Typed Letter Signed ('David') from Sir David Russell to his cousin Frank Carr Nicholson, discussing Rodney Collins's book on Ouspensky, Alexis Aladin, and 'books we have read'. With copy of his anonymous pamphlet 'Iona. A Short Chronological Table'.

Sir David Russell (1872-1956) of Silverburn, Leven, Fife [Frank Carr Nicholson (1875-1962), Librarian, Edinburgh University Library; Alexis Aladin (d.1927); Rodney Collins; Gurdieff; Ouspensky]
Publication details: 
Letter on letterhead of Silverburn, Leven, Fife; 4 April 1956. Pamphlet printed by McLagan & Cumming, Edinburgh;1932.
SKU: 12366

Both letter and pamphlet in very good condition. Letter: 8pp., 4to. Written a few days before Russell's death on 12 March 1956. On the first page he describes how the London esoteric bookseller J. M. Watkins 'went completely blind some years before he died, and he told me that he scarcely regretted it, because of the greater sensitiveness he felt to all the influences about him: but this, I imagine, must have been a very rare experience.' Russell then comments on 'the books we have read', including works by Rudolf Steiner, Edward Carpenter, Douglas Fawcett ('I have just heard this morning that Hodder & Stoughton have signed a contract for the publication of Raynor Johnson's book') and Max Picard. Half of the letter is devoted to Ouspensky and Collins. Of the 'Tertium Organum' Russell writes: 'A curious thing about it is that when I read it I am always reminded of Alexis Aladin. I do not know if I have ever spoken to you about him before. He was the Leader of the Peasant Party in the first Duma, but later had to leave the country and come to Britain.' After a brief account of his friendship with Aladin Russell turns to Collins's book. He regards Collins as 'wholly a materialist, although he admits the possibility of the continuance of "life" through a number of incarnations. | I would hesitate to question any of his assumptions about the universe. These, after all, are only theories, and even widely accepted theories are not always realities. Even Einstein's theory of the expanding universe is questioned now by Freundlich of St Andrews, who as a young man was Einstein's greatest supporter: but that is a long story.' Nearly two pages are devoted to inaccuracies on the subject of the Christianisation of Britain in Collins's work: 'These details may be of little interest, but, coming across errors of this sort throws some doubt upon his accuracy in other directions.' The last couple of pages give personal news, including his resignation from the Court at the University of St Andrews, and his interest in 'the possible development of the Physics side': radionics, biophysics, radiesthesia. A postscript describes the pamphlet: 'I prepared the short Chronological Table enclosed for the benefit of the Parish of Iona. Before putting it in print, I submitted it to Simpson of Aberdeen, who approved of it in every detail. Pamphlet: [15]pp, 8vo. Stapled, in cream printed wraps. The full title reads: 'Iona. A short chronological table showing the setting of Iona and the Celtic Church, in relation to contemporary events'. Pamphlet scarce and mis-ascribed on COPAC.