[Ethel Mannin, novelist and travel writer.] Five Typed Cards Signed and one Autograph Card Signed to Frederick Staerck, discussing her thoughts on 'decadence', civilisation, cultivating her garden, and the loss of the creative urge.

Ethel Mannin [Ethel Edith Mannin] (1900-1984), novelist and travel writer, Bohemian and socialist
Publication details: 
Between 2 April 1973 and 30 December 1978. One from 'Miss E. Mannin, Overhill, Brook Lane, Shaldon, Teignmouth, Devon'. Two others 'From E. M.'
SKU: 22362

Six long cards, full of interesting content, including surprising thoughts on the 'decadence' of the world, her desire to 'cultivate [her] garden' both in a literal and Voltairean sense, and the fact that the creative urge has left her. All six are signed 'Ethel Mannin'. The penultimate card is in autograph, the others typewritten. Four addressed to Staerck at Maidenhead, two to him on the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland. The collection is in good overall condition: the first has a smudged autograph note up one margin. ONE (2 April 1973): She begins by thanking him for telling her about his name, before continuing: 'Like you I was born and bred in London (as my father was) but unlike you I do feel myself a Londoner – as my Cockney dad did, though I am interested in the Irish origins of the Mannins, and for 17 years had a cottage in Connemara; as you may know – but the long Irish loveaffair [sic] came to an end, as loveaffairs have a way of doing.' She still finds the world beautiful: '”God” made a good job of it, but Man is very vile, and increasingly so; sometimes the vileness seems too much to be borne, and one is driven back to cultivating one's garden – literally; and thankful to have one to cultivate! The beauty of the world makes one sad because of what Man is doing to it, and to all things living.' She ends by asking him to always write when he feels like it. TWO (17 April 1973): She continues on the subject of her 'belief that mankind is vile', which is 'based on my observation of the growing decadence and vileness of our world, engulfed in a tidal wave of pornography, and a complete destitution (it wd. Appear) of moral sense, and an ever-increasing violence'. She explains her theory on the cycles of civilisations. 'I have no t.v., a medium I dislike and also regard as pernicious'. She discusses King Hussein of Jordan ('H.'), whom she has met 'a number of times, and when I wrote THE LOVELY LAND (Jordan) admired him, but not since he turned his army on the guerillas and became “the butcher of Amman,” and Black September was born. But like his grandfather he will eventually die by a Palestinian bullet. For sure.' THREE (14 December 1974): She does not think her 'volume of work is all that remarkable – averaging a book and a half a year; if you are a professional author, living by your work, you can't get by with less unless you are a bestseller, which I've never been'. She mentions two recent books, and states that 'there will now be nothing else until the autumn of next year – the novel I am currently working on. The By the same author list is big because it represents 50 years of publishing – which is a long period.' FOUR (16 September 1975): Discussing her book 'Stories'. FIVE (3 January 1976, in autograph): She thanks him for 'the map-lett', adding that she 'wrote about that area in my novel, KILDOON. (I stayed at the island of GIGHA during the war)'. With reference to the picture on the postcard she writes: 'Devon is far from wild, but has fine red cliffs (as well as red sails!)' SIX (30 December 1978): She thanks him for his card, and for remembering her. 'No, I've written nothing since I finished SUNSET OVER DARTMOOR, A Final Chapter of Autobiography, in July, 1975 (it was published last year, '77) and haven't the slightest desire to. No question of “putting a stop to it” - the creative urge has completely gone from me. I now simply cultivate my garden – literally! I enjoy the quiet here. I was 78 in October.'