My Blog List

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Part Two: Journals, Letters, Diaries and Sundry

                       Eyelight Blog Post Texts The Infinite Project

 I will not be succumbent
(Georg Cantor -- the man who analysed Infinity, who Russell admired -- his countless and countable infinities

The ventriloquised, cacophonic texts of Brass tend to different, although not unrelated
questions: are there limits to poetic language? Is poetic language radically heterogeneous, and if so, what is left of the form, (or gestalt), of art? Does poetry give access to a hidden order of meaning, or is it simply a play of surfaces? Is poetry finally more than a collection of utterances under the heading 'poetry'? From Mallarme onwards, the 'obscurity' of modernist writing challenges tacit assumptions about the nature and function of poetry, eliciting ontological questions about the purity or impurity of the poem in relation to other modes of discourse. In Prynne's poetry, obscurity is combined with excess: there is always more language, more reference, more signification in an expenditure which may or may not be concerned to recuperate some core of meaning from its riot of utterances. Prynne's poems mime the signs of readability only to withdraw them at the moment the reader believes intellectual purchase has been gained...


Then it was not as now....



what is a mark, a spot?
why do we link these points?
Immense jump from straight lines to
the rich complex geometries of
Riemann, Gauss, Poincare and others…

I once read about Poincare in the Howick library’s
Encyclopaedia Britannica
one of my favourite books –
and his (like Giordano Bruno’s) endlessly recurring Universes

It is said that these men such as Einstein think in different ways:
“I frequently find myself thinking in images” Einstein is said to
have said…

Bruno was burnt for his ideas. (We kill for the Idea.)
vast strange universe.
so many in pain.

But Life, like a huge Engine –
pumps on…things seem ceaseless…
vast strange, vast strange:
grim old bright grin Man

…things seem

night cap

i am relatively old
(everyone is)

i wear a woolen cap or hat as
i am now quite or nearly bald…

But I am thankful for life

---------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------------


I just brushed my teeth -
This too is a beautiful act.

------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------


I am reading Is This a Man by Primo Levi.

He survived hell, he survived Auschwitz.
He, it is believed committed suicide not long
After that book was published in English.
We think of the millions, and Celan, and Anne Frank.

What, except platitudes, are left us?

Life we must keep contract with.
Let us live as well as we can.

----------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------

the curve, the silver, the gold
the simple ‘clong’ or ‘tong’
of a bell -

the endless seas (not far a Tui sings)

-------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------


all men, all women, all: even
the ‘good’, the reformers, the world changers:
all die

------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------


good - bad
bad - good
------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------


I said I was a poet –
In fact I insisted vociferously:
But the SS men still kicked me to death

------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------------------

I talk

I talk to myself, AND, yes, I do indeed talk back, for who else wants to or who else would listen?
So I have long discussions and disputations with myself: these
conversations go on frequently – arguments ensue and great speeches
of enormous historic significance take place. You have no idea.
And there is more – songs are sung, and great bursts of sound, chuckles, mad laughter, joyful mirth is heard – and comedy speeches – and
Lashings and lashings of verbals and verbals and verbals and –

such wonder!

It is great fun – a kind of licit madness


I make a speech of great, nay, vast historical significance

Here it is: “I was, I, well, things happened
I ate things, I, I...lived...thank you.”

------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------

“And once I wrote…”

…the last word shall want a word.

we beat strange
we beat strange
we beat strange

the sky is above us



we are transitory here: victims of our cleverness:

have we sinned? are we > sinned than singeing?
the song, the Laugh is lost in futile greatnesses: and the longed for end & amp; agony of Not ness stupids our (my) writing doing doings...
But these fires: here He lies unloved forever
where the grinning Zilch will soon preside: before
expungement of 'all that spittle', 'all that useless love'. (but loved forever is
Latin or Greek or Welsh we cant quite.....we recall a dim memory,
of some one we were, who was -- did the words begin
with L or P? but - you, you, 'shon, shon!' - undress;
we do, obediently, quickly in the sheer terror of hope as the giggling mind brings to mind a word like:
Parapatheticationatis which seems as good as anything to say, for it almost means... so, Dog Fire we obey, and
we undress for our showers: & amp; we begin our endings,
our the Arrow goes back...and we commence our slide into mud Time's slime: pages of the burning Book reveal ravaged meanings, decaying forms, disconnects, and,
say: this unreliable speaking fragment:

this mud A begat this molecule B
who begat J who begat M who begat endless Begatness...
but here we leave off:

for now the Black Book shuts, burns as told:
fires explode, inexorable, and unbeatably horrid
and rigid aridity as all unapposable things
all things of chaos and vacant-faced fire
and the Illusion of the Real and of Good:
these total Errors of Light, these Potatoes: leering idiot visages of the inane chemical ragings of Nolove Nohate NoMemory...

in useless agony the Fire Heros toil against the insane heat:
I say again: 

'What horror does the smothered scream, the
twisting of the limbless hope, the
dessicated death?'

------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------------


------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------------

                                        My news of Joy is great today

With Hone and Petie and Alex he played in the bushland round the corner where the horses clopped along, or up around the dusty railway lines, noticing the grains in things, the burning gritty overlay to everything that could be called real. Over that, their words to each other, like separate floating blobs.

The ideogram, he explained, "means the thing or action or situation, or quality germane to the several things that it pictures."

an image was "an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time."


 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- composer and writer of strange & amusing letters.


Mozart to Marrianne, November 5th, 1777.

When he wasn't Amadeus Mozart could often be found writing shockingly crude and often baffling letters to his family. The fine example seen here, admirably translated by Robert Spaethling, was penned to Mozart's 19-year-old cousing and possible love interest, Marriane - also known as "Betsie" ["little cousin"] - in November of 1777, at which point [Mozart] was 21 years of age.

Note: The term "spuni cuni fait" was used in many of Mozart's letters. Its meaning is unknown.

Dearest cozz buzz!

I have received reprieved your highly esteemed writing biting, and I have noted doted
that my uncle garfuncle, my aunt slant, and you too, are all well mell. We, too, thank
god, are in good fettle mettle. Today I got a letter setter from my Papa Haha safely into my paws claws. I hope you too have gotten rotten my note quote that I wrote for
you in Mannheim. So much the better, better the much so! But now for some thing
more sensuble.

So sorry to hear that Herr Ablate Salate had had another stroke choke. But I hope with the help of God fraud the consequences will not be dire mire. You are writing
fighting that you keep your criminal promise which you gave me before my departure
from Augsburg, and will do it soon moon. Well, I will most likely find that regrettable. You write further, indeed you let it all out, you expose yourself, you indicate to me, you bring me the news, you announce onto me, you state in broad daylight, you demand, you desire, you wish you want, you like, you command that I, too, should send you my Portrait. Eh bien, I shall mail fail it for sure.Oui, by the love of my skin, I shit on your nose, so it runs down your chin.

apropós, do you also have the spuni cuni fait?---what?---whether you still love me?--I beleive it! so much the better, better the much so! Yes, that's the way of the world, I'm told, one has the purse, the other has the gold; whom do you side with?--with me, n'est-ce-pas?---I believe it! Now things are even worse, apropós.
Wouldn't you like to visit Herr Gold-smith again?---but what for?--what?---
nothing!---just to inquire, I guess, about the Spuni Cuni fait, nothing else, nothing else?---well, well, all right. Long live those who---who---who---how does it go on?---
I now wish you a good night, shit in your bed with all your might, sleep with peace on your mind, and try to kiss your own behind; I now go off to never-never land and sleep as much as I can stand. Tomorrow we'll speak freak sensubly with each other. Things I must tell you a lot of, believe it you hardly can, but hear tommorrow it already will you, be well in the meantime. Oh my ass burns like fire! what on earth is the meaning of this!---maybe much wants to come out? yes, yes, muck, I know you, see you, taste you---and---what's this---is it possible? Ye Gods!---Oh ear of mine are you deceiving me?---No, it's true---what a long and melancholic sound!---today is the write I fifth of this letter. Yesterday I talked with the stern Frau Churfustin, and tommorrow, on the 6th, I give a performance in her chambers, as the Furstin-Chur said to me herself. Now for something real sensuble!

A letter addressed to me will come into your hands, and I must beg of you---where?---well a fox is no hare---yes, there!---Now, where was I?---oh yes, now, I remember: letters, letters will come---but what kind of letters?---well now, letters for me of course, I want to make sure that you send these to me; I will let you know where I'll be going from Mannheim. Now, Numero 2: I'm asking you, why not?---I'm asking you, dearest numbskull, why not?---if you are writing anyway to Madame Tavernier in Munich, please include regards from me to the Mademoiselles Feysinger, why not?---Curious! why not?---and to the Younger, I mean Frauline Josepha, tell her I'll send my sincere apologies, why not?---why should I not apologize?---Curious!---I want to apologize that I haven't yet sent her the sonata that I promised, but I will send it as soon as possible, why not?---why shouldn't I send it?---why should I not transmit it?---why not?---I wouldn't know why not?---well, then you'll do me this favor,---why not?---why shouldn't you do this for me?---why not?, it's so strange! After all, I'll do it to you too, if you want me to, why not?---why shouldn't I do it to you?---curious! why not?---I wouldn't know why not?---and don't forget to send my Regards to the Papa and Mama of the 2 young ladies, for it is terrible to be letting and forgetting one's father and mother. Later, when the sonata is finished,---I will send you the same, and a letter to boot; and you will be so kind as to forward the same to Munich.

And now I must close and that makes me morose. Dear Herr Uncle, shall we go quickly to the Holy Cross Convent and see whether anybody is still up?---we wont stay long, jut ring the bell, that's all. Now I must relate to you a sad story that happened just this minute. As I am in the middle of my best writing, I hear a noise in the street. I stop writing---get up, go to the window---and---the noise is gone---I sit down again, start writing once more---I have barely written ten words when I hear the noise again---I rise---but as I rise, I can still hear something but very faint---it smells like something burning---wherever I go it stinks, when I look out the window, the smell goes away, when I turn my head back to the room, the smell comes back---finally My Mama says to me: I bet you let one go?---I don't think so, Mama. yes, yes, I'm quite certain, I put it to the test, stick my finger in my ass, then put it to my nose, and---there's the proof! Mama was right!

Now farewell, I kiss you 10000 times and I remain as always your

Old young Sauschwanz
Wolfgang Amade Rosenkranz
From us two Travelers a thousand
Regards to my uncle and aunt.
To every good friend I send
My greet feet; addio nitwit.
Love true true true until the grave,
If I live that long and do behave.

Mannheim, 5 November. 1777

                                                   Richard Taylor

Te Ika a Maui   by Richard Taylor

Or, [much information about NZ]

Richard Taylor

[Rev. Richard Taylor (1805 - 1873) was an English missionary, who wrote extensively on Maori culture and the plant and animal life of New Zealand. Taylor graduated from Queen's College, Cambridge in 1828 and was ordained as an Anglican priest the same year. .... He was appointed as a missionary to New Zealand for the Church Missionary Society. He arrived in ....... New Zealand in 1839. Taylor quickly became a peacekeeper between the different Maori tribes in his district. This volume, first published in 1855, provides a detailed account of Maori mythology and culture with a description of the plant life, animal life and geology of the North Island. Taylor strongly condemns contemporary (nineteenth century) attitudes to Maori culture and demonstrates the complexity of their culture in this book.]


CIVILIZED man is too apt to look down upon the more unenlightened portion of his race as belonging to an inferior order of beings; ignorance of interest have given rise to many calumnies against the aboriginal inhabitants of remote lands, especially against those who differ from us in color. It becomes a sufficient plea with those who regard themselves of the higher race to depress and destroy the inferior [as they perceive other human beings]. This has been the fruitful cause of the greatest enormities: man has treated his fellow man as beasts of the field, and has bought and sold them as such: it is only in the present generation that an effort has been made to efface this blot on our civilization, and even yet the Anglo-American Christian maintains its lawfulness. Whole races of aboriginees have disappeared; they have not been considered as entitled to hold their own inheritance [more horror was to come and is continuing in this respect: this was written before the events in Bury My Heart in Wounded Knee by Dee Brown had taken place but not before the destruction and depredations of settlers in the US and before that the holocaust of the Spanish Conquistadors that Montaigne, in the 16th Century, questioned deeply in his great philosophic and questioning Essayes. Taylor may have known something of this also.] The entire continent of America was taken away from its inhabitants and solemnly bestowed by the Roman Pontiff, on those who went to plunder and destroy them; and even in our own colonies how much have we to blush for! The Australian [Aboriginal people] has been shot and poisoned and plundered of his lands; the Tasmanian was hunted with dogs and exterminated, and that too by the authority of the Government itself. In New Zealand there is no doubt something similar would have taken place, if the natives had not been too numerous, too warlike, and too intelligent to be thus dealt with; otherwise the order to seize all their wastelands, as they were [wrongly] styled, would doubtless have been attempted; but even these qualifications would not have been of any avail, had not the Almighty cast his shield over them as a portion of the household of faith.*
To raise a better and more correct view, of those commonly regarded as savages, we must have a more perfect acquaintance with them, and the more intimate that is, the more readily shall we allow their claims to brotherhood [here Taylor reflects 19th Century views of the liberal and "good" middle classes including clerics and religious men including himself, and talks of the Maori of having fallen (in not those terms per se but in meaning) so that they may one day as (presumably they embrace good Christian values and beliefs etc of the implied "better" civilization (Tim Shadbolt's Syphilization)]...and when those causes are removed, they will again rise to their former standing, and rank with the most favored sections of the human family.
...we become acquainted with their language, manners, and customs, we find that they possess mind as well as ourselves adn only want similar advantages to obtain equal enlargement of it. Our ideas are so different from those primitive and isolated people, that theirs may seem at first to betoken an inferiority of mind; but when we can enter into the causes, which have operated in producing the difference, we must allow the result to be quite natural.
...even [the Australian Aboriginee], who has been cast in the lowest grade, and been viewed as more closely allied to the brute than to the human species, possesses mind, ingenuity, contrivance, and perfection, too, in his way, far beyond what might be expected; and that were we to place one of our own laborers, or even a more enlightened member of society [why cant he see that this comparison is, paradoxically, part of the problem: the assumption of spiritual or moral or other "Progress"? Taylor is a part of his society and is 'better' that those who simply did, and still do, dismiss, all such people as inferior to those who are "civilized" -- and in Australia [as he knew, he was there and new of some of the barbarities there inflicted on the indigenous people, and indeed the genocide -- he is very enlightened for his times. Very few, except such as he educated in the English or other Universities could grasp the subtleties -- and he did a lot of good work. He is part of the System or of History. And yet, in his good parts, and he seems a basically good man, we owe him a lot as the history tells us.], in a similar position, it would be a long time before he could attain, and equal degree of knowledge in any of those arts, which are needful for the support of life.
This is no fanciful assertion....[for example, in early 1830-60 NZ]; but in obtaining food, how far is the boasted member of civilized life, behind the despised savage. The native of New Holland [NZ, i.e. the Maori people] not only knows where to look for it, but how to obtain it; he can fabricate from the raw materials of the wilderness, the proper snare or net; he can make his spear and use it with unfailing success, and barren and unproductive as his country appears to us, in furnishing natural food, it has a sufficiency for those who know how to find and take it.
...the subject of civilization. With us, society is divided to an indefinite extent; one is brought up in one useful art, and another in another; with a few exceptions there are none who can turn their hands to any other, than their own perculiar calling. The New Zealander [Maori or a member of the many tribes in NZ at the time of Taylor's book], on the contrary, is acquainted with every branch of knowledge, common to his race **: he can bulid his house, he can make his canoe, his nets, his lines; he can manufacture snares to suit every bird; he can form traps for the rat; he can fabricate his garments, and every tool and implement he requires, whether for agriculture or war; he can make ornaments of ivory of of the hardest stone, and these too with the most simple and apparently unsuitable instruments, sawing his ivory without loss, with a muscle-shell, and his hard green jade stone one piece with another, with only the addition of a little sand and water; and all these works,it must be remembered, he could accomplish without the aid of iron, which was unknown before Cook's time. It was not a single individual or a few who were adept in these various arts, but every one....In the battlefield they were warriors, in the council they were orators; military would be no easy matter to find any European who, in so many respects, could equal the despised savage of New Zealand.

[Taylor points out the positive values of 'tapu' despite the negative aspects, we might feel of 'revenge', Taylor doesn't say it, but Richard Taylor I say as I have read that it was as much about balancing nature as for revenge. Also Hone Heke's chivalry in dealing with a defeated enemy and contrasted with the terrible massacres of the French of the Oulad Riahs in their rebellion against the French who colonized Algeria...basically, trapped in a cave '....the French officer commanded his men to stop up the entrances with combustible materials, and then set fire to them, and to keep those fires burning the whole of the night. [The terrible result is described by Taylor (his example is conveniently of a Catholic nation? The British were also responsible of similar atrocities in varous places, and indeed the entire history of colonization and European expansion, we know is thus, more or less.]

...but the the soldiers had nerve enough to to plunder the corpses of their jewels!" At one fell blow 800 to 1000 beings thus fearfully perished!! And this too in the nineteenth century, and, as they eye witness of this horrid holocaust states, the perpetrators belonged to a nation boasting itself pre-eminently, as the most polite and civilized in the world;" and, in addition too, he might have said, professedly

Christian, as well.
After Kororareka fell into Heke's hands, he allowed the inhabitants to re-enter their houses, and carry off their chief valuables; he spared the churches and the houses of the ministers; and after the battle was terminated, he was not guilty of a single act of cruelty, but showed great feeling and forbearance....

[New Zealanders -- Maori people as we might call them, or the more recent term 'Tangata Whenua' -- were not saints, had customs & ways Europeans might criticise or revile -- but they were human beings with many good attributes.]

*But Taylor was not to know the full extent of the slow and sometimes fast invasion of Aotearoa by colonists, speculators and deforestors that continued through wars and still is a factor in politics and protest even today (November 2019 as I write this out from my namesake's book. Of course, he evokes his religion over that of Catholicism. But all such religions assisted in these destructions of culture and people he talks about. But still this remains a fascinating book by a wise and good man.

** 'Race' was and still is used erroneously here: it was particularly common a term in
the times preceding the present. Of course there are different groups of people but defining them as a 'race' was automatic as was talking about 'Man' rather than people.
Is Taylor thus 'bad', a racist? Could even he transcend that?

.................. ......................................... ................................ .............................

Wiremu Kingi to the Governor.

Waitara, 25th April, 1859.
Salutations to you. Your letter has reached me about TeTeira's and Te Retimana's thoughts. I will not agree to our bedroom being sold. (I mean Waitara here), for this bed belongs to the whole of us: and do not you be in haste to give the money. Do you hearken to my word. If you give the money secretly, you will get no land for it. You may insist, but I will never argree to it. Do not suppose that this is nonsense on my part: no, it is true, for it is an old word: and now I have no new proposal to make, either as regards selling or anything else. All I have to say to you, O Governor, is that none of this land will be given to you, never, never, not till I die.

I have heard it said that I am to be imprisoned because of this land. I am very sad because of this word. Why is it? You should remember that the Maories and the Pakehas are living quietly upon their pieces of land, and therefore do not you disturb them. Do not say also that there is no one so bad as myself.

This is another word to you, O Governor. The land will never, never be given
to you, not till death. Do not be axious for men's thoughts. This is all I have to say to you.

From your loving friend,

Sealers, Whalers, and Burial Places

Tuhawaiki to George Clarke Jnr. and Colonel Wakefield at Otakou (Otago) Harbour.
George Clarke wrote: 'The principal Chiefs were Tuhawaiki and Taiaroa ... One day we crossed over with them to look at ground which they wished to retain, and, walking to the top of the hill, Tuhawaiki asked the Colonel, Mr Symonds, and myself to sit down. Stretching out his arm and pointing with his finger ... he said,
Look here, and there, and there and yonder; those are all burial places, not ancestral burial places, but those of this generation. Our parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, children, they lie thick around us. We are but a poor remnant now...The wave which brought Ruaparaha and his allies to the Strait, washed him over to the Southern Island. He went through us, fighting and burning and slaying. At Kaikoura, at Kaiapoi, and at all other of our strongholds, hundreds and hundreds of our people fell, hundreds more were carried off as slaves, and hundreds died of cold and starvation in their flight. We aer now dotted in families, few and far between, where we formerly lived as tribes. But we had a worse enemy than even Rauparaha, and that was the visit of the Pakeha with his drink and his disease. You think us very corrupted, but the very scum of Port Jackson shipped as whalers or landed as sealers on this coast. They brought us new plagues, unknown to our fathers, till our people melted year, a ship came from Sydney, and she brought the measles among us. It was winter, as it is now. In a few months most of the inhabitants sickened and died. Whole families on this spot disappeared and left no one to represent them. My people lie all around us, and now you can tell Wide-awake (Wakefield) why we cannot part with this portion of our land.
[ The great chief George Clarke writes in Notes on Early Life in New Zealand, Hobart 1903, pp. 62-63....was respected...]....'His place of residence was on the Island of Ruapuke...but he travelled a great deal, because his influence and authority extended....[He was welcoming and fair with most Pakeha and other Maori]...When in his dealings with Europeans he had to sign important papers, he drew the beautiful spiral curves and lines with which his face was tatooed...The prospect of having a European colony ni his district was of great importance to him; but he was prudent, and kept such thoughts [re land purchase etc] to himself.' J.F.H. Wohlers, Memories of the The Life of J. F. H. Wohlers, edited by John Houghton, Dunedin 1895, pp 86-97.

The Waitangi Treaty Debate, 1840

The British Government extended authority only slowly over its subjects in New Zealand. Thomas Kendall was designated a Justice of the Peace in 1814. The New South Wales settler, James Busby, was appointed official Resident in 1832. In 1834 he assisted a group of chiefs from the Bay of Islands – Hokianga districts to choose a New Zealand flag, and the following year to sign a declaration of independence. In 1839 Captain Hobson was sent to negotiate a treaty transferring sovereignity from ' the chiefs of the confederated tribes' to Great Britain. The wording and negotiation of the treaty were left to 'amateurs' in Australia and New Zealand; much in the same way as, at the same period, on a more vast and far-reaching scale, attempts at negotiation were approved between British personnel and Chinese authorities which led to the European-Chinese wars of 1839-60

[This refers to the 2 Opium Wars which were in British and French reaction to the Chinese Government's confiscation of illegal opium. European traders smuggled opium illegally into China causing huge rates of Chinese addiction. That it was illegal made no difference because of the revenues gained. Hong Kong was ceded 'in perpetuity' to Britain and huge financial extortions were exacted by the British and the French. Opium trading and growing in China were enforced as legal. Britain and France thus were able to force Chinese farmers to grow opium and also opium was sold in China and Britain and other places. The Imperialist forces thus acted de facto as criminals trading in narcotics: like modern gangs, and local Chinese also traded. This corrupt extortion and 'gun boat diplomacy' was part of the cynical process of the Anglo-French Imperialisms....Maori were dealing with a huge, corrupt gang of drug dealers and murders, with whom they were making a treaty! Maori knew a lot by now about European affairs but probably were fooled by some of the apparent 'good guys' etc. What if they had known of the long terrible details of Colonialism and the destruction of indigenous peoples, in some cases the extermination of them in so many parts of the world by European Imperialist nations?]

4.1 Waitangi, 5 February

From speeches at a meeting held in front of James Busby's house.

i. Te Kemara: Go Back

Health to thee, O Governor! This is mine to thee, O Governor! I am not pleased towards thee.... I will not consent to thy remaining here in this country. If thou stayest as Governor, the, perhaps,Te Kemara will be judged and condemned. Yes, indeed, and more than that – hung by the neck. No, no, on; I shall never say 'YES' to your staying. Were all to be on an equality, then, perhaps, Te Kemara would saty, 'Yes;' but for the Governor to be up and Te Kemara down – Governor high up, up, up, and Te Kemara down low, smal, a worm, a crawler – No, no, no. O Governor! This is mine to thee. O Governor! My land us gone, gone, all gone. The inheritances of my ancestors, fathers, relatives, all gone, stolen, gone with the missionaries. Yes, they have it all,all, all. That man there, the Busby, and that man there, the Williams, they have my land. The land on which we are now standing this day is mine! This land, even this under my feet, return it to me. O Governor! Return me my lands. Say to Williams, 'Return to Te Kemara his land.' Thou....thou, thou, thou bald-headed man – thou hast got my lands....I do not wish thee to stay.....

ii Rewa: This Country is Ours

What do Native men want of a Governor? We are not whites nor foreignors. This country is ours, but the land is gone.....No, no. Return. I, Rewa, say to thee, O Governor! Go back.

4.4 v Tareha: This is My Food

Our lands are nearly all gone. Yes, it is so, but our names remain. Never mind; what of that – the lands of our fathers alienated? Dost thou think we are poor, indigent, poverty-stricken – that we really need thy foreign garments, thy food? Lo! Note this. (Here he held up high a bundle of fern-roots he carried in his hand, displaying it.) See, this is my food, the food of my ancestors, the food of the Native people. Pshaw, Governor! To think of tempting men – us Natives – with baits of clothing and food!....No, no, no. I will never say 'yes, stay.' Go back, return; make haste away. Let me see you (all) go, thee and thy ship. Go, go; return, return.


4.1 William Colenso, The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the
Treaty of Waitangi, Wellington 1890, pp. 17-27, and T. L. Buick, The Treaty of
Waitangi, New Plymouth 1936, p. 142.

[Tareha] 'Tareha was clother with a filthy piece of carse old floor-matting,
loosely tied around him....He was evidently dressed in this manner in order the
more effectually to ridicule the supposition of the New-Zealanders (Maori as
opposed to Pakeha) being in want of any extraneous aid of clothing, etc., from
foreign nations. He also carried in his hand, by a string, a bunch of dried fern-
root, formerly their common vegetable food, as bread with us. His habit, his
immense size – tall and very robuest (being by far the biggest Native in the
whole district) – and his deep sepulchral voice, conspired to give him peculiar
prominence, and his words striking effect.....

[Not all Maori signed. Many chiefs did.]

[Tamati Waaka Nene spoke in a more accommodating way.]

vi Tamaki Waaka Nene: Is Not the Land Already Gone?

I shall speak first to us,....[had they said go back to the traders of grog etc before 1840] would have been correct [to tell Busby etc to go back]....But now,as things are, no, no, no...O Governor! Sit. I, Tamati Waka, say to thee, sit. Do not thou go away from us; remain for us – a father, a judge, a peacemaker...stay thou, our friend, our father, our Governor.

Taupo and Rotorua, March – May

...ii Te Heuheu (II) Tukino at Rotorua: Do Not Consent
Hau wahine e hoki i te hau o Tawhaki - I will never consent to the mana of a woman resting upon these islands. I myself will be a chief of these isles; therefore, begone! Heed this, O ye Arawa. Here is your line of action, the line for the Arawa canoe. Do not consent, or we will become the slaves for this woman, Queen Victoria

Hone Heke and the Flag and the Question of Land

6.7 Land is Enduring

Letters from Kawiti to the Governor written in 1845.
...i You Shall Not Have My Land, September 1845.
O Friend the Governor, -- Saluting you. This is my word to you. Will you not hear my word? .... regards this, you shall not have my land....I have been fighting for my land......
This is the end of my speech. I ceses here,
From me,

6.8 You Are A Stranger

Hone Heke to Governor Fitzroy, 2 December 1845.

Friend the new Governor, -- You are a stranger. We are strangers. We do not understand your thoughts, and you do not understand our thoughts. What is the right meaning of the word of Governor Fiz Roy? Land? Not by any means -- because God made this country for us, it cannot be sliced-- if it were a Whale it might be sliced--but as for this--do you return to your own Country, to England which was made by God for you. God has made this land for us, and not for any stranger or foreign Nation to touch (or meddle with) this sacred Country. Yours is heavy. New Zealand is heavy too-- my thoughts to (or towards) Mr. Williams have ended, that is all.

10.5 A Narrow Strip of Land
The battle of Gate pa, 29th April, 1864, as described by Kowhai Ngutu Kaka.

We were on a narrow strip of land, with water on both sides of us, an enemy at our rear and an enemy in front.....Our....position was very similar to that of a snared rat or parrot, but we determined to make the best of it. The attack was about to commence from the front. We could see them dragging up their big guns to fire at out flax-sticks. It put us in mind of a man trying to tomahawk a mostquito or namu (sandfly). Our chiefs told us to keep low in the ditch, and not poke our heads above the level.

...The uproar soon commenced and we had a lively time of it; but we sat and smoked our pipes. The canons roared, the big mortars banged away, and so did the little ones, the rifles cracked, and the shower of lead and iron and bursting shells rattled over our heads. Every now and then a report like thunder was heard loud above the din. This was the hundred-and-ten pounder Armstrong gun, making a big noise....

Towards the evening the enemy in front came on with a rush and a cheer, and charged up to our ditch....The enemy in the advanced, firing volley after volley, intending them for us, but they passed on to their friends in front, who returned them with interest, thinking it came from us; but we had not fired at all. Then both sides retreated from each other, and then....we rose and gave them the contents of our guns, and they fled in haste, leaving their dead and dying with us....

We treated their wounded well ... abd gave Colonel Booth, of the 43rd, a resting place for his head, and .... water near him to slake his thirst.... We left the battlefield early the next morning.

11. Guerilla War, 1865 - 72

The Waikato river had been deeply penetrated and with gunboats, artillery, and 10,000 troops, resistance was overcome. The Waikato tribes submitted in 1865. However in the still more rugged interior, guerilla warfare continued between religious Maori leaders with their followers and colonial forces with Maori allies. Te Kooti Rikirangi founded an indigenous faith, and, from 1868 until 1872, led fighting groups on the East Coast and in the mountainous Uruwera heartland. On the West Coast, Tikowaru, chief of the Nga-ruahine tribe of the Waimate plains, fought on in Taranaki during 1868 and 1869.
11.1 Do Not Thou, O God

'A "Hauhau" prayer use in the Chatham Islands written by Te Kooti in his own hand, faithfully translated by W. Colenso.'

O God, if our hearts arise from the land in which we now dwell as slaves, adn repent and paray to Thee and confess our sins in Thy presence, then, O Jehovah, do Thou blot out the sins of Thy people, who have sinned against Thee. Do not Thou, O God, cause us to be wholly destroyed. Wherefore it is that we glorify Thy Holy Name.

11.3 The Trade in Our Heads

According to Kowhai Ngutu Kaka/

We thought that the trade in our heads, formerly carried on between the Christian pakeha and the savage Maor at the Bay of Islands, called the 'Preserved Head Trade,' had come to an end in or about the year 1830, but it was recommenced by a Governor of New Zealand. If our heads are buried at one place and our bodies elsewhere, at the last day these bodies won't know where to find their heads, and the heads won't know where their bodies are, and the confusion will be great; and probably some bodies will have to suffer for the conceived wrong of heads that did not belong to them; bu this is by no means an unusual thing to happen.....It was Sir George Bowen who offered 1000 for Tikowaru's head, not that Tikowaru felt annoyed at this, as it was only natural that having failed to remove his head from his shoulders by fair means that unfair means should be tried to obtain it....So Tikowaru offered in return half-a-crown--two shillings and sixpence....which was kept tied up for security in an old shirt, for Sir George Bowen's head. No doubt each of these great rangatira warriors knew the value of each other's head.....Sir George BOwen put us in mind of Herodias, who wished for the head of John the Baptist. Only that Herodias was successful in obtaining what she wanted, because she knew how to set about it, and Sir George Bowen was not, because he didn't.

11.4 My Own Abiding Place

Te Kooti Rikirangi "TO ALL GOVERNMENT MEN', August, 1871.

Sirs, -- This is a word of mine to you. You must give up chasing me about, because I am dwelling in my own abiding place, the bush. But if I come out to the coast then pursue me. This murderous purpose of yours is like a rat rooting in excrement. You must give it up. Send a man to tell me to come out to you in the open, where we can fight. That would be fair.


My thought is that in the maintenance of peace adn in the cultivation of food is safety. I am trying to carry out these thoughts and to accomplish them. Sirs, that idea of your that we should fight has not come to me yet; but I am about to adopt your idea. So, beware. Do not say it will not be.


Sirs, -- I sent to you some of my tyoung men to carry my letter warning you and you attacked them. Cease then to complain about your misfortune....They were you men and they loved their country. That is all. If you dislike these words, what does it matter? All the worse for you.

13. I Stand For Peace, 1879-

At his village of Parihaka, on the western prontory of Taranaki, under the morning shadow of the sacred mountain, Taranaki, for nearly thirty years Te Whiti led campaigns of passive resistance and fo forty years he preached peace.

In 1879, the Government offered for sale 16,000 acres of the Waimate plains, which included Titowaru's land and would have included Maori reserves. Te Whiti had the surveyers and their equipment loaded on drays and returned over a river boundary. From May until August, Maori ploughmen each day cut furrows through European farms across Taranaki.

Just as, in 1913, Gandhi was to lead 2,000 Indian workers on a passive resistance march from Durban to Johannesburg, being arrested three times himself during the course of the march; so, in 1881, Te Whiti enjoined 2,000 men, women and children to peace when troops came to arrest him. He was arrested and kept for two years without trial.

During 1884 and 1885, organized groups moved out 'in orderly procession' regularly from Parihaka at least once each month, stopping to enjoy hospitality at different Maori settlements.

In July, 1886, similar groups built thatched houses on several European farms. Te Whiti was re-arrested and jailed for three months. He received the same sentence again in 1889.

In 1897, when perpetual leases were granted to settlers holding a 30-year lease of Maori reserves, ploughmen again went out to overturn the soil of Taranaki.

13.1 His Presence Remains
From 'The Parihaka Song'.

Here Te Whit's white plume is in its place--
Let the winds from without come to break it.
At the darkest hour his presence remains,
Imprinted like endless tide upon my body.
From whence come misfortunes assailing us?
….Which make the downfall of our chiefs
Something murmered on the lips of the world.

13.2 We Cannot Be Overcome

We have two lands now-- the one both people are living on, and the new on. I will not scatter you now. Our place was foretold, which is Parihaka. We cannnot be overcome if we remain here, if we fled I would sacrifice myself to the gun to save you....Now all the sea and the land is shaken, even the fish in the sea tremble. The south wind is bringing men.....and the big guns are being brought....I shall place no weapons in your hands. You were imprisoned for ploughing and fencing, but there is no imprisonment for what we are now doing....I will thrust you into the mouth of guns...I have no place to hide you except on this marae, and we cannot be overcome...Those who flee from the guns will fall by them. If you are overwhelmed
in this day be patient...have faith...

13.3 Remain in Peace

Major Te Wheoro describes events at Parihaka, Taranaki.
[The House of Representatives, May 30, 1882]
This Bill provides that Te Whiti and Tohu shall be detained in prison without trial, but as he has been arrested by the law he ought to be brought to trial by the law....The Government have also brought forward an Indemnity Bill freeing them from any wrongs they have done at Parihaka, which means that the House should say that those actions taken at Parihaka were not wrong.....[Because of the need thus for those who entered Parihaka to “cover themselves” it follows that:] ….It is therefore clear that the steps taken there were excessive, and that the Bill is brought forward to justify the actions they took there.
Notwithstanding the statement of the late Premier….thousands of troops were sent up there under arms, amidst the weak and unoffending women and children. These Natives were remaining peacefully there, and were laughing at the steps taken against them. The troops then burnt their houses and rooted out their crops. When Te Whiti and Tohu were being arrested they told the Natives they were leaving behind to remain in peace during their absence, and not make any disturbance. The Natives have obeyed those words of Te Whiti and Tohu, who both gave them the same instructions. I think that Te Whiti is the best friend of the Government, although he si called a fanatic. He has told his people not to take up arms, but to leave the wrath in the hands of God....It is owing to the position taken by these two men that there has been peace in that district throughout many years....I hope that the new members in this House ….. will recollect that it was the land that caused this first trouble at Waitara....When the Government refused to listen to Wiremu Kingi's objection, he went and built a pa on the land. Therefore I say that this didn't occur off-hand, but there was a reason why this trouble arose there....and this applied to other parts of the Island, and to Taranaki when the land was taken. The confiscation pf tjos ;amd at Taranaki remained in force until the year 1977....[some Maori were allowed to have some land confiscated, and land returned] ...but consequent Governments did not define or sanction the reserves made by that Minister, and all these matters were allowed to stand over in an unsettled state up to the time when the Natives began ploughing the land. The Natives commenced to plough the land in order to test their rights of ownership....The Government...took these prisoners and left the thing standing over as it had been before. After this the Parliament appointed Commissioners to inquire into this matter, and the decision of these Commissioners had not been made known to the Natives when Te Whiti and Tou were arrested. It is for these reasons that Te Whiti did not listen to the proposals of the Government—because of the wrong way in which matters had been carried on in that part of the country. That is what Te Whiti acted [it seemed] in such a strange way— because the promisees and proposals of the Government had never been fulfilled.

...The that the Native Minister can have Te Whiti detained in prison in the South Island, and take him about and have exhibited to him all the ornaments of the Europeans, and the wonders to be seen there, with the object of enlarging his mind. But I say this: that is the best way of teaching Te Whiti what to do when he gets back...He is aman who has studied well the forms and usages of the Europeans. He has also studied well the Scriptures, and made himself master of them; and when a man thoroughly understands the Scriptures his mind is capable of understanding great things. Te Whiti received a very good education.....

.The honorable member for _____ _____ , speaking the other night with reference to the Maoris, applied the word “savages” to them. He called them a horde of savages. Sir, I would draw your attention to that, because you may judge from that what the Europeans think of the Maoris. It it is true that they are savages, what were the Europeans in the old days? I have looked up the books written by your people about yourselves, and I find that you were in a like position some years ago. I do not know whether the honorable gentleman did not know the meaning of that term, or whether he thought I did not understand him. I do not suppose that any of his ancestors ever came under that appellation...I think it is only right that any feeling of that kind should be left on one side. If we are ignorant, if we have not reached that state of enlightenment that you have, it has not been our fault. I have heard that the English race is indebted to the Romans for the first gleam of civilization, and I consider it is your place to act as the Romans did, and give us the benefit of the civilization which you possess.


13.6 By Forbearance

Published sayings of Te Whiti, recorded at Parihaka, 1879-81.
i Smite Not In Return

To the ploughmen, June, 1879.
Go, put your hands to the plough. Look not back. If any come with guns and swords, be not afraid. If they smite you, smite not in return. If they rend you, be not discouraged. Another will take up the good work. If evil thougths fill the minds of the settlers, and they flee from their farms to the town as in the war of old, enter not you into their houses, touch not their goods nor their cattle. My eye is over all.

ii Words of The Spirit
To reporters, June, 1879

When I speak of the land, the survey, the ploughman, and such small amtters, the pencils of the reporters fly witht the speed of the wind, but when I speak of the words of the spirit, they say this is the dream of a madman! They are so greedy for gain that nothing seems to concern them except it be in some way connected with accumulation of wealth.
vii Patience

To the people, 1 November, 1881.

My word to the tribe.....You must believe my teaching, or you will die. There are many days for repentance. He who seeks life shall die, and he who seeks death shall live. Let us all remain here at Parihaka, which came frm heaven, and none shall be taken...Do not think I am fighting against men, but rather against the devil and all wickedness. that he may be destroyed. Let us not use carnal weapons. Listen. Do not let us seek that which is lost--not look back to what is left. This is a day of teaching to this assembly of what shall guide us in future. The ark by which we are to be saved today is stoutheartedness, and flight is death. Let this sink into the ears of all, even the children. There is to be nothing about fighting to-day, but the glorification of God, and peace on the land. Many generations wished to see this day; but we, a blind, small, and a despised people have been chosen and glorified this day....Obey God, and glorify Him; do not be distracted by the shouting, laughing, and gathering together....My gun of to-day is not my gun of former years. All fighting is now to cease. Do not follow your won desires, lest God's sword fall upon you...The canoe by which you are saved is forbearance...It will save us all. The land we spoke of is the old land; but if we choose a new land we shall be saved....Put both your hands and your feet on the new land and stand in the ark of patience. No man, woman, or child shall say I only have not seen or heard. All will hear and see. Lightening is not seen fom one place only, but from everywhere. Let us stand on the new land...What matter to us what happens; we have our ark, as Noah of old. I now say come into the artk. Now is the glory of peace upon the land. Let us wait for the end; there is nothing else for us. Let us rest quietly upon the land. I have one word to say in addition: The young people have hitherto had their way; but to-day they must only sit down and look on.
....The south wind knows whence it cometh and whither it goeth; let the booted feet come when they like, the land shall remain firm for ever.

Te Whiti in about 1900:

"...As for our own wars of the olden times? Yes, they were the outcome of a heart closed up with envy--greed of land...greed of everything one has and the other has not. But then they were blind--madly blind."

...He leaned over and almost whispered, as he, pointing backward said: "Ask that mountain; Taranaki saw it all!" [Willliam Baucke, Where The White Man Treads...2nd ed., Auckland 1928, pp. 165-166]


          I will not be succumbent. 


Book I: June 1873 - Dec. 1881



Dear Theo by Irving Stone and Jean Stone

.....I feel that it is absolutely necessary to have good things to look at and also to see artists to work...
Even from relatively bad artists one can indirectly learn much; as, for instance, Mauve learned from Verschuur about the perspective of a stable and a wagon, and the anatomy of a horse....
....Many a good painter has not the slightest or any idea what proportions for drawing are, or beautiful lines, or characteristic composition and thought and poetry.
There are laws of proportion, of light and shadow, or perspective which one must know in order to draw well; without that knowledge it always remains a fruitless struggle, and one never brings forth anything.


The cheapest way would perhaps be for me to spend this summer at Etten; I can find there subjects enough. I am willing to give in about dress or anything else to suit them, and perhaps would meet C.M. there [I think this is Claude Monet] some day. They will always, either in or outside the family, judge me or talk about me from different points of view, and you will always hear the most different points of views about me.....[but] relatively few people know why an artist artist acts this way or that.
But in general, he who, to find picturesque spots or figures, searches all manner of places, corners, and holes which another passes by, is accused of many bad intentions and villainies which have never entered his head.
A peasant who sees me draw an old tree-trunk, and sees me sitting there for an hour, thinks that I have gone mad, and of course laughs at me. A young lady ... who turns up her nose at a labourer in his patched, dirty, and filthy clothes, of course cannnot understand why anyone...descends the shaft of a coal mine, and also comes to the conclusion that I am mad.

P 59

....Without my knowing it you have sent me money for a long time, thus helping me effectually to get on. Receive my hearty thanks.....
....It is a hard and difficult struggle to learn to draw well.

P 61

...It would not be right if in drawing from nature I took up too many details and overlooked the great things....

P 63

....I do not stand helpless before nature any longer, as I used to do. Nature always begins by resisting the artist, but he who really takes it seriously does not allow himself to be led astray by that resistance: on the contrary, it is a stimulus all the more to fight for victory. At bottom nature and a true artist agree. But nature certainly is 'intangible'; yet one must seize it, and that with a strong hand. I do not mean to say that I have reached that point already; no one thinks it less that I do, but somewhow I get on better.

P 64 -- P 67 -- P 68

There is something in my heart.
This summer a deep love has grown in my heart for our cousin K., but when I told her this she answereed me that to her past and future remained one, so she could never return my feelings.
Then there was a terrible indecision within me what to do. Should I accept her 'No, never, never,' or should I keep some hope and not give up? ....

... My position has become sharply outlined; I think I shall have the greatest trouble with the elder persons, who consider the question as settled and finished, ....

... He who has not learned to say, 'She and no other, ' does he know what love is?....
...Father and Mother are good at heart but have little understanding of our feelings. They love us with all their hearts, and I as well as you love them very much indeed, but alas, practical advice they cannot give us in many cases....

.... So, man of business, there is a love story for you! Do you think it very dull and

Since I really love, their is more reality in my drawings, and I sit writing to you now in the little room with quite a collection round me of men, women, and children from the Heike.


P 74
...I am sorry to say there is still something harsh and severe in my drawings, and I think that she, her influence, must come to soften that. When I look around I see walls all covered with one subject: 'Brabant types.' So that is a work I have started, and if I were taken suddenly out of these surroundings I should have to start anew another thing and this one would remain half-finished! That may not be! I have been working here since May; I begin to know and understand my models, my work is progressing, but it has const me a lot of trouble to get on so far.
Father and mother are getting old, and I have their prejudices and old-fashioned ideas. When Father sees me with a French book by Michelet or Victor Hugo, he thinks of thieves and murderers, or of 'immorality,' but that is just too ridiculous. So often I have said to Father, 'Just read, then if only a few pages from such a book and you will be impressed by it yourself,' but Father obstinately refuses to do so. I told him frankly that under the circumstances I attached more value to the advice of Michelet than to his own, if I had to choose which of the two I should follow.
I would not miss Michelet for anything in the world. It is true the Bible is eternal and everlasting, but Michelet gives me such very practical and clear hints directly applicable to this hurried and feverish modern life in which you and I find ourselves that he helps us to make rapid progress and we cannot do without him. Michelet and Harriet Beecher Stowe, they do not tell you the Gospel is of no value any more, but they teach you how it may be applied in our time, in this our life. Michelet even expresses things completely and aloud of which the Gospels only whispers to us the germ.

P83 -- P86 --

...And, dear me, those two old people went with me through the cold, foggy, muddy streets, and they showed me, indeed, a very good and very cheap inn.
And you see there was something humane in that and it calmed me. I had other talks with Uncle S., but K. I did not see once. I said that they must well know, though they wished me to consider the question as settled and finished, I for my part could not do so. And then they firmly and steadily answered, 'I should learn to see that better afterwards.'
We who try our best to live, why do we not live more? I felt quiet and lorn during those three days in Amsterdam; I felt absolutely miserable, and that sort of kindness of Uncle and Aunt, and all those discussions, it was all so dismal. Till at last I began to feel quite depressed. And then I said to myself: You are not becoming melancholy again, are you? And so, on a Sunday morning I went for the last time to Uncle S. and said: 'Just listen, dear Uncle, if K. were an angel, she would be too high for me, and I do not think I could remain in love with the devil, I should not want to have anything to do with her. In the present case I see in her a true woman with a woman's passions and moods, and I love her dearly, and that is the truth and I am glad of it.' And Uncle S. had not much to say in reply, and muttered something about a woman's passions. I do not remember well what he said about it, and then he went to church.
I felt chilled through and through, as if I had been standing too long against a cold hard whitewashed church wall. I did not want to be stunned by that feeling. And --
it is somewhat risky to be a realist, but Theo, oh, bear with me in my realism. I told you that to some my secrets are no secrets. I do not take that back, think of me what you will....
Then I thought: I should like to see a woman; I cannot live without love, without a woman. I would not give a farthing for life if there were not something infinite, something deep, something real. But then I said to myself: You said, 'She, and no other,' and you would go to another woman now; that is unreasonable, that is against all logic. And my answer to that was: Who is the master, the logic, or I? Is the logic there for me, or am I there for the logic; and is there no reason and no sense in my unreasonableness and lack of sense?
I am almost thirty years old; should you think that I have never felt the need of love? K. is still older than I am; she also has had experience of love; but just for that reason I love her the better. If she wants to live in that old love and refuses the new, that is her business, and if she continues that and and evades me, I cannot smother all my energy and all my strength of mind for her sake. No, I cannot do that. I love her, but I shall not freeze or unnerve myself. And the stimulus, the spark of fire we want, that is love, and not exactly spiritual love. I am but a man and a man with passions; I must go to a woman, or otherwise I freeze or turn to stone, or I am stunned...that damned wall is too cold for me....
I had not far to seek. I found a woman, not young, not beautiful. She was rather tall and strongly built; she did not have ladies' hands like K.'s, but the hands of one who works much; but she was not coarse or common, and had something very womanly about her. She reminded me of some curious figure by Chardin or Frère, or perhaps Jan Steen. Well, what the French call 'une ouvrière.' She had many cares, one could see that, and life had been hard for her; oh, she was not extinguished, nothing extraordinary, nothing unusual.
Theo, to me there is such a wonderful charm in that slight fadedness, that something over which life has passed. It is not for the first time that I have been unable to resist that feeling of affection, ay, affection and love for those women who are so damned and condemned and despised from the pulpit.
That woman has not cheated me -- he who regards all those women as cheats, how wrong he is, and how little understanding does he show! That woman has been very good go me, very good and very kind.
It was a modest little room where she lived; the plain paper on the wall gave it a quiet grey tone, yet warm as a picture by Chardin; a wooden floor with a mat and a piece of old crimson carpet, an ordinary kitchen stove, a chest of drawers, and a large simple bed. In short, a room of a real working woman. She had to stand at the washtub the next day. We talked about everything, about her life, about her cares, about her misery, about her health, and with her I had a more interesting conversation than with, for instance, with my very learned, professor-like cousin.

P 86

Now, I tell you these things hoping that you will see that, though I have some sentiment, I do not want to be sentimental in a silly way, that I want to keeps some vitality, and to keep my mind clear and my health in good condition in order to be able to work.
The clergymen call us sinnners, to need to love, not to be able to live without love? I think life without love is a sinful condition and an immoral condition. If I repent anything, it is of the time I was induced by mystical and theological notions to lead too secluded a life. Gradually I have thought better of that. When you wake up in the morning and find yourself not alone, but see there in the morning twighlight a fellow-creature beside you, it makes the world look more friendly.
Often when I walked the streets quite lonely and forlorn, half ill and in misery, without money in my pocket, I looked after them and envied the men that could go with them; and I felt as if those poor girls were my sisters, in circumstances and experience. And you see that it is an old feeling of mine, and is deeply rooted. Even as a boy, I often looked up with infinite sympathy, and even with respect, into a hlf-faded woman's face, on which was written, as it were: Life in all its reality has left it's mark here.
That God of the clergymen, He is for me as dead as a doornail. But am I an atheist for all that? The clergymen consider me as such -- be it so; but I love, and how could I not feel love if I did not live, and if others did not live, and then, if we live, there is something mysterious in that. Now call that God, or human nature or whatever you like, but there is something which I cannot define systemmatically, though it is very alive and real, and see, that is God, or as good as God. To believe in God for me is to feel that there is a God, not a dead one, or a stuffed one, but a living one, who with iresistible force urges us towards 'aimer encore'; that is my opinion.
So I have acted as I did from a need of vital warmth. I tell you this also that you may not again think of me as being in melancholy of abstract, or brooding, mood. On the contrary, I am generally occupied with, and not only thinking of, paint, water-color, and finding a studio.

In my picture of the 'Night Café' I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where on can ruin oneself, run mad, or commit a crime. I have tried to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green. The room is blood-red and dark yellow, with a green billiard table in the middle; there are four lemon-yellow lamps with a glow of orange and green. Everywhere there is clash and contrast of the most alien reds and greens in the figures of the little sleeping hooligans in the empty dreay room, in violet and blue. The white coat of the patron, on vigil in a corner, turns lemon-yellow, or pale luminous green.
So I have tried to express, as it were, the powers of darkness in a low wine-shop, and all this in an atmosphere like a devil's furnace of pale sulphur – all under the appearance of Japanese gaiety and the good nature of Tartarin.

I have such joy in the house and in my work that I dare even to think that the joy will not always be solitary, but that you too will have a share in it and the zest of it too. My dear Theo, you will see the cypresses and the oleanders herem and the sun – the day will come, you may be sure.
.The third is a portrait of myself, almost colourless, in grey tones against a background of pale malachite. I had bought of set purpose a mirror good enough for me to be able to work from myself in default of a model; because if I can manage to paint the colouring of my own head, which is not to be done without some difficulty I shall likewise be able to paint the heads of other good souls, men and women. So this week I have done absolutely nothing but paint and sleep and take my meals. That means sittings of twelve hours, of six hours, and then a sleep of twelve hours at a time....

...This garden has a fantastic character that makes you quite able to imagine the poets of the Renaissance, Dante, Petrarch,strolling over the flowery grass. It is the garden just in front of my house. And it shows perfectly that to get to the real character of things here you must look at tehm and paint them for a long time. Perhaps you will see nothing from the sketych except that the line is very simple.
What I am sure of is that to make a picture which will be really of the South, it is not enough to have a certain cleverness. It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding. If we study Japanese art, we see an artist who is wise, philosophic, and intellitent, who spends his time – how? In studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No. In studying the policy of Bismarck? No. He studies a single blade of grass. ….
Come, now, isn't it almost an actual religion which these simple Japanese teach us, who live in nature as if they themselves were flowers? We must return to nature in spite of our education and our work in a world of convention. And you cannnot study Japanese art without becoming gayer and happier.
I envy the Japanese the extreme clearness which everything has in their work. Their work is as simple as breathign, and they do a figure in a few strokes, with ease. Oh! I must manage some day that in a few strokes the figure of a man, a youngster, a horse, shall have head, body, legs, all in keeping.
I have a letter from Gauguin, who seems very unhappy and says that as soon as he has sold something he will certainly come.....
...My own little room is complete....I am also thinking of planging a few oleanders in tubs in front of the door. ….
.That does not prevent my having a terrible need of – shall I say the word? – religion. That Benedictine father you tell of must have been very intresting. I only wish they would manage to prove something that would tranquillize and console us, so that we might stop feeling guilty and wretched, and could go on just as we are without losing ourselves in solitude and nothingness.
There is a book of Tolstoi's called 'My Religion.' He does not believe in a resurrection either of the body or the soul. Above all he seems not to believe in a heaven – he reasons just as a nihilist reasons, but he attaches great importance to doing whatever you are doing, since probably it is al there is in you. And if he does not believe in the resurrection, he seems to believe in the equivalent – the continuance of life, the progres of humanity – … Himsef a nobleman, he turned labourer, could make boots and frying pans, guide the plough. I can do nothing of that, but I can respect a human soul vigorous enough to mould itself anew.
...These colours cause me extraordinary exaltation. I have no thought of fatigue; I shall do another picture this very night, and I shall bring it off. I have a terrrible lucidity at moments when nature is so beautiful; I am not conscious of myself any more, and the pictures come to me as in a dream. I can only let myself go these days that are free from wind, especially as I think the work is getting better than the last sent you.....


I do not know whether I shall write very often, because not all my days are clear enough to write fairly logically.
All your kindnesses to me, seemed greater than ever today. I assure you that that kindness has been good metal, and if you do not see any results from it, my dear brother, don't fret about that; your own goodness abides.....

P511 Saint-Remy

...Though there are some who howl and rave continually, in spite of that people get to know each other very wel, and help each other when their attacks come on. They sayy we must put up with others so that others will put up with us; and between ourselves we understand each other very well. I can, for instance, sometimes chat with one of them who can only answer in incoherent sounds, because he is not afraid of me. And it is the same with those whose mania is to fly into frequent rages. The others interfere so that they do themselves no harm, and separate the combatents, if combat there is.
...Indeed the anguish and suffering are no joke once you are caught by an attack....There is someone here who has been shouting and talking as I do all the time for a fortnight; he thinks he hears voices and words in the echoes of the corridors, probably because the nerves of the ear are diseased and oversensitive; in my case it was sight and hearing at once, which according to what Rey told me one day is usual in the beginning of epilepsy. The shock was such that it sickened me even to make a movement, and nothing would have pleased me better than never to have wakened again. At present this horror of life is less strong and the melancholy less acute. But from that to will and action there is still some way to go.
It is rather queer, perhaps, that as a result of this last terrible attack there is hardly any very definite desire or hope left in my mind, and I wonder if this is the way one thinks when, with the passions dying out, one descends the hill instead of climbing it. Of will I have none, and of everything belonging to ordinary life; the desire, for instance, to see my friends, although I keep thinking about them, I have almost none of. ….

.Yet what a lovely country, and what lovely bue, and what a sun!


...It is only too doubtful whether painting has any beauty or use. But what is to be done? There are people who love nature even though they are cracked or ill; those are the painters. Then there are those who like what is made by man's hands, and these even go as far as to like pictures....

...Yesterday I drew a very big, rather rare night moth called the death's head, its colouring of amazing distinction, black, grey, cloudy white tinged with carmine, or shading indistinctly to olive-green; it is very big. To paint it I had to kill it, and it was a pity, the insect was so beautiful.

I have worked on a study of the mad wardat the Arles Hospital, but having had no more canvas these last days, I have been taking long walks in all directions across the country...
How beautiful Millet is, 'The First Steps of a Child'!
...I have worked this month in the olive groves because Bernard and Gauguin have maddened me with their 'Christs in the Garden,' with nothing really observed. Of course with me there is no question of doing anything from the Bible – and I have written to Bernard and Gauguin too that I considered that to think, not to dream, was our duty, so that I was astonished to see from their work how they had let themselves gives me a painful feeling of collapse instead of progress.
...What I have done is a rather hard and coarse reality beside Bernard's and Guaguin's abstractions, but it will give a sense of country and will smell of the soil. The thing is that they have never really been painted, the olive and the cypress....


These days we had rather bad weather, but today was a real day of spring; the fields of young corn, with violet hills in the distance, are so beautiful, and the almond trees are starting to bloom everywhere.
I feel at times very much cheered up by it. Moreover, you write me today that you have sold one of my pictures in Brussels for four hundred francs. Compared....this is little, but I shall try to be productive....


It would be best at least to go and see this Doctor Gachet in the country as soon as possible...,and since he likes painting, there is really a chance that a lasting friendship
will result...My surroundings begin to weigh on me....


...I have just finished another canvas of pink roses against a yellow-green background in which the effect is soft and harmonious because of the combinations of greens, pinks, violets. In the other the the violet bunch stands out against a startling lemon-yellow background, with other yellow tones on the vase and the stand on which it rests, so it is an effect of tremendously unlike complementaries which heighten each other.

..[previously in Paris] I felt strong enough – I wish very much to do at once the picture of a yellow book shop which I have had for so long in my mind. You will see that the day after my arrival I shall be fit for it....
I am looking forward so much to seeing the exhibition of Japanese prints again...
A strange thing: just as these that day you were so struck by Seurat's canvases, these last days are like a fresh revelation of colour to me. As to my work, my dear brother, I feel more confidant....

--- O, if I could have worked without this accursed malady*


There – once back here I set to work again – though the brush almost slipped from my fingers; and knowing exactly what I wanted, I have since painted three more big canvases. They are vast stretches of corn under troubled skies, and I did not need to go out of my way to express sadness and the extremity of loneliness.....I hope you will see them soon.....Just for one's health it is very necessary to work in the garden and see the flowers growing.
...I am now absorbed by the immeasurable plain with cornfields against the hills, immense as a sea, delicate yellow, delicate soft green, delicate violet of a ploughted and weeded piece of soil, regularly chequered by the green of flowering potato plants, everything under a sky with delicate blue, white, pink, violet tones.
I am in a mood of nearly too great calmness, in the mood to paint this.
I should rather like to write to you about a lot of things, but to begin with, the desire to do it has left me completely, and again I feel it is useless.
I still love art and life very much, but as for ever having a wife of my own, I have no great faith in that....

[My father was also an artist, and was tormented by what I know not, but I suspect a deep loneliness arose due perhaps to his mother's death in his teens and perhaps his father's rather authoritarian ways (although I know very little about my paternal grandfather who lived mostly and died in London. But father and son did not get on...My father gave he said, most of his paintings away as presents and at one exhibition of water colours R. A. K. Mason bought some of his art. He liked Mason's poetry. Fairburn expresed that he wished he could paint or draw like that. My father said he wished he could write as well as Fairburn and encouraged him to paint. I belive this may have partly inspired Fairburn thus to try his hand. But my father eventually abandoned art. 'I felt depressed during The Depression' he said. He took a job as an architect after going from being a fitter's mate to getting a degree in Architecture. Like Van Gogh he loved Japanese prints, of which one at least that he copied, a beautiful thing, is still in this house (Panmure, Court Crescent).....Thus he about 1941:

I really think loneliness is the worst of all human afflictions. I am alone here
every night after 9 pm, the family are early to bedders – and I sit alone with my
books and think of this long war and all the lonely women throughout the world
and the men in camps and holes in the ground tormented with hunger for women. ]


I am – at least I feel – too old to go back on my steps, or to desire anything different. That desire has left me, though the mental suffering from it remains...I know nothing, absolutely nothing as to what turn this may take. As for what concerns me, I apply myself to my canvases with all my mind....
...I have a new study of some old thatched roofs, and two canvases representing vast stretches of corn after the rain....we can only make our pictures speak.
Yet, my dear brother, there is this that I have always told you – … – I tell you again that I shall always consider that you are other than a simple dealer in Corots, that through my mediation you have your part in the actual production of some canvases, which even in the deluge will retain their peace.
...Well my own work, I am risking my life for it and my reason has half-foundered. That's all right – but you are not among the dealers in men. You can still chooseyour side, acting with humanity, but what's the use? With a handshake in thought.
July 27, 1880. VINCENT

*Van Gogh was not mad at all, he suffered from epilepsy, which meant that bouts of these attacks interrupted his work leaving him ennervated and sometimes in despair. But whenever he worked he was accutely rational, aware, and constantly trying to create and also always to improve his drawing skill, his art, and to try to make money. His brother Leo supported him and sold some of his works. He was a deeply lonely man then so have I been most of my life. This does not mean madness. To be sad, to be lonely, to be intense is not to be mad or irrational. And Van Gogh was never irratinal he had a deep sensitivity to the world and to people. He was deeply concerned for his brother and his wife and their parents and for others he met. Even near the end of his life he felt no rancour towards Van Gogh. His criticisms of art ar of the art, not of the people. He was not, thank god, a socialite life such as say Gore Vidal...and others. [In another book on the eye and art it seems that Dr. Gachet felt Van Gogh suffered from swings of mood....but if someone is sensitive, struggles with art and the depiction of nature – to realise it by intensifying it and to avoid what he called Gauguin and others' “abstractions” – struggling to capture things as they are or in some deep way uknown quite to the artist, the essence of things (The 'quiditas' of St. Thomas Aquinas or that of Aristotle, and not per se Plato's idea of Ideal forms of things etc: or Kant's 'noumenom' etc...even Wordsworth's sense of a god of some sort 'interfused in the light of setting suns' and indeed the ideas of Spinoza or the investigations of scientists trying to 'see' reality: but never getting there: they only ever describing, failing to get via logic as Russell and others (Wittgenstein, Deacartes, Spinoza, Derrida, (but perhaps more Levinas and Heidegger who invokes Rilke, Trakl and Van Gogh) etc, even Popper struggled to do, as Bergson or Cantor, or Mach or Rothko, and many others...he failed but his struggle toward this deep mystery always urged him on...)...these all failed as I echo here but this is the direction they are impelled on.
And he was deeply lonely, deeply sensitive: and always wanted love, deep love. The most of which perhaps he got from his brother and his wife. He loved his fellow patients, the doctors, a postman, and others. He loved the world, while knowing its menace, its mystery: death and despair written into the crevices of the great world..Caravaggio's just starting to rot fruit, Rembrandt's unremitting 'reality', Goya's illnesses and his dark nightmares of reality and irreality...And Van Gogh read quite widely.


Bertrand Russell's   Autobiography
An event of importance to me in 1913 was the beginning of my friendship with Joseph Conrad, which I owed to our common friendship with Ottoline (lady Ottoline with whom Russell had a quite passionate but complex affair as described in Vol I of his Autobiography). I had been for many years an admirer of his books...I travelled down to his house in Kent in a state of somewhat anxious expectation. My first impression was one of surprise. He spoke English with a very strong foreign accent, and nothing in his demeanour in any way suggested the sea. He was an aristocratic Polish gentleman to the fingertips. His feeling for the sea, and for England, was one of romantic love – love from a certain distant sufficient to leave the romance untarnished. His love for the sea began at a very early age. When he told his parents he wished a carreer as a sailor, they urged him to go into the Austrian navy, but he wanted adventure and tropical seas and strange rivers surrounded by dark forests; and the Austrian navy offered him no scope for these desires. His family were horrified at his seeking a carreer in the English merchant marine, but his determination was inflexible.
...He and I were in most of our opinions in no way in agreement, but in something very fundamental we were extraordinarily at one.
My relation with Conrad was unlike any other I have ever had. I saw him seldom, and not over a long period of years. In the out-works of our lives we were almost strangers, but we shared a certain outlook on human life and human destiny, which, from the very first, made a bond of extreme strength...
Of all that he had written I admired most the terrible story called The Heart of Darkness, in which a rather weak idealist is driven mad by horror of the tropical forest and loneliness among savages. This story expresses, I think, most completely his philosophy of life. I felt, though I do not know whether he would have accepted such an image, that he thought of civilized and morally tolerable human life as a dangerous walk on a thin crust of barely cooled lava which at any moment might break and let the unwary sink into fiery depths. He was very conscious of the various forms of passionate madness to which men are prone, and it was this which gave him such a profound belief in the importance of discipline. His point of view, one might say, was the antithesis of Rousseau's: 'Man is born in chains, but he can become free.' He becomes free, I believe Conrad would have said, not by letting loose his impulses, not by being casual and uncontrolled, but by subduing wayward impulse to dominant purpose.
[Conrad's rather reactionary hatred of Russia ('both theCzarist and the Revolutionary') and Dostoevsky, Tolstoy et al as well as his love of England (except Turgenev) Russell felt were expressed in The Secret Agent and in Under Western Eyes but this seems a misinterpretation of at least The Secret Agent which is one of the great novels. It is a satire also of 'powers' and 'the great game' and it is a tragi-comedy where the 'powers' urge the secret agent to blow up time itself! This is brilliant but flawed by those powes (possibly those in the Austro-Hungarian Empire but also anywhere). The idea is that the death of humans wont incite the people to rebel. And it is them 'the powers' want to riot or rebel somewhat like the Russians, mainly so the British can have and excuse to impose more severe resstrictions etc upon them. Whatever power Conrad transcends that and the figure of the secret agents son in law, his wife's daughter, enraged by the motley group of “anarchists” and would be or actual “revolutionaries” when he hears talk of killing. This gentle being could have also been portrayed by Dostoevsky (whose project in this regard is almost as brilliant and subtle in Crime and Punishment); and it is he who the agent gets to help place the bomb at Greenwich. The boy is blown into pieces. The powers in England in touch with powers elsewhere, restrict the investigation. Conrad writes the masterpiece that Dickens almost managed in all his works (or he managed works of genius but evaded the killer thrust perhaps?): in any case The Secret Agent is, like Heart of Darkness, and The Nigger of the Narcissus (the sea storm is so beautifully described!! “Nigger” by the way is necessary. As soon as he comes on board the ship he says: “this is my ship” and from then on his otherness drives the entire story until his death when the becalmed ship, released as was the ship in Coleridge's TheRhyme of the Ancient Mariner, makes its way home... (and Nostromo which I read as a teenager so missed its great significance, but I believe that is considered by many to be Conrad's greatest work...) … but there is no question of Russell's great writing in this, his first Volume of his Autobiography)]
.[Russell continues]: ...what [mainly] interested him was the human soul faced with the indifference of nature, and often with the hostility of man, and subject to inner struggles with passions both good and bad that led towards destruction. Tragedies of loneliness occupied a great part of his though and feeling. One of his typical stories is Typhoon. In this story, the Captain, who is a simple soul, pulls his ship through by unshakeable courage and grim determination, When the storm is over, he writes a long letter to his wife, telling about it. In his account, his own part is, to him, fairly simple. He has merely performed his Captain's duty as, of course, anyone would expect. But the reader, through his narrative, becomes aware of all that he has done and dared and endured. The letter, before he sends it off, is read surreptitiously by his steward, but is never read by anyone else at all because his wife finds it boring and throws it away unread.
The two things that seem most ot occupy Conrad's imagination are loneliness and the fear of what is strange. An Outcast of the Islands like The Heart of Darkness is concerned with the fear of what is strange. Both come together in the extraordinarily moving story Amy Foster. In this story a South-Slav peasant, on his way to America, is the sole survivor of the wreck of his ship, and is cast away in a Kentish village. All the village fears and ill-treats him, except Amy Foster, a dull, plain girl who brings him bread when he is starving and finally marries him. But she, too, when in fever, he reverts to his native language, is seized with a fear of strangeness, snatches up their child and abandons him. He dies alone and hopeless. I have wondered at times how much of this man's loneliness Conrad had felt among the English and had supressed with a stern effort of will.
Conrad's point of view was far from modern [Russell he sets Rousseau's 'enlightened' humane view, sans discipline of children etc, against the other more 'authoritarian' view of discipline. But]: Conrad adhered to the older tradition, that discipline should come from within. He despised indiscipline, and hated discipline that was merely external.
In all this I found myself closely in agreement with him. At our very first meeting, we talked with continually increasing intimacy. We seemed to sink through layer after layer of what was superficial, till gradually both reached the central fire. It was an experence unike any other I have known. We looked into each other's eyes, half appalled and half intoxicated to find ourselves together in such a region. The emotion was as intense as passionate love, and at the same time all-embracing. I came away bewildered, and at the same time unable to find my way among ordinary affairs............
.This letter was my last contact with him....Conrad['s].....intense and passionate intensity shines in my memory like a star seen from the bottom of a well. I wish I could make his light shine for others as it shone for me....

The students, however, as I said before, were admirable. I had a post-graduate class of twelve, who used to come to tea with me once a week.One of them was T. S. Eliot,
who subsequently wrote a poem about it, called 'Mr Appolinx'. I did not know at the time that Eliot wrote poetry. He had, I think, already written 'A Portrait of a Lady', and 'Prufrock', but he did not see fit to mention the fact. He was extraordinarily silent,
and only once made a remark which struck me. I was praising Heraclitus, and he ob-
served: 'Yes, he always reminds me of Villon.' I thought this remark so good that I always wished he would make another.....

A baby emits a cry of life on being thrust into a cold, bright world.
Gone is the dark warmth of the mother's womb.
The umbilical cord is severed and closed off.


We Live In

Calculating time by time and dividing by time
these things of lament fall upon us as dark green quilts on aged men
where women wail. Forever fingers of the living root down to grip.

To disappear into the sands. As in Scott of Lammermoor .
'The quicksanded cities.' as I wrote, using the image of man and horse plunging. To disappear. And the vents of fury among the loud mountains: Why have we not passaged here?

We have something to teach, to say. We could treat time
like Cantor's Alephs, and find that time by time yields
time only, and time times time is Aleph time.
'We are lost in gelid time. We are the fools of time. Time was.'
What to teach? They wait. The shadows grow. Man's, in history.
Of Emerson, though, we have little. As said. What sounds?
What do you mean? Is it known? Know thou? Sit by the fire.
At the camp fire – much mad truth. Old woes.

Things keep living in this old chaos, under the sun, of the.
How can we evaluate? Ejaculate, expatiate: things leap.
The undulant ambiguations, you know
them, they descend. How much redundancy adds to the immensity
of rock giants? Who sang? Who yes-noed?

The parade begins. She holds my hand. We had purpose, if fear,
but we lived, took positions. We were on the line.
Why did I not seize her? Where is she? Time is gone, passed
as if it had not begun, except in dream. Was we dream?

Then they found me, and the machines. These proliferate:
everywhere there is a clicking of meanings. God is knitting.
Messages are inserted or race into the totality of
completed futility. Click click clack smack smack smack.

Where is the end? Le be be finale. Let seem be icecream
in an ice dream. But what of mentioned the wires?
The wires keep creeping, like wires, wirely. Nervous, nervous nerves.
All things begin pump. Things flow every where. Fire.

Decent ones stay away. Wary, they creep down town.
Even old people. I remain old with severe thoughts
marked. My wise saws. My instances. I remain
not a youthful age but stay severely as I am.

It is a writhing living thing, a mass mountain impossible to be
man or women however born: see it, it is awash with
configurations and gibbering mirrors: it is afire with
language whose excess and whose excessive excess
bursts instantly into endless flame. These birds
fight each other to death, the poem grows in monstrousness
never before felt, imagined, and it always wriggles away.
Then in the language inferno they found me, and the machines
had proliferate: everywhere nowhere there is a clicking of
insane meanings. Messages race into the totality of computed
and purple futility. Where is the end if not the linkage?
The wires smile with sarc sparks, and continue creeping, like wires.

Decent people stay clear. They never knock or ring. Wary, they creep
down town, possibly on Broadway. Even old people. I remain old with
severe thoughts marked. My sore wise saws. My instant instances:
You wanted it though? Eh? Didn't ya want it? I remain
not a youthful age but stay severely. I am what.

I always wanted to make chemical music but my career path
led me into pornography and all those asms and cosmic chasms
that they all plunge in. The point, we seek it. We are. A thing shudders.
Material mystery, extass. They – right now – gathered discovering
the mark and the why questions or significations re-reading Browning

It was NOW

      everything is answer

like a water blob.
Bulb sets tremble

questions on a leaf

maybe of broccoli.

(Ecstatic moon,

and the coming bloom
of the young year
that cools the finger’s fever

wakes rath: )

sparkins fire flame snake
in which syzegistic
congnaced cunt rage
red as arse fire
rapid irreducible
to the dead agonal
horse mountain
unvoicing her shitting
germaniac treblinking
to cant. write cant write
cat bitch - scream in a pyx -
lacerating the bloody lace

and engines light to BE ,

till pump is all:
and a, a, a - a sleepy shiver
ecstatics all objects

that are subjects

red nasalic narcosis in
nasalised redlic
sketched out
in a nightmare as of
a thousand fucking bastards


.I do wish the beastly old war could stop 

Letters and things in Bertrand Russell's Autobiography

          The Mischeief Inn
Madingly Road
26. VIII. 11

Dear Russell
I send you all I can find of the notes Frege sent me on my account of his work.
Hardy told me of your translation into sybolism of the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill.
If you have time would you send it to me to include in the 'Philosophy of Mr B –
R – ' Also Hardy told me of your proof of the existence of God by an infinite complex
of false propositions. May I have this too?
Yrs. ever
Philip Jourdain

[Russell's notes on this letter show that he appreciated the humour. Jourdain was quite brilliant but died young due to the effects of Freidrich's ataxia which is a rare genetic disorder almost always fatal over a relatively short time of life.]

Georg Cantor, the subject of the following letter, was, in my opinion, one of the greatest intellects of the nineteenth century. ZTHe controversy with Poincaré which he mentions is still (1949) raging, though the original protagonists are long since dead. After reading the following letter, no one will be surprised to learn that he spent a large part of his life in a lunatic asylum, but his lucid intervals were devoted to creating the theory of infinite numbers. [This is still all disputed by mathematicians but there is still no concord on the subject. Cantor used sets and his Diagonal Proof (which Wittgenstein doesn't “disprove” but feels, it seems, in his Groundwork to Mathematics, that it has flaws and is not kind of 'the right question' as it cant really be stated as a positive proposition. The “rage” about Cantor's theory of infinite sets, countable infinity etc, continues: but it is probably not of interest to most mathematicians or philosophers. But it is fascinating and can be studied in books “for the average person” with little or no maths, such as those by J D Barrow and others. Cantor and his ideas have fascinated me for some time.]

75 Victoria Street
16/ 9. 11
Dear Mr Russell
By accident I met to-day Professor Georg Cantor, professor of Mathematics at Halle University, and his chief wish during his stay in England is to meet you and talk about your books. He was overcome with pleasure when he learnt on talking of Cambridge that I knew you a little – you must forgive my boasting of my acquaintance with an English 'Mathematiker' and I had to promise I would try to find out if he could see you. He proposes to visit Cambridge on Tuesday and Oxford on Thursday, and meanwhile is staying for a week at 62 Nevern Square, South Kensington.
It was a great pleasure to meet him though if you are kind enough to see him you will sympathize with my feeling worn out with nearly four hours of conversation. He was like a fog horn discoursing on mathematics – to me! – and the Bacon Theory.
Could you send a line to him or to me at Woodgate, Danehill, Sussex. He is Geheimrath and so forth. I could relate his entire family history to you!
Yours sincerely and with many apologies
Margery I. Corbett Ashby

[Part of a letter from Cantor three days later.]
As for myself you do know perhaps, I am a great heretic upon many scientific, but also in many literary matters, as to pronounce but two of them, I am a Baconian in the Bacon-Shakespeare question, and I am quite an adversary of Old Kant, who, in my eyes has done much more harm and mischief to philosophy, even to mankind; as you can easily see by the most perverted development of metaphysics in Germany in all that followed him, as in Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Heibart, Schopenhauer, Hartmann, Nietzsche etc. etc.. on to this very day. I never could understand why such reasonable and enobled peoples as the Italiens, theEnglish, and the French are, could follow yonder sophistical philistine, who was so bad a mathematician.
And now it is in just this abominable mummy, as Kant is, Monsieur Poincaré felt quite enamoured, if he is not bewitched by him. So I understand quite well the opposition of Mons. Poincaré, by which I felt myself honoured, though he never had in mind to honour me, as I am sure.....
...I think he is about ten years younger than I am, but I have learned to wait in all things and I forsee more clearly, that in the quarrell, I will not be succumbent.
But I feel no forcing to enter myself in the battle; others with him precipitate and I allowed him to do with greater and more important things. As for little differences between you and me, I am sure, that they will disappear soon after an oral discourse.
................... …..and so I am,
Your very faithfull.
Georg Cantor


Hellen Keller to the New York
Symphony Orchestra
February 2nd, 1924

On the evening of February 1st 1924, The New York Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Walter Damrosch, played Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to a packed Carnegie Hall, one of the most famous and prestigious concert halls in the world. Many who
wanted to attend, couldn't; fortunately, the performance was broadcast live on the radio. A couple of days later, with talk of the show still on the lips of many, the orchestra received a stunning letter of thanks from the unlikliest of sources. The letter
was written by Helen Keller, a renowned author and activist, who, despite having been deaf and blind from a young age, had managed to "hear" the music through touch alone.

93 Seminole Avenue,
Forest Hills L . I.,
February 2, 1924.

The New York Symphony Orchestra,
New York City.

Dear Friends

I have the joy of being able to tell you that, though deaf and blind, I spent a
glorious hour last night listening over the radio to Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony."
I do not mean to say that I "heard" the music in the sense that other people heard it;
and I do not know if I can make you understand how it was possible for me to
derive pleasure from the symphony. It was a great surprise to myself. I had been
reading in my magazine for the blind that the radio had brought happiness to the
sightless everywhere. I was delighted to know that the blind had gained a new
sense of enjoyment; but I did not dream that I could have any part in their joy. Last
night, when our family was listening to the wonderful rendering of the immortal
symphony, someone suggested that I put my hand on the receiver and see if I could
get any of the vibrations. He unscrewed the cap, and lightly touched the sensitive
diaphragm. What was my amazment to discover that I could feel, not only the
vibrations, but the impassioned rhythm, the throb and urge of the music! The inter-
twined and intermingling vibrations from different instruments enchanted me. I
could actually distinguish the cornets, the roll of drums, the deep-toned violas and,
and violins singing in exquisite unison. How the lovely speech from the violins
flowed and plowed over the deepest tones of the other instruments! When the hum-
an voice leaped up trilling from the surge of harmony, I recognized them instantly
as voices. I felt the chorus grow more exultant, more ecstatic, upcurving swift and
flame-like till my heart almost stood still. The women's voices seemed seemed an
embodiment of all the angelic voices rushing in a harmonious flood of beautiful
and inspiring sound. The great chorus throbbed against my fingers with poignant
poise and flow. Then all the instruments and voices together burst forth --an ocean
of heavenly vibration --and died away like the winds when the atom is spent,
ending in a delicate shower of sweet notes.

Of course, this was not "hearing" but I do know that the tones and harm-
onies conveyed to me moods of great beauty and majesty. I also sensed, or thought
I did, the tender sounds of nature that sing into my hand-- swaying reeds and winds
and the murmer of streams. I had never been so enraptured before by a multitude
of tone-vibrations.

As I listened, with darkness and melody, shadow and sound, filling the
room, I could not but help remember that the great composer who poured forth
such a flood of sweetness into the world was deaf like myself. I marveled at the
power of his quenchless spirit by which out of his pain he wrought such joy for
others --and there I sat, feeling with my hand the magnificent symphony which
broke like a sea upon the silent shores of his soul and mine.
Let me thank you warmly for all the delight which your beautiful music
has brought to my household and to me. I want also to thank Station WEAF for
the joy they are broadcasting in the world.

With kindest regards and best wishes, I am,

Sincerely yours,




                        My news of Joy is great today
A baby emits a cry of life on being thrust into a cold, bright world.
Gone is the dark warmth of the mother's womb.
The umbilical cord is severed and closed off.


The MEMOIRS of my mother, Joy Taylor, born in 1917 in Northamtonshire, England, brought up in Australia, Banaba (Ocean) Island, England and Melbourne of Australia. Her mother was Beatrice Gray, who became Beatrice (Beatty Miller) on marriage to my grandfather, Captain John Robert Miller.. On that side there was a Joy hence her first name.

N.B. Details of Miller family in Family Tree compiled by Frank Miller [and John Gray who started with the Gray family.]

My Grandfather Miller, Robert Miller, had six brothers: James, George, Benjamen, and one sister, Esther. I do not know their order, in age, nor where they lived or were born [some details in the Miller-Gray family tree]. Believe it to be Northamptonshire or Huntingdonshire – Midlands anyway.
I believe James and George went to London eventually but am vague about their occupations or whether they married or had families. John settled in Kettering & owned and operated a mineral water factory, co partner with [one of the] a Child's.
John married Ruth Childs, sister of Alf & they had no children.
I well remember Benjamin. He started in the printing business but when we were children was Editor of the Times of India (in Calcutta). He came to England in various “long leaves” & visited us then. He always had gifts for my brother & I, & sent lovely books at Xmas. “Uncle Ben” (though really Great-Uncle seemed a gentle man, very brown from the tropical sun – and by no means handsome – but very interesting to us all.
My Grandfather Robert became an engine driver on the L.M.S. (London, North Eastern Railways) [this crossed out]. He married Elizabeth Gale Childs, my grandmother, who was the sister of Ruth (John's wife). They moved to various cities to suit his work. Their eldest child, Maud Ruth, was born in Nottingham, my father John Robert, was born in Leicester. The other children of the marriage were Gertrude, Frank, & Mary Ann, known as Polly.
My father was born in 1883 & diseases were rife in those days, especially TB or its various forms, & fevers – Scarlet fever, Diptheria, Typhoid etc. My grandfather, Robert died of typhoid fever about 1897.
My father had started at a science /engineering school at Rugby but at about 14 had to leave & go to work. Grandmother worked as a matron at a poor old peoples home at Cambridge. Here eldest daughter, Maud, at 16 started as a pupil/teacher – at Kettering Primary School. The two youngest of the family, Frank and Polly were adopted by Ruth and John. Gertrude, I belive, did some nursing. [I remember my mother telling me she had received letters from her Auntie Maud and Gertrude. They sent me 10 shillings from time to time and it was banked. Now I realise more about these people I am more grateful and thoughtful of them all. R.T. 2019]
My father also contracted typhoid at about 13 or 14. Luckily he recoveredm though he blamed his being shorter than most of the Miller men on that illness in his growing years.
Father (known to family & friends as Jack) had to leave Rugby Secondary School on the death of his father and find work. He had work at a sewing machine factory, and also – in the Railways Telegraph Office – so learnt a few skills – on his way to eventually becoming a builder & carpenter [with some machine and engineering skills, and he read quite widely in his life, I recall the books he had. One The Titan fascinated me (as military, wars, and the idea of power fascinated me as a boy of 10 or so). He also gave me a collection of Russian stories which I have read (at the time I said, but I am too young, but he said: “You will be able to read them when you are older.” He was right, and I still do. But also his copy of Pasternak's 'Dr Zhivago fascinated me. All those books seemed deeply significanct and mysterious to me as were what my father and he talked of. I used to listen to he and my father talk wondering when I would understand the mysterious things of engineering and of grown men's talk...But this was when he and my grandmother had retired to Cheltenham Road in Devonport.].
He came to New Zealand at the age of 21 [1904] & joined his friend Cath Adams working as a builder for Cath's father C. Adams senior. Working mostly in Tauranga, & Waihi was then a thriving Gold mining town. At some stage also he worked in Auckland also as a builder. Then he went to Australia – visiting some relatives in the Hunter River Valley N.S.W., & eventually joined the British Phosphate Commission (Melbourne) as a builder / carpenter for Ocean Island [Banaba], in 1908 aged 24 or 25.
Then in 1915 Jack left the Island to enlist in the armed forces & chose to join with his friend Cath Adams in the N.Z. Rifle Brigade.
From Sydney he had written a proposal of marriage to my Mother. They had met & become friendly during his long leave from the Island, & they married on August 26th , 1916 during army leave.
My mother was Beatrice Amy Gray. (Details of the Gray family are on a family tree compiled by John Gray, Sidney.)
Mother and her younger sister Bara lived together in Bedford while their menfolk were away at war; Bara already had a small boy, Alan. I was born on the 29th May 1917, and 6 weeks later Bara's second son Derek arrived.
My grandfather Gray died about the time of my mother's marriage. He had retired from his army life with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He had married in Indiea & they [his wife was Emma Jane Joy and his name was b. 9th March 1851, died 29 August 1916. Lived mainly India and Bedford.] had 13 children while there [in India]. Some died very young and 7 survived to adulthood. I was called after my grandmother Gray – her maiden name was Joy, & she was Emma Jane Joy, so I got the Joy.
When the war was over father had to return to New Zealand for his army discharge.Then our family proceeded to Sydney, & Newcastle, where we boarded ship for Ocean Island. I was about 20 months old then.

Childhood on a tropical island was a delightful time – ther are only pdd flashes of memory of the very young years. I played in the beach behind the house – we (other children & I) hunted for lizard eggs. The lizards seemed to choose the curled mid point of dead palm leaves which litter the ground under the palms. When we found the tiny eggs we broke the heavy one to see the babies streak away to hide. Cruel: we also broke some which were not ready!
Earlier I had a wooden horse on wheels (made by my father) & used to make a mixture of coloured flower petals in soggy water to feed it. There were one or two boys about my age and we got up to mischief. My worst crime was pulling upa young palm tree to eat the centre – so delicious – Millionnaire Salad. All the palms belonged to the Banabans & that particular owner came to my father with his complaint and Dad had to pay for the tree. I will not forget how angry he was with me! My brother Frank arrived on 28th of November 1921. We only had tinned milk so with a wweaned baby my father got some goats and he was fed on goats milk for quite a while.
A little kid arrived and that was my pet – I loved him but he disappeared – I expect they sold him. I also had kittens from time to time. When Frank arrived they got a Banaban lady Oreba to look afer him (both of us). She was a dear & we all loved her. When they went to Sydney on leave Oreba went too. But she was not happy at all! – Too cold and she had to wear large shoes. So did we and [also] hated it! Mother made us some flat shoes to arrive in.
The Banabans were divided into 4 villages: Ooma – & near Ooma were all the phosphate driers [?], the machine & the carpentary shop [looking at a recent YouTube by some Ham Radio enthusiasts, who visited Banaba about 2015 I think, [2019] all those including the Power Plant, the machine and carpentary shop, a hospital (possibly the one mum mentions in this memoir), and a dentists, are in a state of destruction and decay: it is a kind of tragic scene, dark & eerie with only 300 Banabans there. Desolate with all the activity and life gone. And of course the lives of the Banaban people radically changed if not destroyed. Despite this they seem an amazing people. Mostly they are quite healthy looking and often happy, but most now live on an Island near Fiji. Operations stopped I think about 1989 or so.]. ….
[To continue.]...carpentry and machine shop, offices, stores, and up the hill a way houses for the white workers, mostly Australians. Yabwebwa was near where we lived – the village a little way further inland & up the hill.
Our house was close to the sea (Western outlook) and there was a way down to the shore between the pinnacles – we called it 'Miller's Beach'
Puakonikau was near the highest part of the Island North of Tabwebwa – & Tabiang was about midway between Tabwebwa and Ooma – lower ground. There was a Post Office & later a small school for white children; and several of the Government officials lived near there.
In the meantime Mother taught me & a few others to read and write and do simple sums. (She had been a kindergarten teacher.)
Connecting the villages were roads – dirt and lined with lumps of coral. Lower down on the flat there was a narrow-gage railway line between Tabwebwa & Ooma.
We sat on a seat on a flat car, poled by two natives. When I cut my foot badly the houseboy called the polers and they got us to Ooma, then one of the polers carried me up the hill to where the hospital was located. So I had 7 stitches!
The B.P.C [the British Phosphate Commision] employees got 3 months every 2 years and English people could have 5 months leave after 2 years to visit England if they wished.
All our relatives were in England, so in 1926 we set off on that journey. It took two weeks – about – to get to Australia – and we then boarded a liner in Sydney & I think about six weeks later arrived at [the] Tilbury docks. [The Thames, near London.]
On board there were lots of children & activities were arranged for them by the stewards and stewardesses to look after us. Just as well as my Mother, as soon as she boarded a boat, was always sick.

From Tilbury we went by train to Kettering, Northamtonshire – the home of my auntie Maud, (father's older sister), her husband & granny Miller (then called Shrives).
Granny was tiny – white haired, rosy cheeks. She always wore black frocks tight waisted, with white inset at neck and high collars, usually white lace. She spent her days doing the mending, darning socks etc, and always jad to,e for a hug with us especially Frank, who was about to be 5. [Joy was then 9½].
There were two horrors ahead for us: Frank and I were to be left here when Mother and Dad returned to the Island. Number 2 was school!
School was a tall brick building with a paved yard for a playground. Frank was with the beginners, but of course I was with my age group, and amongst so many children – I was completely bewildered and soon made such a fuss that at home, absolutely refusing to go to school.
Eventually I was put in a small private school with just a few girls and managed to settle down quite happily. This was run by two sisters, the Miss Butchers & was a preparitory school for the high school which we started at 11 years.
Soon we started having piano lessons. Our teacher was Miss Longmate, a friend of Auntie's who lived nearby. Frank* did not go on for long but I loved it & rapidly progressed.
Our uncle bought a car & that was a great excitement. All Summer long on fine Saturdays or Sundays we went for drives and picnics & found all the lovely country side around. The further afield for a day outing to Felixstowe & the beach.
The waters were and the snow were strange to us at first, and then the dark coming at 3 pm on some days. Somedays it was too bad to go to school, but we soon found the pleasure out of it with slides & snow balls etc.
Holidays staying with various Aunts & cousins (mother's sisters & their children), were a delight. Three of her sisters: Mary, Totte & Daisy lived at Weymouth on the South Coast and we spent many wonderful weeks there with [many] days at the beach. How we got there I cant remember. Probably taken by car by the Andrews family who lived near us and were friends of Auntie Tottie. Mother's younger sister Bara & her husband were sole teachers at a village school not far from Kettering & I enjoyed staying there with all those cousins (5 of them). Country rambles & picking blackberries was the main attraction there.
Mother's brother Rowley lived at Woburn, a small village near Bedford. He lived with his wife and children. These were: Molly, about 3 or 4 years older than me, & Teddy, a bit older still. Rowley lost a leg through wounds in the Boer War & travelled about on a motor bike side-car. I enjoyed staying week-ends with them, or a few days in Winter holidays.
                        My news of Joy is great today
*My uncle Frank later stayed in England when my mother returned to Melbourne [Firbank High School] and Ocean Island, and he was in the RAF flying, inter alia, bombers, more or less near the end of the war. He told me that this was really a terrible time and most of his mates were killed. He also told me the anecdote of the bombs jettisoning. Flying from Africa to bomb German-French targets they were all due for leave. Over the intercom as they headed out he suggested that they head straight for the Atlantic, drop the bombs, then head straight to England. They did so.

C/o D Stacy (?)
Kimbolton Rd
10th June 1917

My own dearest Hubby,
It was so nice to get news that you are feeling better. I really hope you are, because I don't like to think of you as feeling so rotten, especially when I am getting on so nicely. I think your plan for the vot is fine. I am long to see it and I shall treasure it all the more because you have made it my dear s you see it will be double a "Treasure Cot." That is the name of the make of the ones that are here....

My news of Joy is great today.......

She has gained 8 more ounces since Tuesday, so now she weighs 6 ¼ lbs. She ought not to have been weighed till Tuesday, but when she was undressed for her bath this morning, Sister could not resist the temptation of weighing her and found she had gained 8 more ounces since Tuesday. I feel proud as an old hen – and I know you will be pleased. She is getting quite heavy. I'm sure you will see a great difference when you come next time. She has had more presents. Daisy sent her a bonnet yesterday, & Tottie came to see me and brought a lot of ribbon to adorn her frocks with. Mother and Lottie have been up this afternoon....
......I wonder when you will be getting away from camp............................................
.........................................I do wish the beastly old war could stop – I want you always.
With all my love dear one and Joy's love too
Your loving wife


14 Rockingham Road

My Dearest Jack & Beattie
we often talk about you and wonder a bout you all and what you
are all doing. if you are getting ready for Christmas. We have got our
pudding and have Christmas cake maid also the mincemeat maid. And we
are expecting [Franky (?) ] on Thursday for his holadays I supose he is
looking forward to the chang. We are afraid we have offended you both
as we get no letters from you the only new is from [Jay (?)] I am Glad
you have such a good times Gertie and all at [?] are all well. We are
going to [?]* for Christmas day and they will come to us for Boxing day.
I am very pleased to say that your uncle Alfred is getting on so well he
seem quite is old self we are well just now hoping this will find you all
well I supose you are happy now with Joy with you now We often talk
about you all and we miss Jay [Joy?] verey much especaly when I am hear by
my self But we hope she will get on well My dears I have not much
to tell you now I must now close with best love to you Beattie & Joy
I still remain your ever loving
Mother E G Shrive
* This might be Des.

Tamaki Estuary -- Our walk there last year.

 Mother and Lottie have been up this afternoon....
......I wonder when you will be getting away from camp............................................
….........................................I do wish the beastly old war could stop – I want you always.
With all my love dear one and Joy's love too
Your loving wife

-------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------

                                                     PANMURE BASIN & DUCKS

   E N D    OF    T H E    F I R S T    P A R T   OF  T H E  'SECOND PART' ALTHOUGH 


.I do wish the beastly old war could stop 


Richard said...

Re this: this began as I wanted to include a letter or part of one thereof by my father about 'this lousy war and all the lonely men wanting women' and so on. He worked at that time (by order of the NZ Govt.) in the CAC (Colonial Ammunition Company). His job was, as he had gained a degree in Architecture, to re-draw and sort many technical drawings of the Colonial Ammunition Company. They must have moved to Hamilton during the war as he describes that.

Looking for this of the few letters my father ever wrote I think (to my mother, he may have written to other people); looking for it I started looking at the family albums and the family history of my parents, grandparents, brother and two sisters and their families, my own family and even my own few letters as a boy.

I also started looking into the situation of Banaba (Ocean Island as I knew it when I grew up as my mother talked of her life their at various times in her life).

But I decided in this part to publish letters embedded in the texts of things such 'The Waves' by Virginia Woolf. I had also become interested myself, via a short book re Woolf by Harris (in fact it was 'Virginia Woolf' (a short biog. of Woolf by Alexandra Harris and her very interesting book of the early 20thC lit. art and social scene of England etc). Both books sparked me to start acquiring Woolf's novels (I have read most of them and some more than once) as well as all of her Journals (I quote from them) and her Letters (I have most volumes) which letters I quote from also. Then I looked at my (only one) Volume of Bertrand Russell's Autobiography (I was also reading Wittgenstein's 'Tractatus' at this time and some books about him and of course he is closely connected to Russell whose letters I quote from the autobiography), from which, as I say I quote various letters and some of his diary entries. I also wrote out many family letters. Also the letters of Van Gogh, parts of the diary of John Cheever (who I count as almost the greatest short story writer I have read, and his diary is good); I thought of adding from Gide's Diary which I got to some years ago as the Pultizer winning US poet James Schuyler praised it in one of his long and fascinating poems, but Gide, interesting as he is, is a problem but he may yet get into this...I also found a book of famous and other letters (hence the very funny, crazy, letter by Mozart, and Hellen Keller's letter and some others). I wasn't looking for "quality" or fame. Just a collection of letters and journals. It is true in this section that that this is more focused perhaps than other "parts" of the I.P. (The Infinite Project which derives from my The Infinite Poem and Eyelight etc). I also used a book of historical Maori writings, and speeches. And I took some Maori proverbs which I left in Maori mostly. My own and others poems and writings and various images interlace the text.

This will have to be Part One of this Part (Journals and Letters -- no other "part" has been named as such. The Infinite Project can be represented in any order or any way and involves all media and all areas of human activity however "important", "high","low" or other. The Project points away from instruction or wisdom or any narrative per se. I myself may show various concerns but be wary I am only the Author and the Author must eventually bow out a la Roland Barthes concept of what I prefer to call the "dimmunition" of the author.

More of this I must put on my other Blog which I need to use soon.

Meanwhile, so far, this part is unfinished and I will be editing it. Then I will put up the next part of it and edit and add to that with images etc.

Note I would also like to use more extensively audio methods and film etc but for now have to use YouTube for that.

So, more editing, and more to come.

Richard said...

Also, I quoted from Herve Guibert. I found his journal 'The Mausoleum of Lovers' at a local library. I knew nothing of him but found his way of writing fascinating.

His entries, while fascinating, I used and they are good, but...eventually I found his work which I found subsequently was part of a project of his own demise from AIDS to be too depressing. As I say though, some of the writing is beautiful.

The other things are more or less in chronological order.

Part Two starts it if "starts" is a term I can use: with Richard Taylor's comments on Maori. He is interesting and was quite enlightened for his time re Maori etc. I wanted letters by him as I liked the amusing idea of "writing to myself"...I have already done a "section" which repeats the argument between 'The Richard Taylors'...perhaps I should quote Richard Von Sturmer I think as I write this as I feel his turning up to so many book launches I turned up to and us joking about 'the two Richards' almost gives me license to quote from his book more or less of his life!

There are other possibilities. But also, I wanted, but couldn't find, a very interesting book about how Maori, from the earliest contact with Europeans, learnt to write and read in English and Maori. So that book was about the 'paper war' and the legal wars that took place before during and after the NZ Wars, although, again any letters by "ordinary people" would be good. My focus is here not just on famous or "great" people but simply on letters and diaries and I suppose, potentially, emails (at other 'parts' of this project I have taken things said in emails and 'quoted' them, usually changed a bit, and with names changed.

Does it have a sense of humour? The kind that say John Ashbery admitted to in many interviews. Once he was asked how he arranged his poetry books: was there any particular way? or a particular theme? [anyone who really has read Ashbery knows that he could mutter about 'Mannerism' or 'Surrealism' and so on but that the answer is really no. But Ashbery said, to the effect: 'No, just shorter ones at the start and so on, or how I feel, how I picked my poems...But there are some hidden 'tricks'. In one volume I end the entire poetry book with the word 'foehn' hoping that most people wouldn't know what that was. This would mean they would or might want to look up a dictionary or [these days, go online to Wikipedia etc] some source: so then the reader would be going from one book to another.

I like that kind of quirky thing. I have no connection to the 19th Century missionary scholar Richard Taylor (or any of the other Richard Taylors) but the idea of connecting between people of the same name intrigues me.

And we all laugh at 'talkng to oneself', something I do do a lot. There is nothing that cannot, in some ways, be seen sometimes in a humorous light. Sure, some subjects cannot be seen so. Otherwise humour and satire is important I feel..

Richard said...

RT. Not bad. But not so much nonsense in future. RT.