Anglo-American Literary Relations

Anglo-American Literary Relations

Anglo-American Literary Relations

Anglo-American Literary Relations

Excerpt

This book consists of the lectures delivered, on the Watson Chair Foundation of the Sulgrave Manor Board, in University College, London, in March 1931, and now first published. The lecturer for that year was George Stuart Gordon, who had been Merton Professor of English Literature at Oxford from 1922 to 1928, and had in 1928 become President of Magdalen. He died in March 1942, at the age of 61, leaving much unpublished that he had hoped to revise for the press.

Those of his friends who knew that Gordon had laboured in the field, as yet little tilled, of Anglo-American literary commerce deplored his failure to come to the point of publication. It was known to me from himself that this was one of his major studies; and from another that it was what most men would have regarded as fit for publication. One who had heard all the Watson Lectures told me it was a pity that incomparably the best of those series was the only one still unknown except to its hearers. With a friendly eye, therefore, to Gordon's reputation, and a publisher's to other considerations, I inquired from time to time how this matter stood. But I got little encouragement; the stuff was in a drawer, he hoped one day to take it out; but there was much to do at it, and no opportunity.

There came a point near the end of his last illness when he braced himself to an heroic effort at the ordering of his papers and the communication of his wishes. He even corrected his manuscripts, and filled some gaps. I was in attendance, during this last flicker of the candle, to give what help--what tragically little help-- I could by way of advice. But we had only one interview . . .

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