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AIKEN, Conrad - Autograph Letter Signed (Als)

25 June 1917. Letter. An early four-page handwritten letter on one 6-1/4" x 9-7/8" sheet of paper folded into fours to American poet Orrick Johns, explaining his comparison of Johns to Edwin Arlington Robinson and responding to a comparison of his 1916 book of poetry, THE JIG OF FORSLIN: A SYMPHONY, to the writing of Charles Baudelaire. In part: "I was delighted to get your letter.. As to that echo of Robinson, perhaps I should have been more just if I had said similarity instead of echo: though even so I did not mean to put too much emphasis on the idea. In two or three of your things I felt something of Robinson's trick of veiled reference, inuendo, coupled with terseness of rhythm: certainly, nothing to worry about! I quite agree with you in your feeling about him. I admire rather than like him. I imagine that if I were drunk I should call him a Missing Puritan. You are the third person to link Forslin with Baudelaire. I don't know whether to be provoked or not, because all I know of Baudelaire is hearsay. I’ve never read him-- not a solitary thing. So he is what I imagine him to be,-- a decadent for decadence’s sake,-- there, I am provoked! Because I don't think I belong in that class. The decadent stream in FORSLIN is put there merely as one part of a rather complex pattern, on the assumption (certainty?) that it is an important element in the unrealistic life of homo sapiens.-- I've got three books, some antedating FORSLIN, some contemporaneous with it, some subsequent, which I expect to get out during the next two years, in the hope of destroying any idea that I am a seeker for the merely phosphorescent. I am glad to know that you may come east. If you do, and get to Boston or anywhere near it, for heaven's sake let me know. Intelligent people are rare now in Boston. Lightly creased and toned. About Fine .
USD 1250.00 [Appr.: EURO 1173 | £UK 1003.5 | JP¥ 191413] Book number 020952

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