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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Back to work

Tuesday, September 19th., Les Sablons.

I resumed work last Saturday, after the longest holiday I have had since I can remember. Except a few hours work on a play, I had done no work for over two months. On Saturday, Sunday and yesterday I wrote a story called "The Murder of the Mandarin", and I posted it at once to the typist. In the evening I rode over to Marlotte and dined alone with Mrs. Devereux.

Mrs Roy Devereux (Margaret Pember Devereux), was not a conservative, anti-woman writer: "The Ascent of Woman", is concerned with women’s new and transforming presence in the public sphere. Yet like other fin-de-si├Ęcle women writers, Devereux holds contradictory and ambiguous views about the female author/ journalist. A story by Devereux, “The Feminine Potential”  explores how a woman journalist rejects a potential suitor. The female protagonist, Margot, wonders why “people get married…and then thought it was only part of the futility of life.” Later she discovers that the man who proposed to her has married someone else. Margot, in a morbid move, gases herself in her London attic. Devereux appears not to hold heroic views of the single woman who writes for a living. “The Feminine Potential” seems to say that the woman who rejects domestic womanhood is to blame for her ensuing downfall. Devereux is also scathing of ‘spinster journalists”. In The Ascent of Woman she claims that “The ordinary article on woman is saturated, be the writer thereof male or female. But any callow youth or any inexperienced spinster lacking in knowledge of life and literary ability is accepted as a competent critic of women.”

See also 'Parisian Impressions', October 8th. - 

Mrs. Devereux told me about Frank Harris. She said he was 43 when she first met him in 1895. He then had a fixed idea that he should die at 44. He had a marvellous voice. Lamperte offered him 5 years tuition if he would only study, free, and said that he would be the greatest bass that there had ever been. His eloquence was astounding. He made a political speech and was adopted as Conservative candidate for one of the Ridings. No dinner party was complete without him. Carlyle had thought very highly of him, and this opinion was echoed by a later generation. Lord R. Churchill thought him the greatest man he had ever met. John Walter of The Times believed in him long after most others had ceased to do so.

He bought The Saturday Review for £5,000 and sold it for £30,000. He was never mean. he was the sort of man who would stab a person in the back and rob him of all he possessed, and then give the entire proceeds to another person. He was easily influenced and easily intoxicated by his own eloquence. During the Boer War he was at a luncheon party and began to talk about the sufferings of the Boers in such a manner that the entire party, including a general who had returned from South Africa, was literally reduced to tears. Finally he burst into tears himself, jumped up and left the house.

Wilde offered him the leading idea of "Mr. and Mrs. Daventry" and he bought it for £100, and afterwards gave Wilde two further sums of £50. harris wrote the play, got it produced, and made £4,000 out of it.

Frank Harris (February 14, 1856 – August 27, 1931) was an editor, journalist and publisher, who was friendly with many well-known figures of his day. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to America early in life, working in a variety of unskilled jobs before attending the University of Kansas to read law. He eventually became a citizen there. After graduation he quickly tired of his legal career and returned to Europe in 1882. He travelled on continental Europe before settling in London to pursue a career in journalism. Though he attracted much attention during his life for his irascible, aggressive personality, editorship of famous periodicals, and friendship with the talented and famous, he is remembered mainly for his multiple-volume memoir My Life and Loves, which was banned in countries around the world for its sexual explicitness. Harris also wrote short stories and novels, two books on Shakespeare, a series of biographical sketches in five volumes under the title Contemporary Portraits and biographies of his friends Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. His attempts at playwriting were less successful: only Mr. and Mrs. Daventry (1900) (which was based on an idea by Oscar Wilde) was produced on the stage.

Additionally for September 19th., see 'Love in Liverpool' - http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/love-in-liverpool.html

"Sacred and Profane Love" was produced at the Playhouse, Liverpool, last Monday 15th, at 7.30.

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