40. 1 September 1991 [NM] (Fauré; Shakespeare and Bacon; Freudian/Marxist commentators; Hamilton)
1 IX 1991
for your playful mind rather a play of nines!
My dear Eric,
So many things I've been wanting to talk to you about! Where to begin? At the end? Yours of 5 VIII. You've become an OAP. I'd congratulate, if I had any idea what that was. It can't be old and ancient person? You talk of the Shakes-appearing. But your spear is unbroken I see. Why Cortona? I did once visit the town and think: I'd like to stay here long enough to write a book. Many years later, my daughter, between school and university, was wandering around looking for some place I could breathe in at week-ends, and she found this. She became the muse of the town, founded a 'night' called Foxes, the shadow of which still exists, and I, after being 'la hija de Madariaga' became 'la mamma di Beatrice'.
I saw your article on Fauré in the TLS* [28 June 1991, ED] and liked it a lot. I like your prejudice, indirectly confessed in your letter but here between the lines, in favour the early Fauré – indeed the only one I know – and your as usual balanced and fair remarks (however hard you hit you don't hit below the belt). And your way of writing with the head but from the heart. How is it people need to be told that Fauré 1 is the same man as Fauré 2? And I do appreciate your attack on those vague remarks that instead of high-lighting, slide over. You mention 'N'est-ce pas...' a beautiful poem, n'est-ce pas? It was one of my father's favourites. So Fauré also put Baudelaire's chocks to music? There must be so much I don't know. Is there any chance of your unearthing a few poems from the attic?
About vowels, I enclose copy of some lines from my father which I don't think I'd ever read. Wish he could have seen my pages. All your comments – no, responses, are delightful, like punning and counterpunning. You're right about interstices between the roots, such things have so fascinated me that I think that's where reality is. Sufis call it 'the uncreated light', from which all light comes. (I enclose on this a few lines from an old poem in my attic, some 25 years old.) I hadn't thought of lisps, but they belong.
And of course everywhere, in article and letter, I rejoice in your live puns. Which my father too revelled in, as did Shakespeare (and Bacon). There are automatic, mechanical associations, the mind jumping from sound to sound meaninglessly. But in deeper minds they do go so deep, and I love your earthing of Shakespeare's sea-change. The Freudian/Marxist commentators (specially Eagleton – tho' since 1989, I see, he's veering off Marxism) so off the (dare I say?) 'marx' when commenting on those fathoms deep into the earth. Meanwhile you by responding to some of my vowel connections have shown them to me. Talk of fireworks ('in your own right - write, rite...)! Just one question, do you rhyme orange with fringe, revenge or harangue = meringue?
Now do please get on with that quarto Hamlet, there's a really creative job, now you're an 'OAP' (?). Isn't it amazing? You'd think everything of Shakespeare's that could be brought up to date had been. Your brief note onMerry Wives, a joy. All the stories about Shakespeare may have been invented but one wonders why they should have been? Will the Oxfordians ever begin to wonder whether Gary Taylor &Co may have been wrong?
I've discovered the source of your friend Hamilton's amazing statement that Spedding was a Baconian. The dangers of just repeating what someone else has said. He read it in dear
Comtesse de Chambrun. Who however does have a lot of interesting points. You must know what she wrote about Shakespeare's anagram (which Baconians have looked on as a Bacon sign). Any views about this?
Over to you, dear Eric, some more on Hamlet, some more Pace so and so, more Shakespeare's early works.
With every good wish
* Have you noticed the new and 'improved' format? There was nothing wrong with the old but as if to prove their own existence people have to keep moving. I wrote to the Editor to ask why, after 50 years readership and many formats, they had found the need to add confusing lines between the columns so that, particularly in the letters, one doesn't know where a column follows on; to have enormous (and variable) variants between headings, and above all a complete absence of information at the top of the page as to what paper we are reading, date and no, of page (tho' they can be seen with a magnifying glass if one pulls the paper open and looks at the bottom). The Editor wrote back most courteously, and unexpectedly, saying that others had liked 'the new spaciousness'. Certainly there is space - where all the information is missing, and we get only some vague and superfluous heading, such as 'Eastern Questions'.
Talking of Eastern questions, isn't it exciting what's been going on in USSR? I wonder what you think? I have thoughts which go counter to what almost everyone (including experts) are saying. (A suivre).