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Letter from J. Middleton Murry 10 February 1933

Identifier: Coll-1470

Scope and Contents

This autograph letter signed is dated 10 February 1933, and was written from The Old Rectory, Larling, nr. Norwich. The letter is not addressed to anyone by name and Murry begins by stating that he is 'not perfectly certain of your name even'. It continues by referring to an 'issue between Mrs Carswell and me' which 'is at once simple, and not simple'. Murry states that he does 'not doubt, for one moment, that her original impulse was one of good faith'. He writes, 'She felt it her duty to defend Lawrence against me'. That had been 'her first mistake' one 'made in absolutely good faith, but a mistake of the most serious kind'. Mrs. Carswell 'did not, and does not, understand' his work Son of Woman. He continues by saying that having 'misunderstood' and 'misinterpreted' his work as an attack on Lawrence 'she concluded' that he 'was a sort of devil incarnate'. The letter continues in that vein as he defends his postion to the unnamed correspondent.


  • Creation: 1933


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit.

Biographical / Historical

Writer and reviewer John Middleton Murry was born in Peckham, London, 6 August 1889. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, and Brasenose College, Oxford. His literary career began in 1911 and his last book was publishe din 1957. Murry promoted the work of his wife, Katherine Mansfield, after her death in 1923, and his friendship with D. H. Lawrence inspired an autobiography of the great novelist. In the 1920s, Murry's interests shifted from literature to religious philosophy, and in the 1930s he converted to Marxism and then moved politically towards pacifism. His writing of the period reflected these shifts in interest. John Middleton Murry died 12 March 1957.

In the 1930s a dispute had arisen between John Middleton Murry and Catherine Carswell (1879-1946). She had attempted to answer Murry's work on D. H. Lawrence through a work of her own but publishers Chatto & Windus had withdrawn her book because of threats of legal action from Murry. Martin Secker had reissued a revised version in 1932. The letter here refers to this dispute.


1 letter

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The letter was inserted in a book purchased February 2013 (Rare Book Accession no: 2013.34). Accession no: E2013.39

Related Materials

The letter was inserted in the title acquired by Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library: Murry, John Middleton. 'Reminiscences of D. H. Lawrence'. London: Jonathan Cape, 1933. (Rare Book Accession no: 2013.34). Shelmark RB.S.1236.

Also within Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, are Coll-62, Papers of John Middleton Murry .

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 28 March 2014

Letter from John Middleton Murry, 10 February 1933
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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