Autograph Letter, signed, to the literary agent, Major Pond, on Benêt’s “John Brown’s Body” and a possible lecture series under Pond’s management. Stephen Vincent Benêt.
Autograph Letter, signed, to the literary agent, Major Pond, on Benêt’s “John Brown’s Body” and a possible lecture series under Pond’s management

Benêt on John Brown: “I tried to do my best with him…”

Autograph Letter, signed, to the literary agent, Major Pond, on Benêt’s “John Brown’s Body” and a possible lecture series under Pond’s management.

[New York]: September 17, 1928.

4 pp., on stationery of “Hotel Le Marquis”. 8vo. Benêt on John Brown: “I tried to do my best with him…”. Two perforations in upper left corner, legibility unaffected. Item #248647

Fascinating letter, written soon after the publication of Benêt’s most enduring poem, JOHN BROWN’S BODY (1928), to America’s most eminent literary agent of the day, Major Pond.

“Thank you very much indeed for your interesting letter. I am particularly glad that someone who was actually brought up in the John Brown atmosphere, as you were, would have been in any way satisfied with the reconstruction I attempted of the period -- and of the character of that most contradictory man. I tried to do my best with him -- but one never knows and your letter gave me great pleasure.

“I have given a couple of readings from the poem to small audiences — and not under the management of any lecture bureau. And, if I were going to do that thing at all, it goes without saying that I would be much more interested in a proposition from yourself than from anyone else. But, to be perfectly frank, I am not going to do it at all unless I have to. I am not a good lecturer — my voice does not carry particularly — and while I enjoy reading my verse, it's pretty tiring to do it more than once in every so often. However I appreciate your thinking of me in this connection -- and, as I say, if it ever did seem advisable for me to do anything of the sort, I'd much rather do it under your management …”.

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