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Letter from Walter de la Mare to John Atkins, 2 April 1948

 Item — Box: CLX-A-371
Identifier: Coll-1848/18-0117/2

Scope and Contents

Long autograph letter signed, from Walter de la Mare to John Atkins, dated 2 April 1948, The Old Park. The letter says that "Alas, I didn't deserve one word of your reference to the R.L.F [Royal Literary Fund]. I wish it were otherwise. Illness as you know prevented my attending the Meeting of the Committee. ... I was very glad to hear that a grant has been awarded... . All that you said concerning the writing of books keenly interested me. There are outstanding exceptions, of course, but, in general, if one insists on following one's own bent and inclination, even if it is not widely ... off the beaten track, a recognition adequate enough to produce anything worth calling an income is usually slow work. But other sources, eg reviewing (which was always in my case against the grain) must come into play. I feel sure you agree that at the beginning of authorship some other additional job, if it is not too exhausting, is the best way out. ... Nor do I think that early success is usually an advantage in the long run. Is it quite so in the case of Kipling & Dickens even? Nothing could be more trite & Samuel Smilesesq than, 'Best do one's best however bad', but what is the alternative? R. L.S. on butcher's bills is sorrow enough, but there is an influence strangely sterilising in the deliberate manufacture in any work of their mind . I know quite well what you mean by 'despair'..."


  • Creation: 2 April 1948


Language of Materials


Physical Description

4 sides oblong 8vo.

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

The Royal Literary Fund is a benevolent fund for professional published authors; it is funded exclusively by bequests and donations from writers and others who wish to help writers.

John Atkin was a British writer and literary critic. He was born at Carshalton, Surrey, in 1919 and graduated B.A. from the Bristol University in 1938. Subsequently, he worked for Mass Observation and the left-wing newspaper The Tribune, before service with the army in 1943. After the war, he worked as a critic specialising in analysing the work of 20th-century writers, and taught in different parts of the world, including Sudan and Poland. He wrote several books for Calder Publishing and other publishers.


1 letter

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 2018. Accession no SC-Acc-2018/0117.

Related Materials

Special Collectionos hold several other collections and items relating to Walter de la Mare, including Coll-1836: Letters from Walter de la Mare, 1926-1953.

Physical Description

4 sides oblong 8vo.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in July 2018.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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