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124 Handwritten: September 1, [1940].

1 Sept.

The Sheffolds


Dear Virginia, Bob has just finished reading aloud your Roger Fry to me, and I want so much to tell you what delight it has given me. I think it is a marvelous achievement, and it must often have given you difficulty, just because you were so near to him & all his life & work--the selecting & composing must have been bewildering. There is never too much, never that dreary insistence on formal detail because it is 'biographical'--one is always wanting to know more about this or that, and always one is satisfied. Then I was always conscious of a beautiful rhythm in the book--perhaps in the sense that Roger used the word?--but also more closely in the musical sense, and in a way which I have felt before in yr books. Drawing the analogy too closely is misleading, but the feeling is as of listening to a large scale symphonic movement with a quiet introduction, hinting at later themes--then the gradual statement of those themes & their development & interweaving, and recapitulation & development in other keys--it is all there, and then the quieter coda with remembrance of earlier themes. This may all sound nonsensical to you, and it probably only means that your biography, like all real works of art, convinces one by its own sense of form. I am immensely grateful to you for having written it--this and Morgan's Life of Goldie are to me the two great biographies of our day. I was so very fond of Roger, but always a little shy & afraid of him until the last ten years or so, & then I regret we saw so little of him; he was abroad so much & somehow Bob rather dropped out of his life. I was therefore so glad to read more about those years.

What agony this time of hatred & stupidity would have been to him!

I do hope you & Leonard are keeping well.

yrs affectionately

Elizabeth Trevelyan


Elizabeth (Bessie) Trevelyan (1874-1957) was married to R. C. Trevelyan (1872-1951). Originally from the Netherlands, she translated J. H. van der Hoop's Character and the Unconscious: A Critical Exposition of the Psychology of Freud and of Jung (1923) and Robert Fruin's The Siege and Relief of Leyden in 1574 (1927) and wrote The Foreigner in the English Landscape for the Abinger Chronicle in March 1940. See Woolf's reply, dated September 4, 1940, L6: 425-26 (3641), along with her letter to Bob Trevelyan, dated August 12, 1940, L6 412 (3526).

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Publication:Woolf Studies Annual
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:123 Handwritten: [late August/early September 1940].
Next Article:126 Handwritten: September 8, 1940.

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