I love this self-effacing letter from T.S. Eliot to V. Woolf. BTW, anybody know to what MSS refers?
link: Paris Review – Document: T. S. Eliot to Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot.
Document: T. S. Eliot to Virginia Woolf
Printed with the permission of the T. S. Eliot Estate.
38 Burleigh Mansions, St Martins Lane, London W.C.2.
27 August 1924
My dear Virginia,
Forgive the unconscionable delay in answering your charming letter and invitation. I have been boiled in a hell-broth, and on Saturday journeyed to Liverpool to place my mother in her transatlantic, with the confusion and scurry usual on such occasions, and the usual narrow escape from being carried off to America (or at least to Cobh) myself. In the tumult on the dock an impetuous lady of middle age, ‘seeing off’ a relative going to make his fortune in the New World, by way of the Steerage) stuck her umbrella in my eye, which is Black. I should love to visit you, seriously: the Prince of Bores to refresh his reputation: but the only pleasure that I can now permit myself is, that should I come to Eastbourne (which is doubtful) we might visit you by dromedary for tea: if I leave London at all I am most unlikely to get done all the things that I ought to do (such as my 1923 Income Tax Return) and certainly not any of the things that you want me to do. I have done absolutely nothing for six weeks. One thing is certain: I MUST stay in London, where Vivien will be, after this week, is uncertain. But
When do you want to publish my defective compositions?
When do you want the MSS?
I should like at least to provide a short preface, which might take two or three nights’ work, and make a few alterations in the text to remove the more patent evidences of periodical publication. These three essays are not very good (the one on Dryden is the best) but I cannot offer you my ‘Reactionary’s Encheiridion’ or my ‘By Sleeping-Car to Rome: A Note on Church Reunion’ because they will not be ready in time. But you shall see for yourself, as soon as you wish, whether you think these three papers good enough to reprint.
But what about a FRAGMENT of an Unpublished Novel from you to me? One exists most of the time in morose discontent with the sort of work that one does oneself, and wastes vain envy on all others: the worst of it is that nobody will believe one. But no one regrets more that these moods should occur to Mrs. Woolf (of all people) than
Yr. devoted servt.
Document from The Letters of T. S. Eliot, Volumes One and Two, edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton, published by Yale University Press in September 2011. Reproduced by permission.
The letter is a part of the T. S. Eliot collection of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
link: Bob Guccione, Penthouse Founder, Dies at 79 – NYTimes.com
Dear Bob Guccione,
I was sad to learn today that you are no longer coming down for breakfast. As publisher and founder of Penthouse magazine, you were more degenerate than Hugh Hefner, but less oogie than Larry Flint. You were like a 6 on a 10 point swinger- to-sleazeball scale. But your pornographic inspirations played an important role in my nescient tween years. Most guys will tell you that as a boy they kyped Penthouse from their dad’s drawer or from under their older brother’s bed, or somewhere. My brother also collected the Reader’s Digest-sized Penthouse Forum, and it was the best. In Penthouse Magazine you may have given America its first look at pubic hair, but I loved Forum and its famous letters from readers with their supposedly true sex adventures. This periodically included tales of bisexuality. When I say bisexual I mean my interest was in the girl-guy-guy stuff you printed.
I always found the pornographic stories more interesting than photos. I would study Forum on my own and dog ear the pages that described sex scenes in crazy public places or had weirdo fetishism. And when a male friend slept over I would read these choice stories aloud from the bottom bunk-bed in my room. I always had a couple of the strangest, strictly hetero items cued up and then, socko, I’d hit ’em with a girl-guy-guy story. This was an ingenious barometer to test the other boy’s curiosity or abject aversion without revealing any underlying motive on my behalf. I read maybe some gross water-sports letter to warm him up and then I’d bounce a suggestive bi story off his Protestant armor. You gave me a tool to know whether to proceed boldly or retreat back into another real adventure in underwear sniffing. Thank you Bob Guccione for Forum and for what was the genesis of a predatory system I built upon, perfected and still utilize to this day. I suppose if this damaged any of my then niave and trusting boyhood friends, who today are married and straight, I ought to say I’m sorry. But instead I’ll just say, you know who you are.
– Richard (address withheld)