As to Heretics I am really rather worried about the whole business, because I cannot see any basis for going on with the Society. When I look around for people to give papers I can only see political people and purely literary people. The first we exclude and the second for the most part talk wash. I personally don’t think that the religious fight is by any means over and done with but very few people take an interest because they are absorbed by political problems. The only sort of anti-religious propaganda worth doing is among working class people I think. We could broaden our basis and make ourselves a kind of international information society, get people to talk about foreign literary and anti-religious and semi-political movements etc. some of these people who have been gallivanting abroad etc. What about subjects like the position of orthodoxy in Russia and in Hungary after the revolution, or are these things too political ? It seems impossible to keep free of politics without being ineffective. It is like the latter period before the French revolution, when the religious battle bad been fought, they all went into politics. 90 C. K. OgdenUnfortunately I have not his reply to this letter, but mine a few days later indicates that he was worried. He had his bookshops and the Cambridge Magazine, which must have meant much financial anxiety at that time. I was in fact, quite wrong about the slump in the need for anti-religion, as I was presently to find out for myself in the birth control controversy. I wrote again on 2 September:
Would it be a good pan to get Shaw down and set things off some time in October term ? What about Middleton Murry or Lytton Strachey ? Orton could tackle Murry. We could poss[ably]. get Prior* but I don’t know what good he’d be. I expect too, Van Stuwe could be got again. But I feel we want good biting papers to be any use. Clive Bell ? any of the Athenaeum crowd ? Virginia Woolf ?! Sassoon? May Sindair ? Doesn’t Dent ever do anything ? I feel it isn’t much use just carrying on, we want to burst out or stop. Send me a line saying what you think and I’ll take steps. I have been pondering the problem for some time. I can only get one or two fixtures attended to, though, as I must get off mid October.
Dear dear Og,The postscript to this letter indicates that no fixtures for Heretics had been made, but that Dot Wrinch, who was then staying at Lulworth, would be willing to do a paper, as I might also before my departure, but the conclusion seems to suggest that Ogden himself was thinking of temporarily dropping the Society.
You sound rather sad, so I make haste to write to you. I do hope you are eating a lot and getting some good sleep, not staying up all night every night. And I hope things go better soon. Also that my letter about Heretics did not make you sad. It was not shirking that made me write that way, only rather a despair about the intellectual level of people in general, and grief at the relentless approach of class war. I wish we could all be Bolshevik quick and have done with it.
|Cambridge 1909-1919 and its Aftermath P. Sargant Florence||13|
|A Voice of Reason in the First World War Martin and Eva Kolinsky||56|
|"My Friend Ogden" Dora Russell||82|
|Co-Author of the "Meaning of Meaning" I. A. Richards||96|
|An Improbable Friendship Marjory Todd||110|
|Talent Scout and Editor Lord Zuckerman||122|