Marianne Moore Newsletter - Volume 2 Number 2 Fall 1978
Marianne Moore Newsletter
Volume II Number 2 Fall 1978
MARIANNE MOORE NEWSLETTER
Volume II, Number 2, Fall 1978 COVER ILLUSTRATION
Tritonis charonia drawn by MM at Norfolk, Virginia, 28 August 1936. MM noted on the drawing that the shell measured 12 x 5 1/4 inches.
All previously unpublished material by Marianne Moore is published here by permission of Clive E. Driver, Literary Executor of the Estate of Marianne C. Moore.
Subscription: Two issues a year, Spring and Fall. U.S.A. $4.00 a year; Foreign $4.50. Subscriptions run for calendar year in which placed. Continuing subscriptions available. Please make cheques payable to MMN, The Rosenbach Foundation.
Contributions welcome on all aspects of MM and her work up to 750 words. Deadlines: Spring, February 1st; Fall, October 1st.
Address correspondence to Patricia C. Willis, Editor, MMN, The Philip H. & A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation, 2010 DeLancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103
Copyright © 1978
by Clive E. Driver, Literary Executor of the Estate of Marianne C. Moore
Marianne Moore Newsletter
Volume II Number 2 Fall 1978
MM derived "Tippoo's Tiger," as she stated in her note to the poem, from the Victoria $ Albert Museum monograph of that name by Mildred Archer, 1959. This illustrated booklet, now in the MM Archive, was given to her by Lincoln Kirstei.n in 1963 , and her characteristic marginal markings adorn nearly every page. What those markings show is that "derived" is the apt word: every line in the poem quotes from or summarizes material in the monograph.
"Tippoo's Tiger" is a wooden construction nearly six feet long and two and a half feet high which depicts a prostrate European being savaged by a Bengal tiger. Inside is a wooden pipe organ operated by a handle inserted into the tiger’s chest. When the handle is cranked, the victim's forearm waves and the organ emits sounds "very much like the growling cough of the Bengal tiger at its kill."
To explain the origin of the man-tiger-organ, the "vast toy" and "curious automaton," Mildred Archer presents the history of Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore,
India, killed in a battle with British troops in 1799. Tipu, or Tippoo, had been named for the tiger and took the beast as his symbol with the devise, "The Lion of God is the Conqueror" (lion and tiger are both "tipu" in the Sultan’s language, Canarese). His favorite form of hunting most evidenced his "tigerish qualities:" he trained cheetahs to hunt antelope.
During Tipu's reign, the only son of Sir Hector Monro fell victim to a tiger on Sauger Island and was carried off and fatally wounded before his companions could shoot the beast. This tale made its way back to England where it became the subject of both story and pottery: Staffordshire issued an alarmingly realistic
Hote: Photographs anil quotations from Mildred Archer, Tippoo's Tiger, London, 1959, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum
"Tippoo's Tiger," Seringapatam, Mysore, India, c. 1795. Painted wood with metal fixtures. length, 5ft. lOin., height 2ft. tin.
The Victoria and jQlhert Museum.
pottery group showing Monro in the mouth of a tiger. Nearly a century later, Monro's descendant Hector Hugh Monro, the famed storyteller "Saki," wrote "Sredni Vash-ter,” a tale which Archer finds parallel to that of his ill-fated relative, Sredni Vashter, a polecat ferret kept in a shed by one young Conradin, gets out of his cage and kills Conradin's much-detested aunt. After the attack, "the great pole-cat ferret made its way down to a small brook at the foot of the garden, drank for a moment, then crossed a little plank bridge and was lost to sight in the bushes."
Archer goes on to say that not only was the Monro family struck by the horror of the tiger tale but that Tipu, who knew the young soldier's father and considered him his mortal enemy, might have commemorated his destruction of a foe with the man-tiger-organ which he had
built for himself. At his demise, Tipu's "vast toy," green war helmets , carpet, and cuirass were sent to England as trophies of British success.
"The Death of Munrow." Staffordshire Pottery ■Figure, c. 1814.
MM wrote her "Tippoo's Tiger" in 1967. In June, she submitted two slightly different versions of the poem, dated 16 and
23 June, to the New Yorker. The poem was rejected on 27 June, Then MM gave a version which omitted the entire passage "In the Kingdom . . . had made him faint" to
Robert Wilson who published it under his imprint at the Phoenix Book Shop on 25 September 1967. With the transposition of three lines, and a few minor variants, it appeared next in Complete Poems, included at the last minute before publication that same year on 15 November. The MS of the poem reproduced here is that of 16 June 1967, the fullest version in the MM Archive.
Archer details in objective fashion the story of Tipu as it relates to the man-tiger-organ. MM extracted from the monograph only material related to Tipu as tiger -- with one exception, the description of the carpet taken from Keats’ Cap and Bells. She relegates the-ergan itself to the end of the poem, emphasizing instead Tipu's delusion "that his war was holy / and that a tiger is a deity." Her story becomes one of compound losses by Tipu and the British summed up by the outrageous artifact, the man-tiger-organ.
In tha Klngdoai of Kyaom
> Mint hod • dawotaee idio niMd hla too, Tipu
■ooalitt tlgor (oonquoror of tho eoodo)i
tlgor or lion in Hindustani, Mk- tho mo thin*.
SgU-nanad »Utar Tipu oonquoror of tha paoalana,,
■WMob Tipu died in hlo Hit bottlo with tbo Infidel,
•tUl rowing that hlo iowj should 4U tv tlgor.
®* « tbo pray of o two-fold dslualon -thot hlj tnr loo Wily oad ihot 0 tlgor to « dotty ■In c« oim in o pool •
» "tlgor horning bright* hod oodo hla flint.
Tha tlgor i
tho forefoot of hlo thronoworo tlgoro1 oggNdo foot .Ho noon tod fcgr i four-aguare pnrroaid of ollror otalro - polro rooting it tho tap/, tho lockets of hlo infanti? and palaoo-guard hhod xlttlwjtrlpo* -incurr«lkr-buttonholas. design.
Ho woopono won angraav wlthtlgor-ulawa rod tooth in Mrel characters that told tho OTwjuojpa lo aod
BonooU tho throne an one mid oorpot log.
Approaching It, oaoh out* loot kUoad itino tlm tho oarpot'o rolrot fooo of ooodno-groon.
m hod oixtoon banting-ooto to ooaroa Uw ontolspo until hla ona groat poloaat forrot with «r~Ati"g mi oooapad throughlto onlntehod hat-door, olmg o plonk oboro 0 ditch, pouaod, drank, and dlmppaored -ptaonrgor of lto aootor'a fata.
tho Inf idol alo load Tlpu'o ho loot and wlnn
and o not toy , o curias outonoton «
o non killod by a tlgor;with orgon-plpoo tn-io.
froo tdiloh blood-curdling orioa norgod wlthSeon gntso
tho tlgor DOTod lto tall idian tho an oowod hla ira,
thla ballad at111 awaita a tlgar-haartod lord.
Oiaat lnaaaa for tho roaacy M not Me ano'a on loaa lean hard.
s^r&o^ isisu. i«r u *•* ^
organ-plpoei Set not* in aanogrujfc on t*4xd<al oapoota of tha oriro. hr Hanrr min. and tho skill mth idiloh it haa bg*t oonnmd ty 2TfIr£ .» ’ ’
In making her poem, MM used method of juxtaposition of words from disparate descriptions. Two trate the process.
her characteristic and phrases gathered examples will illus-
In Keats' satiric fantasy, the Cap and Bells, a
Tipu's soldier in Tiger Jacket at Seringapatam in 1792.
Tipu Sultan, atter a portrait by G. F. Cherry, 1792.
page brings a soothsayer to see the terrifying emperor, Elfinan. In approaching the throne, "They kiss'd nine times the carpet's velvet face / Of glossy silk, soft, smooth, and meadow-green." Archer, quoting from Keats all the stanzas which refer to Tipu, who-se relics Keats had seen, offers the material as support for the popularity in England of the Tipu organ, not as an historical description of Tipu's court. MM takes from Archer's note on the inventory of Tipu's possessions sent to England a "Royal" carpet "used by Tippoo," places it "Beneath the throne," and sets Tipu’s subjects upon it to complete her picture of the throne room.
In support of the story of Tipu's losses, MM took one ingregient from Archer’s report that Tipu trained cheetas to hunt antelope. To it, she added, as if it were part of Tipu's own experience, Saki's tale about the polecat ferret, joining fact and fiction to make Iipu suffer a loss not his but one invented by the relative of his enemy. In turn, the loss becomes a precursor of Tipu's fate.
Almost every page of MM's copy of the monograph has markings which point to such transformations of material. The picture of Tipu Sultan reproduced here is marked with a line to show that of four, it was the most interesting to MM, and surely those of the organ and the pottery group caught her eye. But Tipu's soldier in the tiger jacket with "little woven stripes incurved like buttonholes" owes its description not to Archer's prose but to the poet's scrutiny of the picture.
MM, HARDY, AND CRITICS
In 1910, MM published "My Lantern" in Bryn Mawr's alumnae review, The Lantern (Vol. 18, p. 28). A working paper from that time shows the poet testing the metre she planned for the poem: u-w>o-uu-u-.
Then, as can be seen from the printing of the poem reproduced here, she began to change it into a poem about a critic. This reworking about 1914 yielded "Elfride, Making Epigrams." The metre established for "My Lantern" I persists, as do the images of pennons, casque, and lights > on a flask, but the subject has become that of Hardy's novel A Pair of Blue Eyes. Then, probably, in 1915, MM continued with the Hardy subject, writing quite a differ- 1 ent poem in her syllabic metre. This poem had two titles, first "To the Stand Patter," then the one with ;
which it was published, "To be Liked by You Would be a Calamity." With the latter title, it appeared first in William Rose Beret's Chimaera, July, 1916, and was print- i
ed for the last time in Observations (1924 and 1925). I
“ — — [
The incident in A Pair of Blue Eyes on which the 1914 and 1915 poems draw is paTtof a subplot designed to expand the characters of Elfride Swancourt and Henry Knight, Elfride, nineteen, has written a romance, "The Court of Kellyon Castle," published under the pseudonym "Ernest Field." Henry Knight reviews the book for The Present, a prestigious London journal, because unlike most books published which are "neither good enough nor bad enough to provoke criticism," it does provoke it --"by its badness." Elfride bridles at the review and its insistence that the young author confine herself to domes-
The banner* unfurled by tlie warden Float
Up high in the air and aink down; the
-lirhltek as a plume on a caaque; my- f J
Like a patch of high light on a flank, roakm
' «'~Z, 'MA i% B'hhsriBg goblin thut hm th, way-
O / i ^ ' ff ^8o noisy, fizznlui, and ui« by day.
— . _ . *• f fj 3farHrtoe Moore. 1909.
!■ 'Apl( «yW J> 4‘.
"My Lantern," The Lantern, Bryn Mawr College, 18 (1910), 28.
On the portion of the page not shown, MM wrote two other trial titles, "The Fearful Critic" and "A Preciocity," and a trial line, "A man who disparages fairy tales."
tic material. The narrator closes the incident with the remark that ’’Attack is more piquant than concord" (Chapter 15), contrasting Knight's review with a letter Elfride has just received from her beloved. Later, El-fride and Knight meet, argue the merits of criticism, and engage in a game of chess, the loss of which sends Elfride to her room in tears. Elfride, comments her stepmother, does not know what is good for her; "She will say things worthy of a French epigrammatist, and act like a robin in a greenhouse," The ensuing tragedy of the tale does not concern Elfride as writer and does not appear to be involved with NIM's poems.
Elfride, Making Epigrams*
Lev Ices £.8 slender ns pennons float Up high in the air and sink down; the raoat Encases her honu like a casque;
Sorties, like h'gh lights on a flask.
lien with torrents of toads from lips of lend
/rd then grind up ■■>er bones to mnko tlioir bread.
•"The Court of Kullyon Castle. A jitdloeval Roriance by ’Ernest Held’, (Llfrlde Swnn-cenrt)—reviewed by Henry Knight In The Pr-sent." 3oo A Pair of Blue Eyes by Hardy.
•Published by The Lantern; Bryn Uawr Col-logo*
34» Worth Hanover Street. Carlisle, Pennsylvania,
V. B. A.
lo be Liked by yon would be a Calamity.
"Attack la more piquant than ooncord." but when Ton telV me frankly that you would like to feel ky fleeh beneath your feet.
I’m ell abroad; 1 can but put *r weapon 19, and Bom yon out.
Qeatloaletlon, It la half the language— let unsheathed gesticulation be the steal Tour ooukteey must meet,
Slnoe to your hearing words are mute vfaloh to ay senate -Are a shout.____
The four MM items have a chain-like relationship. The first poem, "My Lantern," probably has nothing to do with Haidy's story, but it serves as the groundwork for "Elfride, Making Epigrams." And while the latter has no lines in common with the poem called first "To the Stand Patter" and then "To be Liked by You . . . it ponders the same incident from A Pair of Blue Eyes. The three versions which concern Elfride Swancourt, her writing and its critic, can be said to address the writer-critic relationship in much the same terms: some condemnatory critics, in particular those who stand pat and refuse to be open-minded about writing, are not worth trying to please.
A LETTER TO DOROTHEA GRAY
Dorothea Gray, representing the Poetry Group of the Washington, D. C. Branch of the American Association of University Women, wrote to MM on 2 November 1935. She had undertaken to discuss MM's poetry at a seminar on "post-war" poets, and she sought MM's help.
In her request for information, Miss Gray noted that while she had access to MM's published work, she could not find other material about the poetry. She asked MM to describe her background, reading tastes, techniques and goals in writing, influences, representative poems, and philosophy. Finally, she wanted to know what MM thought was the task of the poet in the period after World War I.
The T.L.S. shown heTe was typed by MM and then T? corrected by her mother. Probably, the deletion mark near the end and the autograph notation in the left margin were made by MM. The latter refers to Miss Gray's first through third questions.
MM kept Miss Gray's letter and several copies of her response in'her Oxford Anthology of American Lit-erature (1938), to which she had contributed a short note on her poetry.
MO Omkarlaad ItrHI flroaklra, In Tank Inalir I, INI
®aa» Util fe-tfi
.utf fham. urna <»«, ft. i.w. J '
w. .. »•«, ft. Jan... ft. ftrffeu, Md ft. auvi^„k“iiin J ’
ink a1 ft. ift, „ ,ft I ^4 J
• tun U Nt Hit N mnhIHh HUH IlM tft U», Ml illWh H n .
% mklaok «n Ufa tftm I «Uak, la a pnn ftki.l1 af aim
tut «i.«N umniDini, iku-jw, iim, 1r “l“
OharaotaTlatla imrlam. - 1 -
Uak af tha mllan ttU mll wp-lM ftualr .« mj rat1. teiTTSTt andarai ■lr«a>Wtai> ioli| ufKG& WTiJlm <» aqpraaa altftut affaotatloo. tft trraaraaalkla aoanlatlaa that haa. In awa apaalfla fora, talas poaaaaaion of
SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE POLITICS OF SELF-PROTECTIVENESS
Armor, shields, protective scales--these motifs preoccupy Marianne Moore. Her own term self-protectiveness, which closes "In This Age of Hard Trying: (1916), would explain her defensive stance except that the story behind the poem, the situation satirized, has not been clear to her readers.1 It would seem likely that the complete analogue for her precise metaphors would come from Turgenev's Fathers and Sons and Rudin, the sources for several phrases and characters; but MM in a note to the poem mistook Dostoyevsky as her source until, preparing notes for her Complete Poems (1967), she discovered her error. What, then, was the object of satire she had in mind when she wrote this poem in the 1910's? I will first explain her central allusion, one which a well-read contemporary would have picked up, and then I will describe the poem's three implicit devices for self-protectiveness.
IN THIS AGE OF HARD TRYING, NONCHALANCE IS GOOD AND
"really, it is not the
business of the gods to bake clay pots." They did not do it in this instance. A few
revolved upon the axes of their worth ... as if excessive popularity might be a pot;
they did not venture the profession of humility. The polished wedge that might have split the firmament was dumb. At last it threw itself away and falling down, conferred on some poor fool, a privilege.
"Taller by the length of
a conversation of five hundred years than all the others," there was one whose tales of what could never have been actual--were better than the haggish, uncompanionable drawl
of certitude; his byplay was more terrible in its effectiveness than the fiercest frontal attack.
The staff, the bag, the feigned inconsequence of manner, best bespeak that weapon, self-protectiveness.
MM alludes throughout her poem to two schools of British poetry circa 1895, the aesthetes and the popular poets; and she briefly presents the self-protective writer as a third alternative. The central issue is a poet's attitude towards popularity. The poem opens with an aesthete's disparaging remark about contemporaries ^ who try hard to please their audience. He considers them and their attempts for excessive popularity beneath him, as pot-makers are beneath a god: their ends are too practical. C.K. Stead, in his informative book The New Poetic, sums up the different attitudes that aesthetes and popular poets had towards popularity:
On the one hand the popular poets, their audience beside them, insist that the concern of poetry is 'Truth'; but their 'Truth', seen from this distance seems most often an agreed middle-class simplification. On the other hand, the Aesthetes, concerned to remove themselves from the inhibiting demands of a conventional audience, insist that the concern of poetry is 'Beauty', a commodity which only the Artist can truly perceive.
By the 1890's Kipling and Wilde divide the world of poetry between them . . .
Hard trying is thus when popular poets do their best to accommodate the middle class. We are able to identify Moore's historical allusion with such accuracy once she distinguishes between the uncompanionable drawl of cer^ titude, an apt summary of the aesthete's pose, and the fiercest frontal attack, an allusion to a particular kind of popular poetry called the physical force school, the literary voice for nineteenth-century British jingo-j ism. Only the debate between aesthetes and popular po-J ets encompasses the issue of excessive popularity and tne allusions to certitude and war. For MM, imperialist war poetry is itself a kind of literary frontal attack in a
fight for popularity. Her own position is more shrewd than either this extreme of pandering to popular taste or that of posing with one’s back to the middle class.
Because MM usually chooses the byplay of impersonal descriptive poetry, she is able to remain on the fringe of a confrontation for the audience in which aesthetes, despite their rhetoric, are engaged as much as the popular poets.
In one respect the ’aesthetic’ pose of writers like Wilde--their insistence that all art was 'useless', that it bore no direct relation to 'life' - can be seen as an attitude deliberately taken up in a particular political and social context. The rejection of politics from art was itself a political action; the aesthetic action was for Wilde . . . 'his red flag’, something with which to make offensive gestures.^
MM is partly caught in the same dilemma; she may choose to keep to the sidelines, but she cannot be uninvolved once she has recognized the issue of popularity.
The final figure of the itinerant traveller, with his feigned inconsequence of manner, typifies the quiet observer who in most of MM’s poetry stands apart from action in order to provide reflective description. In this particular poem, however, MM only specifies a -.second sort of byplay. A "conversation of five hundred years becomes the quotations which, like naturalistic description, presents MM as emotionally uninvolved in contemporary issues. Quotations in particular are not self-statements, and yet they reflect her ideas as much as her description of natural objects.7 Both techniques are reflectors placed between us and MM; they shield her while providing us with past opinions and naturalistic details. If anyone were to object to statements in MM's poems, that critic would first have to challenge nature's concrete details and other writers’ opinions. These techniques guarantee self-protectiveness for the peripatetic observer who wanders through the past as well as over the land.
It is also important that MM's traveller not have material attachments to a particular place, for only then will his comments on wealth and ownership be observations rather than covetous criticisms. His indifference to the state of his own wealth is clearer in an earlier unpublished draft:
Plant your staff and shed your bags, god-keeping Your hand on the torn coat that you call selfprotectiveness.®
A self-protective attitude is only possible because he does not worry about how well he is dressed. This stance contrasts with the exaggerated economic extremes of gods and pot-makers, extremes which are the consequences of privilege-- a word fraught with political connotations. As an itinerant observer, carrying only what is needed, MM's speaker often offers graphic descriptions of both thrift and conspicuous consumption. Consider, for example, the following lines from "The Jerboa" (1932):
[at an Egyptian court]
Dwarfs here and there, lent to an evident
poetry of frog grays,
duck-egg greens, and eggplant blues, a fantasy and a verisimilitude that were right to those with, everywhere,
. i 9
power over the poor.
Though "The Jerboa" begins innocently enough with ancient art, description eventually entails class distinctions. Like "In this Age of Hard Trying," and many other of MM's poems, her description of art has political implications.
To sum up, self-protectiveness not only obscures objects of satire but also allows for naturalistic description, quotation, and indirect criticism of ownership. Moore did, however, sometimes drop her defensive devices-- her "feigned inconsequence of manner." When "In This Age of Hard Trying" first appeared in a book,
the 1917 anthology Others, she had printed with it the atypical acrid assertions of "To Military Progress."
Stanley Lourdeaux University of Chicago
1George Nitchie sums ^ critics' difficulties with the poem in
luTlan£e Moore.:..^-Introdllction.to the Poetry (New York: Columbia tv. Press, 1969), pp. 88-89, An earlier title connects the poem to Turgenevs Rudin. the likely source for the conversation, the fool, and the traveller: the debate between the fool Pigasov and the poor tall traveller, Rudin. Pigasov attacks the value of systems in general as opposed to factual certitude. Rudin, trans. Constance Garnett (London: William Heinemann, 1894),~esp. pp. 43, 49, 88, 226. Rudin shows, however, little inconsequence of manner.
See the note for "In This Age of Hard Tiying" in Selected roems, Collected Poems, and The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore.
-^Complete Poems. 1967, pp. 88-89.
, C-K- Stead, The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot (London: Penguin, 1964), p. 12.
See The New Poetic, p, 50.
Ibid., p. 69.
I have partially derived my idea of the paradoxical nature of seif-statement in I-N’s quotations from Jaques Derrida’s conception 3f writing sous rature, or "under erasure," in his Of Gramnatology Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press 1973), esp. pp. xiv-xvi of the preface.
^Manuscript at the Rosenbach Foundation.
Ccaglete i oems, p. 12.
A typescript of "Blessed is the man," prepared by MM for reading aloud, has two autograph notes which pertain to the last line of the poem: "[Blessed is the man]
whose illumined eye has seen the shaft that gilds the sultan's tower." The first note reads "cf Rubaiyat" and the second "The sun in heaven strikes the Sultan's turret with a shaft of light."
MM's copy of the Rubaivat of Omar Khayyam (Portland, Maine: Thomas B, Mosher^ 8tn ed., October 1905) gives the following version of the first stanza of the poem:
Wake! For the sun, who scatter'd into flight The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light.
While MM took the quatrain as the inspiration for her last line, two items from the preface to this edition by Nathan Haskell Dole point to other connections between the "Persian" poem and her own. First,
Dole notes that Omar shone only as a "star of the second magnitude" to his contemporaries. "He was too much of a scoffer and a sceptic to be popular in his own land. His simplicity was western; he had little of the oriental filigree-work of . . . most of his suc
cessors. Consequently not until recent times, having been discovered by a kindred spirit, was he recognized as one of the chief in the galaxy of Persian Poets."
The "kindred spirit” was, of course, Edward FitzGerald, who published his translation in 1859. FitzGerald, Dole tells us, "neither expected nor seemed to care for fame; he died before the unexampled popularity of his work had even begun to catch among the select few." But pagan and Epicurean poem that it is, the Rubaiy&t had at the end of the 19th century a vogue that can be ascribed to its correspondence with "a certain strenuous demand of [its] day, a dissatisfaction with an unjustified optimism, [and its ability to voice] the courage of human philosophy facing the unknown and
daring the possibilities of a god's injustice; ... it represents good fellowship of men banding together not to resist, but to meet the inevitable .... 11
While only the last line of "Blessed is the man" is obviously drawn from the Rubaiydt, Dole's remarks confirm its fittingness in the coneInding beatitude addressed to authors, geniuses and others who have faith, that "illumined eye" which sees the sun in heaven, not as it strikes, but as it "gilds the sultan's tower."
The single note for "Bowls" in Observations reads: '"appear the first day’: advertisement in French magazine." An entry in MM's Reading Diary (Rosenbach 1250/ 3, 100) gives the source:
"Ad. Femina Juin 1922 p. 41. le second Numero de Flirt paraitra fin Juin . . . et disparaitra avant
que vous ne puissiez 1 'acheter si vous ne prenez pas vos precautions."
Not only did MM translate the quotation for her poem, but she also changed "Flirt’s" publication date.
Despite such alterations, she set the English version in quotation marks:
. . . I shall write to the publisher of the magazine
which will "appear the first day of the month
and disappear before one has had time to buy it
unless one takes proper precautions,"
and make an effort to please --
since he who gives quickly gives twice
in nothing so much as in a letter.
Observations, 1924, p. 70)
No notes accompany four other lines:
Renouncing a policy of boorish indifference to everything that has been said since the days of Matilda I shall purchase an Etymological Dictionary of Modem English that I mav understand what is written [....]
That dictionary was reviewed in The Spectator for 9 July 1921 (V. 127, 50- 51). In her Reading Notebook (Rosenbach 1250/3,7) MM copied two passages from the review concerning "Bolshevik” and "tawdry." The reviewer says that a definition should be a report on the facts: "When Jones wants to know what Smith means when he calls him . . .
a Bolshevik, it is no good to say that the word Bolshevik means a ’majority Socialist'. . . because the derisive, not the political meaning, is intended. Modern usage and definition by origin are both "facts." Further, the way a word changed meaning can often be demonstrated. Necklaces sold at the fair of St. Audrey degenerated to the point where "tawdry," after the saint's name, came to mean "something cheap and nasty."
These words are examples of things "said since the days of Matilda," queen of William the Conqueror whose French influence marked a significant shift in the development of modern English.
REVIEWER FOR THE NEW REPUBLIC
In a letter of 10 August 1943, George Mayberry of The New Republic asked MM to review The Land of the Great Image by Maurice Collis. On 31 August, MM sent him a review longer than the requested 500 words adding: "In view of possible cuts which I have indicated in red on the text of my review, please do not feel that I have wilfully over-written; though author’s problems submitted to an editor are surely not a kindness." Mayberry cut as directed, and the review appeared as "The Past Recaptured," Vol. 109, 27 September 1943, 431-32.
"This book seems to me of overwhelming import. . .
MM wrote in her letter. And her review begins: "This deep and strange book -- the story of Sebastiao Manrique, a seventeenth-century Augustinian friar and his journey to Arakon on the Bay of Bengal, land of the Mahamuni, or great image of Buddha -- is really a study of church and state, with applications private and political, for twentieth-century behavior."
The book was a timely one for MM for two reasons.
It provoked thought about Western involvement in Asia at the moment when her brother was aboard ship in the Pacific in World War II. And the "Buddhist way of virtue" with its parades of elephants overlapped with the subject of her poem "Elephants," published in The New Republic while MM was at work on her review,
Since the Dial staff members who wrote "Briefer Mention" reviews for the magazine were not paid for those contributions, records of authorship do not exist for some of the items. However, one more review by MM has come to light. Had MM not kept evidence in her files, her description of travel book readers as "non-excursive herbivora" would suffice to point to her authorship.
PRESENT-DAY RUSSIA, by Ivy Lee. A hurried account of a ten day visit to Russia is not necessarily a magazine of aesthetic ammunition, but is in this instance effective, systematic, and most acceptable to non-excursive herbivora. It is easier to read of the mountain which is Russia than to be the Mohammed that Mr. Lee has bravely been. In what is here told of marriage laws, espionage, art, trade relations, the press, and much else, he conveys a lively sense of conditions in the Soviet Utopia.
The Dial, 8S (September 1925), 268.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
The Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin has a large collection of MM’s cor-
respondence, in addition to her MS works which were reported in the last issue of MMN, There are approximately 265 letters of which she is the author, 65 of which she is the recipient, and at least 140 other letters which are associated with heT.
Of her correspondence with T.S, Eliot, there are 10 letters from her (1935*54) and 7 from Eliot (1953-54). The 1953*54 letters are complementary and deal with the publication difficulties of her translation of the fables of La Fontaine,
The D.H. Lawrence*MM letters are all complementary. There are 2 letters, 2 drafts, and a fragment from MM, and 3 letters from Lawrence, February to June, 1929. In these letters, Lawrence confides to MM about his legal difficulties at the time and arrangements are concluded for publishing some of his Pansies in The Dial.
There are also 23 letters from MM to Louis Zukof-sky, 6 to Edith Sitwell, and a few samples of her correspondence with Ezra Pound, E.E. Cummings, Cid Coran, Pascal Covici, Christopher Morley, Oliver Evans, and Wallace Stevens. The HRC also has a large number of letters to and from MM and her publishers. One of the most interesting letters in this group is a letter to her from the Egoist Press, 7 April 1921. In this letter Harriet Shaw Weaver solicits MM's poems for a book, which subsequently became her first book, Poems, published in July, 1921. Also included is a draft of MM's reply.
Various sorts of association copies of MM's books are in the HRC. There are 32 inscribed presentation copies, nany with autograph notes and corrections. Six of these copies are inscribed to Edith Sitwell and 7 to Cunnings and his wife, Marion Morehouse. There are also copies of MM's books with annotations by other authors, 3 with Edith Sitwell's notes, 2 with Christopher Morley's, and 1 with Cummings'. There are many signed copies of MM's books, as well as copies from distinguished provenances, such as those from the libraries of Zukofsky, Cummings, and Edith Sitwell. The HRC's
collection of MM's printed works encompasses the whole scope of textual and physical variants. The foreign editions are also represented.
The HRC also has 135 books and serials which MM owned at one time. Included are Wallace Stevens' Parts of a World, 1942, Richard Lattimore’s The Odes of Pindar, 1947, both annotated by MM; Mary Warner Moore’s Copies of the Outline Studies in College English,
Boston; Palmer "Co.", n.d'. , of which No. 2, Tne Sir Roger de Coverley Papers, contains annotations about Will Honeycomb and will Wimble; and other books have MM’s inscription of acquisition dates or other authors' inscriptions.
There are 15 folders of ephemera in the HRC vertical file. Most of these folders contain clippings made by MM from newspapers and magazines, such as clippings about Wallace Stevens from 1935-55. Other items, such as invitations and programs for her readings, press kits, and music, are also present.
The final group of MM items are artistic works. There is an oil portrait of her by Michael Werboff,
1968, a photographic portrait by Charles Collum, 1968, and other photographs and drawings.
The MM collection at the HRC is one of the most extensive collections of her work. Important documentation, in some cases unique, is provided on the whole span of her literary career.
Douglas Haynes University of Texas, Austin
THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY
David Mike Hamilton reports from San Marino, CA, that the Huntington Library holds the following MM items; Letters: 11 to Wallace Stevens (1926-55); 1 to Peter Du Sautoy (1951); 3 to Mary Hunter Austin (1925);
1 from Roger Roughton (1936). In addition, there are a TMS, "The Crow and the Fox" (1951), and a corrected copy of "If a Man Die" in Hound and Horn (Jan.-Mar.1932).
MM at Home, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, c. 1910
Certain faces, a few, one or two -- or one face photographed by recollection --to my mind, to my sight, must remain a delight.
"A Face," 1947
Photographed not by recollection but by cameras, painted in oils and pastels, modeled in plaster, drawn in crayon and pencil, MM inspired a host of artists whose portraits of her will be on exhibition at the Rosenbach Foundation in the winter of 1979. The MM Archive holds an extensive collection of "Images of Marianne" and others will be on loan from several institutions. The editor of MMN will be pleased to hear from readers about other pictures of MM which might be included in the exhibition.
* ......... i
Copies of Mildred Archer's monograph Tippoo's Tiger, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1959, can be obtained from Pendragon of Connecticut, Inc., P.0. Box 255, Old Mystic, CT. The price is $3.50, including postage and handling.
MLA 1978 New York, Friday, 29 December.
A special session has been arranged to discuss "Marianne Moore: Early Ideas and Images" at the Hilton, Nassau B, 8:30-9:45 A.M. Panelists and their topics will be: Bonnie Costello, "Ut Pictura Poesis: Marianne Moore and the Visual Arts;" Robert Koelling, "Marianne Moore and the Verse Essay;" Stanley Lourdeaux, "Moore and Eliot: Tradition and the Descriptive Talent;" Taffy Martin, '"Where Does This Downhill Turn Up Again': Marianne Moore's Modernism in 'Comment;'" and John Slatin, "'The Savage’s Romance:' MM’s Difficult Poetry."
Please write for papers before 20 December to the chairman, Patricia C. Willis, Rosenbach Foundation,
2010 DeLancey Place, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
OTHER NEWSLETTERS AND JOURNALS
FOUR DECADES, poetry in English between 1890 § 1932. Twice yearly. USA personal subscription, $5.50, Address The Editor, FOUR DECADES, 231 Lonsaount Dr., Toronto Ontario M5P 2Y9, Canada.
WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS NEWSLETTER, twice yearly, $5.00 per year. Address; Theodora Graham, WCWN, Pennsylvania State Univ., Capitol Campus, Middletown, PA 17057.
THE NEW CANTERBURY LITERARY SOCIETY NEWSLETTER, devoted to Richard Aldington, and mailed gratis to Aldington friends, scholars and family. Address: No'rman T. Gates, 520 Woodland Avenue, Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
TO OUR READERS
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