Richard Aldington

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(The Richard Aldington Newsletter)
Vol. 35, No. 2                  Summer 2007
Editor: Norman T. Gates
520 Woodland Avenue
Haddonfield, NJ 08033-2626, USA
Associate Editor: David Wilkinson
The Old Post Office Garage
Chapel Street, St. Ives
Cornwall TR26 2LR U.K.

RA and H.D. Website:  Correspondent and website editor: Paul Hernandez
Correspondents: Catherine Aldington, Michael Copp, C.J. Fox, Stephen Steele, F.-J. Temple, Caroline Zilboorg
Correspondent and Bibliographer: Shelley Cox. 
Biographers: Charles Doyle, Jean Moorcroft Wilson

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                        Caroline Zilboorg writes: “There’s a new much acclaimed French film version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  It’s called just Lady Chatterley.  Here’s what A.O. Scott said, attending the Berlin Film Festival, on 15 Feb 2007. ‘Every frame of the movie seems alive: with risk, with pleasure, with a sensuality that is both wild and intelligent.’”  Caroline hopes that some Newsletter readers have seen this film and can report

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In cataloguing his Aldington archive, Associate Editor David Wilkinson has rediscovered his

copy of A Short History of the Royal Sussex Regiment (35th Foot – 107th Foot), 1701-1926.  He had long since forgotten that his copy is a signed presentation copy to a unknown recipient by Richard Aldington’s respected C.O., Colonel M.V.B. Hill, Officer in Charge, 9th Royal Sussex Regiment (1916-1919).  Colonel Hill features as Evans in RA’s Death of a Hero.

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                        Searching David Wilkinson came upon two copies of The Mask by John Cournos [Methuen. 1919].  Both are signed and inscribed; one to C.W. Beaumont, the other to Alex Randall.  Despite the fallout between RA and Cournos over Arabella Yorke, it is interesting to see that both Cournos and RA remained close to both dedicatees.

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                        I am sure that many of our NCLS members are a part of the H.D. listserve as I am.  Do you think a RA listserve would be useful, and do any of you know how to set this up?

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                        Correspondent Mike Copp writes: “I was recently invited to contribute a profile of F.S. Flint for The Literary Encyclopedia.  This is a collaborative historical and scholarly project of global ambition.  Its goal is eventually to provide a scholarly description of every single work of cultural interest in the English-speaking world, and to provide informed guidance to critical issues and the historical context of cultural production.  At least one other NCLSN recipient has contributed a profile, namely Patrick Quinn on RA.  For information go to

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                        In the catalogue for the recent exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, We the Moderns: Gaudier-Brzeska and the Birth of Modern Sculpture, Correspondent Copp found an essay by Jonathan Black, “The Moving Agent: Henri-Gaudier, Primitivism, Technology and Violence,” that contained the following:

            Early in August 1914, just prior to leaving London to enlist in France, he told Richard Aldington that, if he survived the war, he would “return to the Greeks” in his sculpture.  Three months later he wrote from front-line trenches to Edward Wadsworth that he was eager to learn the latest about Vorticism and mentioned recent completion of an essay renewing his commitment to Vorticism in sculpture.  For such a short life it is surprisingly encrusted in myths and hyperbole.  Aldington played a key role in starting the myth-making even while Gaudier was still alive.  In July 1914 he described him as “a wild, unkempt barbarian . . . He is the sort of person who would dye his statues in the gore of goats if he thought it would give them a more vile appearance.”  Thus Aldington depicts Gaudier as ultimate artistic “wild man,” infatuated with all that was “primitive” and “barbaric” in art and behavior.  Yet within the same passage he acknowledges that Gaudier is actually very intelligent and acutely aware of recent developments in contemporary art with a “very clear knowledge of the comparative history of sculpture.”

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                        The Beinecke Library, in connection with their excellent H.D. collection, have made available on-line some 260 digital images that include many of RA.  The link to the digital image catalogue is  Type “Hilda Doolittle” in the search field to bring up 13 pages of images.  Anyone interested in H.D. or RA will find this collection most interesting.

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                        PennSound announces The Complete Poetry Recordings of Ezra Pound edited, with an extended listening guide, by Richard Sieburth.  See for details.

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                        Call for papers: Traveling with H.D.: Women Writers and the Modernist Voyage Out.  This proposed panel for the Modernist Studies Association annual conference in Long Beach (Nov.1-4, 2007) sought papers on H.D. and other modernist women writers who “traveled” literary culture with her, or who later used H.D. as a site of embarkation for their modernist projects.  Proposals of 250-500 words and a brief (no more than one page) CV were to be sent to Delia Fisher Associate Professor of English, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA 01086.  Deadline for proposals was May 1, 2007.

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                        Correspondent Mike Copp calls our attention to Paul March-Russell’s introduction to May Sinclair: Uncanny Stories (Wordsworth Editions, 2006) that begins: “When May Sinclair died in 1946, aged eighty-three, her beneficiaries – among them the great Modernist poets Ezra Pound, HD (Hilda Doolittle) and Richard Aldington – were slightly embarrassed [each received  £50] they had all but forgotten her.  Sinclair had not published for several years, due to the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease, and she died largely unknown.  Yet she had once been feted, first as a writer of social and psychological realism, and second, as a Modernist innovator.”

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                        Archie Henderson gives us two invaluable online resources: Richard Aldington: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center: and Location Register of the 20th-century English literary manuscripts and letters;

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                        The anthology of First World War stories mentioned some time ago is due to appear in October 2007 (UK) and early 2008 (US) respectively.  It will be titled The Penguin Book of First World War Stories, and was edited by Barbara Korte, who also wrote the introduction, and Ann-Marie Einhaus.  The volume will include one of RA’s short stories, “Victory.”

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                        Correspondent Mike Copp e-mailed: “On BBC4 on 25 April I watched a programme, ‘The Menace of the Masses’ in which John Carey gave a highly selective, specious and tendentious slant on various modernist writers and painters.  At one point, when he was attacking Pound, Carey showed the celebrated 1914 photograph of RA, Pound, Flint, Yeats, Sturge Moore and Plarr, together with William Scawen Blunt whom they had come to honour.  This may well have been the first time that this photograph has appeared on television.”

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                        Associate Editor David Wilkinson sends the following valuable information about a part of his RA collection: RA’s correspondence with Bertram and Greta Eskell

  1. 2pp. TLs, RA to Bertram (Bertie) Cecil Eskell.  Cavendish Hotel, Jeremy St., London. 30 Nov. 1935.

  2. 1p. TLs, RA to Greta and Bertram Eskell.  Villa Koeclin, Le Canadal, France. 3 January 1939.

  3. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA, Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.  No sender’s address.  15 January 1941.

  4. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA, Viking Press, N.Y.  No sender’s address  2 January 1941.

  5. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell To RA, DuPont Circle, Connecticut Ave., Washington D.C.,  No sender’s address. 25 February 1941.

  6. 1p. TLs, RA to Bertie Eskell.  Jamay Beach, Nokomis, Florida.  26 November 1941.

  7. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA, Jamay Beach, Florida.  No sender’s address.  1 December 1941.

  8. 1p. TLs, RA to Bertie Eskell, Jamay Beach, Nokomis, Florida, 20 December 1941.

  9. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA. No sender’s address. 26 December 1941.

  10. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA.  No sender’s address. 9 February 1942.

  11. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA.  No sender’s address. 5 March 1942.

  12. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA.   No sender’s address.  24 March 1942.

  13. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA.  No sender’s address.   6 March 1942.

  14. 1p. TLS, RA to Bertie Eskell.  8439 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood.  14 October 1942.

  15. 1p. copy TL, Bertie Eskell to RA.  No sender’s address. 22 December 1942.

  16. 1p. TLS, RA to Bertie Eskell.  8439 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood.  29 December 1942.

Associate Editor Wilkinson adds: “Not all of Aldington’s letters (and cards) to his friend are here extant.  But enclosed with this collection are photocopies of a potted biography [hand written by his niece or nephew who may be the vendor of this collection] of Bertram (Bertie) Cecil Eskell (1886-1952, a ‘highly qualified surgeon.’  Greta (formerly Kemble-Cooper), Eskell’s third wife, was a direct descendent of the Kemble-Cooper family of actors that included Sarah Siddons.  Also enclosed: Details of the ‘Kemble-Cooper Origins’ in the same hand and various Internet items [probably by the auctioneers] identifying Richard Aldington and collections of his work at H.R.C., Texas, and the Beinecke.  Accompanied also by an undated, 9” by 7” black & white photo (accredited to one Ted Allen) of a number of identified actors and actresses sat around a table rehearsing a play.  Among those identified (in pencil) is ‘B. Rath[bone] and ‘me’ although whether this is Bertie Eskell cannot be determined.  Accompanying this collection are (i) a copy of Aldington’s ‘Life Quest’ [Chatto, 1935] signed and inscribed to Greta and Bertie and dated ‘New York 1935’ (ii) a copy of ‘Modern Love: An Anthology,’ one of 1,000 copies, this one was inscribed to Greta by Temple Scott and (iii) “The Eskells: The Story of a family” by Louis B. Eskell a 1995 paperback that defines RA’s friend and correspondent.”

            Wilkinson also gives us a synopsis of the letters: “These letters illustrate a very close family friendship between ‘My Dearest Richard,’ Netta and Catherine Aldington with ‘My Dearest Greta and Bertie’.  In Nov. 1935 RA has spent time with C.P. Snow.  He mentions Derek [Patmore]’s book, his work for popular papers and magazine.  One of the sketches from ‘Artifex’ is to be broadcast.  50,000 copies of the Penguin edition of ‘Hero; are anticipated.  In January 1941 he explains his separation from Brigit, his marriage to Netta and the birth of  Catherine – named after his heroine in ‘All Men Are Enemies.’  He outlines his plans to go to the USA, but must complete a novel before sailing.  Bertie looks forward “to seeing your ugly old face’ again.  Once there, they talk of the war in Libya and of projected meetings.  Bertie is optimistic about the war, while, by 1941, RA feels that Japan ‘has been very much underestimated as a foe and is distracted from writing.  In Feb. 1942, Bertie writes that he ‘would very much like to publish RA’s recent letter as it is ‘a splendid analysis … and certainly debunks this amazing wave of uncalled for optimism.’  By March 1942 Bertie has turned down a hospital posting un the UK.  “I know you and I think that we should be in England at the present time.’  RA discusses his travels and the need to get to Hollywood when petrol rationing seemed imminent.  They stopped off at Boulder to see friends and, by Oct. 1942, were settled.  ‘Catherine has a nursery “school” close at hand which seems to please her.’  By December 1942 Bertie is working for the British Consulate.  The car is frozen and he feels for the Russians.  RA responds that under stress, he cannot wish anyone a happy year.  He has been working on ‘that dreary Wellington’ and ‘did a month at Paramount (for which I was pretty well paid) and spent the rest of the time being rather unwell and rather depressed.’  He talks at length about food supplies and his impressions of Hollywood, which he likes.  He is in agreement with Lenin on one point and feels that ‘Joe Stalin and the Russians have saved us all and that they will wind up bosses of the whole show.  Catherine has been going to ‘extravagant parties given by … infants of Hollywood movie executives’ but RA is unimpressed.

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                        NCLS member Andrew Frayn sends the following: “A new collection of essays, edited by Patricia Rae, Modernism and Mourning (Bucknell UP. 2007), contains a number of articles which may be of interest to

IRAS [and NCLS] members.  There are articles detailing H.D., Lawrence, Ford’s Last Post, and Sassoon, discussing all of these within the parameters of the title of the collection.  I have yet to see the book, but will report back in more detail when I do.”

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                        If you were in Boston on May 25 you may have stopped by the Westin Copley Square for the book- launch party for NCLS member H.R. Stonebach’s Reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.  The book is available at

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                        NCLS member Max Saunders writes to say that this year’s volume of International Ford Madox Ford Studies, Ford Madox Ford’s Literary Contacts, has gone to press and should be ready for mailing to subscribers around the 1st of September.  “It’s an excellent collection, featuring over twenty contributions.”

            The Society’s conference this year is in Genoa from the 17-19 September and will feature talks by both A.S. Byatt and Colm Toibin.  See

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                        NCLS member Michel Pharand and his family will be leaving Japan in a few months and by August will be living in Kingston, Ontario, where he will be the new Director of Queen’s University’s Disraeli Project with his wife as part-time Research Assistant.

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                        Alerted to it by Gemma Bristow in the note in NCLSN, 34.4.3, Associate Editor David Wilkinson has been to see the supposed RA manuscript offered for sale by the Sanctuary Bookshop in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.  Although this contains typed poems and an introduction, Wilkinson’s instinct is that this is not an original RA manuscript but has been copied from RA texts by an admirer, perhaps Yvonne Chartris whose autographed name [unknown in RA circles?]—and the date, 1934—appears on the front free end paper.  Overleaf, we read that: “This Anthology has been made from Collected Poems 1915-1923.  George Allen & Unwin Ltd.”  Under the typed title, “Introduction,” there then follows typed extracts from the George Allen & Unwin edition.  A full description of this item can be had, together with jpg images, from the bookseller who claims that the accompanying watercolour illustrations were by RA.  Wilkinson would be happy to be contradicted but has no evidence that RA ever drew anything.  A further suggestion in the bookseller’s description rather implies that a manuscript correction to the text is by RA.  It is not.  The opening line of the poem, “Exile,” in the mentioned anthology includes the word “promonory.”  The correction mentioned reads: “Misprint in the book?  Copied exactly.  Surely promontory.”  Reference to the first edition of Exile and Other Poems [George Allen & Unwin. 1923] confirms that this is exactly what RA intended.  This seems to underline Wilkinson’s feeling that this whole item was copied by a third party.  The bookseller’s description reports that within this item there is: “a working drawing for a bookplate that we think is by Lawrence Whistler” and he told Wilkinson that the provenance is from a branch of the Whistler family.

(For further information, contact Bob Speer, Sanctuary Bookshop, Lyme Regis, Dorset, United Kingdon.  Telephone: 00-44-1297-445815 or e-mail:

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                        Correspondent and Bibliographer Shelley Cox writes: I have spent since February cataloging 19th century children’s books from a large collection accumulated over the years for Southern Illinois University.  These are the books that RA and almost all of the 20th century writers that I have researched have read during their childhoods.  For instance there is a bit of Captain Frederick Marryat, who is mentioned in Ulysses, and many other authors who were the J.K. Rowlings of their day, like Oliver Optic and Mrs. Molesworth.  After skimming many of these books—necessary to assign subject headings—I have realized what a strange body of work this is and how it must have affected all of those young brains of those forced to read them.  A world that does not resemble in any way the real world.  They are so different from the books that I read during the mid-20th century, and far removed from the current world of children’s books.  Most of the biographies of the famous 20th century writers have mentioned youthful reading, but I wonder if any have really studies the books that influenced those writers.