[ Littleton Powys, second-eldest of the Powys family, Sherborne schoolmaster and naturalist.] Four Autograph Letters Signed (all 'Littleton') to the journalist Collin Brooks ('Collin'), mainly regarding his late wife the novelist Elizabeth Myers.

Littleton Powys [Littleton Charles Powys] (1874-1955) of the Powys Family, teacher (Sherborne) and naturalist [his wife the novelist Elizabeth Myers (1903-1947); Collin Brooks (1893-1959), journalist]
Publication details: 
All four letters from The Quarry House, The Avenue, Sherborne, Dorset. (The first on a letterhead of the address.) 5 May, 20 August and 10 September 1948; and 28 April 1949.
SKU: 20948

Four good letters, in which the author's love for his wife and grief at her death are apparent. Littleton Powys was the second-eldest of eleven, his siblings including writers John Cowper Powys, T. F. Powys and Llewelyn Powys, architect A. R. Powys, artist Gertrude Powys, lacemaker Marian Powys, and poet and novelist Philippa Powys. His autobiography 'The Joy of it' was published in 1937, with the sequel 'Still the Joy of it' appearing in 1956. The four letters are in good condition, lightly aged. They total 12pp., 12mo. The main topic is the correspondence between the recipient Brooks and Powys's wife Elizabeth Myers, which would feature in Powys's 1951 edition of her letters. In the first (5 May 1948) he states that he is 'sending you back Elizabeth's letters; what pleasure she had in her correspondence with you! Bless you! You will scarcely believe it but I have copied practically the whole lot out – There are some so full of interest and wisdom that they should appear in any memoirs of her […] all through this long correspondence one comes upon passages which should be preserved, and I thought it best to have my own collection of them so that I could pick and choose as I want them.' He reassures him that he will take care to avoid anything that 'seems too personal or may cause trouble as her comments on C & H – How she would have hated that [furor?] now!' He turns to the publication of her short stories, of which he is 'Only printing 3000 Copies': 'It has been a very great pleasure to me to read them and I felt that the correspondence reached a singularly high level when you were endeavoring to get to know each other with questions on books and art and music and religion & politics'. Both correspondents emerge 'with flying colours: to love a person you must admire him and that admiration was present with each of you'. He was also pleased with the references to him. In a postscript he promises to submit any passages to Brooks before publication. The second letter (20 August 1948) begins: 'Blessings on you, Collin, my dear, for writing that little letter to me. Firstly I loved it because it seemed for the moment to bring our dear Elizabeth back to life again: so well do I remember how happy she was when she received your enthusiastic letters! In her stories too you will find her living in every page: and be reminded of some critic's opinion of her first short story which appeared when she was 18 in the Countryman' (quotation follows). He is happy that “at last “Good Beds” is going to be published': 'The understanding with Elizabeth was that it was to come out in the Spring – a sort of stop gap before her novel “the Governor” appeared. As you will remember this was only half finished & I had to destroy it.' He gives news of the forthcoming second volume of his autobiography, 'in which I endeavour to show that the influence of two good women can, even when they go, make a man's life still worth living: in which I push forward a crusade of mine on the importance of Field Natural History in Education'. He lists other topics of the book, and states that he is 'coming up to London to see the new “Pharaoh” at Chapman & Hall about my book. The Pharaoh who knows not Joseph: For Arthur Waugh was a very old friend of mine and very fond of Elizabeth and [?] superintended my first book.' In the third letter (10 September 1948) he thanks Brooks 'for that perfectly glorious review of my dear Elizabeth's Short Stories. How giftedly you say what I should have liked to say myself about her writing, and thinking and her divine pity!' The review will be especially valuable, for in her publishers Chapman and Hall 'the old order has changed, a Pharaoh has arisen who knew not Joseph, and this book – the publication of which has been put off from the spring to midsummer, has been sent into the world without the enthusiasm inspired by Arthur Waugh and Gatfield – with only 3000 copies printed'. Powys has 'between 40 and 50 more short stories of hers from which to make a collection – some of them her very best', and he was 'waiting to see how these would be received'. He discusses some of the 'excellent reviews', including one by 'Ralph Straus in the Sunday Times'. 'Her photograph is looking at me and I read your review to her and I could see that lovely light come into her eyes which showed itself when she was more than ordinarily pleased'. He has 'made friends with a young local author in these parts Mrs. Monica Hutchings who writes simply and delightfully about the country – I had to ring her up to read your review to her, for she has a great admiration of Elizabeth.' He thanks him for a copy of the TLS: ' He thanks him for a copy of the TLS, writing: 'I am not as at home with Rabelais as Bernie or Jack [altered to 'John'] and Llewelyn were but I found great pleasure in John's interpretation for I am at bottom largely a “humanist” myself'. He discusses the preparation of his autobiography, and ends by stating of Brooks's 'work': 'I simply cannot understand how you can deal with all these difficult matters'. In the last letter (28 April 1949) he returns to 'dear Elizabeth's letters to you', which he has been rereading: 'What a lovely collection it is! I think that possibly she is at her best in 1944, in November of that year she had hat bad attack of bronchitis, and there does not seem to be quite the same vitality in them afterwards. But all the time I keep saying to myself, What a wonderful gift!' He will find it difficult to edit the letters, having 'enjoyed every word so much'. He concludes, regarding the publication of his wife's letters: 'I am getting them in gradually, but many of her friends are separated from the letters & it will take time to get them – I am sorry Nowell Smith has destroyed his.' Accompanying the letters are photocopies of two 8vo pages of type transcriptions from Brooks's journals, the first page carrying an entry dated 21 August 1948 (Myers' short stories 'amazingly good', receipt of a 'pathetic letter' from Littleton, regret that he did not do enough for Myers), and the second 11 December 1949 (how Littleton has asked him to write the preface to his memoir, Walter de la Mare and J. C. Powys having refused: 'I do not know what Littleton will think of my linking Elizabeth Myers and Ann Reid in my “table talk.” Perhaps he will like it. His devotion to Benny's memory is striking and poignant: how idyllic a marriage it must have been.'). Also a cutting of a review of Myers' 'Good Beds – Men Only'.