Four Typed Letters Signed and two Autograph Cards Signed from the Hampstead poet Frederick Grubb (one in full, four 'Fredk G' and one 'Comrade G') to the critic Derek Stanford, including a virulent attack, and with two other items signed by Grubb.

Fred Grubb [Frederick Grubb] (born 1930), English poet [Derek Stanford (1918-2008), English writer; 1960s Hampstead coterie]
Fred Grubb [Frederick Grubb] (born 1930), English poet
Publication details: 
1973 and 1974; most from 243 Haverstock Hill, Hampstead.
SKU: 10793

All items clear and complete, on aged paper. Letters totaling: 4to, 1 p; landscape 8vo, 5 pp. The two cards carry long messages, written in red ink in Grubb's close, neat hand; one is standard size, the other 27 x 13.5 cm. Five envelopes are stapled to their letters. Grubb ('one of the last survivors of the famous 1960s Hampstead coterie of writers, actors and critics') writes entertainingly in an emphatic, energetic manner marvellously evocative of the 1970s London literary scene. Grubb mounts an extraordinarily savage attack on Stanford after sending him two pages of publicity material relating to a 1973 'Benefit for Chilean Workers & Refugees. Pablo Neruda Memorial Reading', one page signed by Grubb and the other with autograph note by him reading 'Fuck the dim and mawkish 1890's - what's needed is the vital spirit of the 1930's and 1970's!' Grubb's comment on the 1890s - a subject on which Stanford was an authority - elicits a mocking christmas card from the critic, containing the comment 'Do not "Fuck the Nineties" - a misplaced piece of virility, when there are so many Women's Lib vaginas ready to provide a more suitable receptacle.' A furious Grubb replies (December 1973): 'I do not invite an acquaintance to donate to a fund in order to get insulted myself, and worse, to see my cause vilified by third-rate quips. [...] I am amazed by your casual assumption that beliefs of deep significance to somebody can be gibed at in your petty way. Then I recall that as a typical English conformist and opportunist you just can not see or understand anything beyond the narrow horizon of your complacency and comfords. [...] you are among the more servile, corrupter dunces I've bumped into. Drop dead and I wouldn't spit on your grave, let alone put on a Memorial Reading.' In a postscript Grubb responds directly to the 'Women's Lib' comment, stating that he wouldn't introduce his 'delightful and bright, if non-puritan, Hungarian C[ommunist] P[arty] girl' to 'scum like you, hardened in vulgarity and cynicism. You boasted - "I write in Tribune for the free tickets". Not because you believe in any cause. I detest hypocrites.' In a long letter of 'Dec/Jan 1974' headed 'Kremlin' Grubb attempts at reconciliation. 'My remarks were never aimed to hurt. It's simply that, as a Marxist in a deeply reactionary, conformist and conventional society [...] I've found that the only way to get anything to "register", to rub off, on the bourgeois is by absolute polemical force, a thorough kick in the arse.' Other topics include: a long discussion of Philip Larkin's 'largely iniquitous anthology' ('The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse'): 'Frankly I didn't "expect" to be in the anthology (I can't imagine any qualifying poem!) but that doesn't prevent me from agreeing (largely) with your strictures [...] Larkin's worst crime, in my view, is to chicken out of an ideocritical Preface whereby even Yeats had the courage to (try) to justify his eccentricities.' Grubb's political position: 'I'm NOT a Leavisite, never have been. No Marxist could be! [...] Frankly, you've got an obsession with Leavis. When I agree with him, it's usually to my own surprise!' The present political situation: 'I hope to find [in the Soviet Union] a more morally and culturally vital and committed society than in England where free love may exist without prostitution, and Heath and Thatcher don't prate about "standards and values and education" while Lambton (Harrovian) & Jellicoe (Etonian) pay prostitutes £500 a night when the money should go to the homeless, the exploited, the unemployed, the W.E.A. etc.' Also included is a photocopied page with three newspaper cuttings, with initialed note by Grubb to 'Comrade Stanford'. One of the cuttings is of a letter by Grubb to The Times, 10 December 1973, attacking W. H. Auden's later period. In a postcard, January 1974, Grubb defends his position on 'The betrayal in late Auden' ('duplicity of tone, dodgy values, artificial versification, trite and willed subjects'). In the last letter (31 May 1974) Grubb refers to his 'edition of Roberts's poetry and criticism for Carcanet to join their eds. of Rickwood, Hamburger and Edwin Morgan. I may or may not be allowed to include Cornford and Bell with Roberts. These 1930's people are the best: nothing like it has happenned [sic] since.' Grubb's politics are to the fore throughout: he refers to Lenin as 'our leader and teacher', sends a couple of letters from the 'Revolutionary H.Q.', and signs another off 'For the total destruction of the Tory party, of the British capitalist class, of all genteel compalcency, and the transformation of man and of life. Red front!'