delight. I always looked forward to her emails. What I shall never forget is the enormous kindness and generosity that she and Bob both extended to me. I have many happy memories of evening meals out and of tours of Southern Illinois at the week-ends when the Morris Library was closed. On my final visit, earlier this year, Bob and Shelley picked me up from my lodgings the day after my arrival to take me grocery shopping, and Shelley brought with her a gift of a battery-operated night light – in case I needed to get up in the night in my unfamiliar surroundings. I find that light indispensable now, whenever I go away. And there was always a gift to take home for my cats!  I constantly miss a very dear friend.

Melinda has sent me the files of Shelley’s Aldington bibliography. It was work that, sadly, she had to give up when her mobility became a problem for her. But those files represent years of work and travel, and I hope to be able to see them reach some form of publication.

Following the blog

As I know there are a variety of ways people engage with the blog, I thought I’d post this reminder about how to follow the site if you would like to receive notifications when new writing is posted.

You don’t have to have a WordPress account to follow the NCLSN blog; you can do so by e-mail.  When you click on the link to the newsletter site, you should see a “follow” button at the bottom right of the screen.  If you click on that, the site will prompt you to enter an e-mail address.  You will then receive notifications to your e-mail when there’s a new post.  It’s quick and easy to do!

The WordPress information on how to follow a blog is here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/following/

Richard Aldington in Leningrad

Michael Copp writes the below, which includes his own translations of extracts from and a précis of an article about one of Aldington’s visits to Russia late in his life.  –AF

D. Moldavsky, ‘Richard Aldington in Leningrad’, Neva, No.5, 1963, pp. 164-67.

We had already read him before the war. The first book of Richard Aldington to reach us was the novel, All Men are Enemies. This was a book full of hatred of war, of a terrible, concentrated anger, and also of love. Love was an oasis in the desert of human feelings. Then we read Death of a Hero and Very Heaven. Richard Aldington stood before us as an exposer of the petty bourgeois of all scales and dimensions. We perceived him as one of the most truthful and the closest to us of Western authors.

Moldavsky was surprised when Aldington asked to see the work of traditional artists such as Levitan. Aldington also expressed a wish to get hold of an album of Rublev [the great icon painter]. He enthused over Russian icons, and compared them favourably with the masterpieces of the Renaissance.

Richard and Catha spent several days in Leningrad. They visited the Kirov stadium, new housing quarters, the Summer Garden, and saw the famous statue of the Bronze Horseman. Aldington commented that only Parisians and Leningraders expressed such love of their city. In the summer garden Aldington showed Catha the statue of Krilov and recounted one of his fables for her benefit.

After a visit to the Russian Museum, Moldavsky presented Aldington with a volume of Russian lubki [popular Russian prints] of the XVII to XIX centuries. Aldington was greatly appreciative of this

extremely interesting book, illustrating Russian folklore.

Aldington was pleasantly struck by the news that his books were widely known and appreciated in Russia. People came up to him to voice their appreciation of his work in the Summer Garden, in the Authors’ Bookshop, and in the Hermitage.

When Aldington heard English voices in the Museum, he seemed to do his utmost to avoid meeting them. Once inside the Hermitage, Aldington paused in the middle of a room and proceeded to identify the painters, not only the famous masters, but also those considered second-rate. Moldavsky refers to Catha as ‘Kat’ throughout, and comments on her vivacity, as a contrast to her father’s more subdued manner. Richard was particularly at home in front of the Italian masters, giving Catha an informative commentary. He was delighted to see so many works by Frans Hals, Raphael, Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Rubens.

When questioned, Aldington dismissed abstract art as rubbish. When asked about Salvador Dali he said that Dali began as a talented artist, and then indulged in all sorts of tricks. Catha disagreed with this verdict. They went the following day again to the Hermitage, this time to see the French section. First, Poussin and Houdon’s statue of Voltaire, standing next to which he was photographed. Then to the rooms of modern art. Moldavsky notes that Aldington was in raptures, faced with so many Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces: Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, etc. Richard sat for a long time in the Picasso room where he told Moldavsky that he had met Picasso on two occasions. They toured this room twice.

Aldington met writers at the House of Creativity in Komarov, went to the ballet, and appeared on television, in front of a group of young people. He told his young audience not to waste time, to take advantage of their opportunities, to use their leisure profitably: study Art, read books. Moldavsky notes that this hectic schedule was tiring for Aldington, and he was taken back to his hotel to rest.

They went to a record shop. Aldington wanted Mussorgsky, Catha wanted the song, ‘Moscow Nights’. Moldavsky recounts the episode here, when a brusquely impatient American customer, anxious to buy a complete set of Beethoven symphonies, demanded to be served first because he was in a hurry. When Aldington asked him why he was in such a hurry, the American replied that he only had three days. Aldington’s reply:

That’s three days more than is necessary.  I’d have thrown you out of here on the first day. You are giving a dreadful impression of your America here. You simply don’t understand where you are.

Just before Aldington died he sent a package to Moldavsky. It was his two-volume translation of the ‘Decameron’. It had been posted the day before Aldington’s death. A month later Moldavsky received the following from Catha:

I will not forget my visit to Leningrad, nor the fact that my father was happy there.

Michael Copp