4 pages, 8vo, on stationery of the Hotel Palliser, Calgary. " />
26 February 2004
WILDER, Thornton (1897-1975). Autograph letter signed ("Thornton Wilder") to T.E. Lawrence, New Haven, Conn., 30 January 1930. 4 pages, 8vo, on stationery of the Hotel Palliser, Calgary.
A very fine letter in which Wilder expresses his admiration for Lawrence and discusses his own literary merits. "I too live so much in the great books that it becomes a sort of mortification to talk about my own books to people whom I value. The dejections of writing drive me to various Second Strings... I am cursed with the wish to write a beautiful play for Edith Evans and her wonderful voice... If I talk for a moment about your comments on my work, it is not that I am trying to justify my shortcomings. The inadequacies of one's book are the inadequacies of one's self and they have no surprises and no palliation from me. But I do not recognize the attitudes of mind you describe: the choosing of an easier subject in order to attain ease... I am too timid, without and within, ever to cast myself into the tradition of the stormy self-revealing books; all I can do is to mutter over and over to myself as I work: Mozartian form, Mozartian form." Wilder notes that he has read in the papers that Lawrence is preparing his translation of the Odyssey, "which is wonderful news. I imagine the introduction you might do for it (though I have no doubt you refused to)-- a long profound debate on the differences between living such actions and singing them. You are one of the few persons in the history of the world who has stood with a foot in each kingdom--Sophocles fought, and Dante a little... In the meantime know the pride I feel that you have written to me and my great admiration for the pages of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom & for yourself."
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