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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Monday, 21 April 2014
We went to London on Thursday. I for dinner at Omar Khayyam Club. Interview with Pinker who lunched with me, and told me privately of his scheme for increasing dramatists' royalties according to length of run. This at Reform Club.
Exhibition of Max Beerbohm's cartoons at Leicester Galleries. Crowd. I was at once recognised - with a certain lack of politeness - by two men. I was ill all day. Probably liver - anyhow pains in back - very mysterious and disconcerting. Bad night. Same illness on Friday complicated by dyspepsia. I went to Leicester Galleries and bought my caricature. Then to Agnew Galleries to see alleged finest collection of watercolours by Turner ever got together. I thought both the Blue and the Red Righi rather over-praised, and I preferred the "Scarborough" picture - marvellous microscopic figures of women in the foreground. A few loud-voiced English upper-classes patronisingly present. This show superb, but still I left it with slight disappointment - a flat feeling, a suspicion of prettiness and academicism. Perhaps, had I been feeling better, my pleasure in the show would have been enhanced.
Lunch alone at Reform. Ill.
Additionally for April 21st., see 'Illumination in Syracuse'
I knew nothing of The Clouds except its title and the outline of its plot. My mind was a clean slate. The first impression was not good, for I certainly could not admire the scenic background. But as soon as the piece actually began, within two minutes of the opening, I had the exciting joy of new perceptions about classical drama. Obviously the thing was being very well done. I could hear every word plainly across a space of some seventy five yards - and in the open! (Oh, West End of London, where I must strain my ears at a distance of ten yards and withal be resigned to miss much!) The austere simplicity of the construction of the play, the rise and fall of its emotion, its disdain of what we call realism, and its respect for that truth which the West End of London will not tolerate save under compulsion - these matters were rendered movingly plain to me.