“IT WAS A DAMNABLE BIT OF FEUDALISM
WHICH OUGHT TO BE EXPRESSED TO A CIVILIZATION
THAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE LEFT SUCH THINGS FAR BEHIND.”
BRET HARTE. American short story writer. Autograph Letter Signed, one and one-half pages, octavo, [Scotland], July 14, 1880. To M. D. [Conory].
“Many thanks for your flattering and most kind suggestion. But I am not yet pregnant with any English novel, at least, sufficiently to be an object of solicitude to any publishing accusations. I shall try to make something out of [Frende]’s material. Although it may not reach the importance of a novel. It was a damnable bit of feudalism which ought to be expressed to a civilization that is supposed to have left such things far behind. I should have called upon you but these distances are so hopeless and time-swallowing in London. Make my best regards to your wife. Let me repeat my thanks for your pleasant interest in my welfare & believe me, does Mr [Cairey]….”
In July 1878, Bret Harte accepted a job as consulate at Crefeld in Rhenish Prussia and sailed to Europe, leaving his wife and family, never to return to the United States. “He remained about two years in Crefeld – discouraged, lonely, often ill. He wrote a little, but produced nothing to enhance his reputation – [which] had not declined in England as it had in the United States; he was still feted, invited to lecture, and sought as a friend. In July 1880, he received the more important post of the consulate at Glasgow. There his situation was hardly more congenial, but England and his friends were more accessible. Bret Harte wrote continually, supporting himself by his pen so that his official income could go to his family. His success with the English public helped him gradually to regain the confidence in his literary powers which had been so badly shattered by the experiences of his last few years in the United States [his wife’s extravagances and his own carelessness about money matters had contributed to a slump in his work]” [Dictionary of American Biography].
This item is associated with the following category in our inventory:
- Literature – American