Queen’s Gardens, Hyde Park, London: 1919, 1920.
Each letter 4 pages, with Received stamp of Quinn’s office on first page. 8vo. Symons to His Patron John Quinn. Old folds. Fine Provenance: John Quinn; his sister Julia Anderson; and by descent. Item #323079
Substantial letters from Arthur Symons to New York lawyer John Quinn, the great collector and patron of literature. Symons (1865-1945), was editor of the Savoy magazine and then the influential interpreter of the French Symbolists for the Anglo-American literary world.
In the first letter, Symons acknowledges receipt of “£80.0.0 and your most interesting letter. Putnam’s cabled last week to stop the American publication of my Confessions … I shall send you some of my best MSS with typed copies; and destroy most of the rest, as there is no market here for such things. … Before I start on my expedition to Spain I want to arrange for the publication of my finished book: A Study of Charles Baudelaire, here and in America; the greater part having been printed in American magazines. Today the 29th, a signed and unprinted letter of Baudelaire reached me dated Novembre 29, 1859! It is written to de Broise, Poulet Malassis’ partner as publisher, and it ends in queries: “Et Gautier, qui se plaint? Et moi? He refers to his book on Gautier that came out in January 1850. Yours ever, Arthur Symons”
The second letter, almost a year later, Symons again writes his patron, “I send you all my thanks for your liberality in sending me a cheque for £74 and for your delightful letter.” He goes on to discuss books, “as for first editions, I have the whole of Rossetti’s, of Swinburne’s, and all but two of the whole of Meredith’s works: Farina (1857) and Poems (1851) … The revised proofs of Baudelaire are here … I am having the title-page printed in red and black ink as in Malassis’ editions of Baudelaire. I am not surprised to hear of [Augustus] John not keeping his agreements with you. He is as difficult to deal with as the Devil whom he certainly resembles.”
With three receipts for Quinn’s drafts on the National Bank of Commerce for sterling payments to Symons, in the amounts of £14/8, £20, and £74, 1914-1922.
After a mental breakdown in 1908, Symons’ “many articles and books, which usually consisted of revised articles previously published, too often revealed incoherence. Inevitably, his reputation as a noted critic and poet declined” (ODNB). The first letter alludes to his account of his madness, Confessions, A Study in Pathology, which was ultimately published by the Fountain Press in 1930.
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