Academic journal article Woolf Studies Annual

134 Handwritten: March 9, 1941

Academic journal article Woolf Studies Annual

134 Handwritten: March 9, 1941

Article excerpt






March 9th 1941.

To Mrs Woolf--

Dear Madam,

In leaving before the end of proceedings yesterday we were guilty of a form of rudeness which I hate, and in this instance not just rudeness but loss. We grudged going away while anything more was forthcoming from Mr Woolf. But we had to go. Our blind friend was due to catch a certain minibus and cannot be hurried down steps and across roads. And I had to visit a Nursing Home in Hove before going home. We should have sat behind & so made less disturbance had we known. But our friend gets hold of the personality of a speaker much better when she is close up.

It was extraordinarily good of Mr Woolf to come & give himself to such an audience. Brighton doesn't know its luck. It is a benighted town.

About common sense. I wanted to say to Mr Woolf, be of good cheer, common sense is on its way. When one finds in oneself, as I do, one prejudice after another breaking down, it's a certainty that the same thing is going on in tens of thousands of people's minds. We are better. Things are moving, in spite of the present eclipse. We seem to go round & round & come to the same place, but it's a spiral circle. Tell him, great historian as he is, it is a spiral circle, and that there's simply no end to the power of an enlightened kindliness such as he was radiating yesterday beyond these walls, beyond the limits of that odd little audience.

After the last war I would have said "hang the Kaiser". After this one I shan't want to hang Hitler--shan't be interested in him. We shall forget our hate in our plans for a better world. And I know lots of stodgy people whose minds are moving away from hate & selfishness towards common sense in the same way. The change is amazing. And it is the thinkers like Mr Woolf who have brought this about. Let him merely sit in a chair and go on with his clear, straight thinking, and millions of ignorant people, (who are yet in tune as it were) will get those firm vibrations of his thought & of those like him, & will act on them. First the individuals, then the State. This is not optimism; it's observation of what is happening. (I beg your pardon for all this!). I came away very happy yesterday. …

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