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A letter from John Masefield

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MGM·Lion 22 Oct 09 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,BBP at work 22 Oct 09 - 10:15 AM
Will Fly 22 Oct 09 - 11:20 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 09 - 02:29 AM
GUEST 23 Oct 09 - 03:51 AM
Will Fly 23 Oct 09 - 03:55 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 09 - 12:09 AM
katlaughing 24 Oct 09 - 12:15 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 09 - 12:31 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 09 - 12:44 AM
semi-submersible 24 Oct 09 - 01:34 AM
Anglo 24 Oct 09 - 01:41 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 09 - 01:49 AM
semi-submersible 24 Oct 09 - 04:03 AM
Will Fly 24 Oct 09 - 05:02 AM
semi-submersible 24 Oct 09 - 06:03 AM
Will Fly 24 Oct 09 - 06:45 AM
Edthefolkie 24 Oct 09 - 12:51 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 09 - 02:40 PM
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Subject: A letter from John Masefield
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 10:09 AM

Having just come across two refs to John Masefield, Poet Laureate for longer than any other [I think], 1930-67 - one on a thread concerning his famous poem 'Cargoes', one recommending a book of his about Nelson's navy on the 'It's Trafalgar Day' thread, I feel moved to record here that I possess a handwritten letter from him to my late wife, undated but must have been written while she was sub-editor on Housewife magazine or Chief sub-editor of Flair magazine, both based in Fleet Street, between late 1960 and early 1963. It is just a business letter, but I find it of interest in its old-fashioned courtesy — and orthography: he actually did use the archaic long-s as shown - and usage; I asked Michael Quinion of World Wide Words, well-known to many Catters, about 'at the telephone', and he thought it a phrase peculiar to Masefield himself:

    BURCOTE BROOK: ABINGDON
    Dear Madam,
          I thank you for your kind patience at the telephone this morning.
          I return the marked proof, ready for Preſs.
           With my greetings & thanks,

                 John Maſefield.

Michael Grosvenor Myer


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: GUEST,BBP at work
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 10:15 AM

I know his poems best from those that have been set to music for choral singing.

What a treasure you have there.

Deirdre


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 11:20 AM

Fascinating story. Masefield was born the same year as my mother's father (1878), and my grandfather also spent time before the mast, sailing on collier brigs from Yarmouth to Newcastle and back. Unlike Masefield, he spent many years of his life at sea, sailing on the WW1 hospital ship HMHS Britannic - sister ship to the Titanic - which hit a mine in the Aegean (luckily he had left it by then).

Grandfather was - as was Masefield - an orderly in the RAMC, but in the Aegean, Gallipoli, the Middle East and India. Masefield was on the Western Front. Brave men both.


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 02:29 AM

To make this entry more full and informative, I have been trying to find out for which of the two women's magazines named above that Valerie worked on as sub/chief-sub late-50s/early60s Masefield wrote the article, which they would obviously have commissioned with some triumph from so distinguished a contributor; & what its subject/title was. It was clearly too minor a work to have been included in a partial bibliography such as that in Wikipedia — which does, however, provide the following ref —

'For a full (and recent) bibliography refer to Errington, Philip W., John Masefield - The 'Great Auk' of English Literature - A Bibliography, The British Library / Oak Knoll Press, 2004'

Is it too much to hope that some of the many Catters, who often seem from this forum to know everything & possess every book ever pub'd between them, might have a copy of this or some other full bibliography of Masefield, and so be able to fill me in on the above queries?


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 03:51 AM

I regret I am unable to give any light whatsoever, but your thread, Michael, draws a query. Do you have any reference of the book on Nelson by Masefield that you mention? I have so far failed to turn it up on booksearch. Any info much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 03:55 AM

You can read the book on the internet (or download it) here.

There are other formats than Deja Vu - just go back through the link if you have problems. The main page is: Sea Life In Nelson's Time.


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 12:09 AM

Many thanks for answering these queries, Will.

Has anyone access to a Masefield bibliography to answer my queries of 3 posts back?


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 12:15 AM

This is fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I shall follow with interest.:-)


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 12:31 AM

So happy you find it so, Kat.

GUEST of 23 Oct 03.51 — may I draw your attention to the ongoing "It's Trafalgar Day" thread, which I also OP'd, which I think you would find of interest if you haven't already come across it, as Nelson appears to be an interest of yours & it contains several refs to books &c relating to him.

So let me repeat here, as Masefield I am sure would have approved: Bold Nelson's praise I mean to sing...


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 12:44 AM

... and to GUEST BBP — I was most remiss, Deirdre, in not thanking you forthwith for your very kind response to my OP. Please now accept my belated but nevertheless sincere [or, as JM himself would have written, ſincere] thanks.   

Michael


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: semi-submersible
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 01:34 AM

I wish my computer screen would display your typography. May we technologically challenged ones assume that your second "sincere" used the long lowercase "s" making it look like "fincere"?


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: Anglo
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 01:41 AM

Michael, thank you for your response. Apologies for being "guest." I hadn't realize Mudcat had dumped my registration. I'll check out the thread.

John Roberts


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 01:49 AM

Semi'submersible — that is correct. My computer, an Apple i-Mac, has a feature called 'Character Palette' on which the long ſ can be found — I can't offhand recall exactly where, tho I could no doubt find it by diligent ſearching, as of courſe I long ſince ſaved it to 'Favorites' [ſic as American ſpelling!].


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: semi-submersible
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 04:03 AM

Mine's an iMac too, but the original model, 11 years old. I can use all sorts of accented and special characters and symbols, but after I post them online they transmogrify into rectangles or garbled text. Here's "sincere" with something that looks like the long s, circumflex on the i, tilde on the n, cidilla on the c, and grave or acute accents on each e. It looks fine in the text entry box before posting.

∫����r�

It looked fine in the text entry box before I pressed "preview." Then in the instant it turned. On the preview text, the long s had squared off into the integer symbol above followed by question marks with an "r" among them, while in the text entry box the long s has become ampersand, number sign, 4-digit numeral 8747, and semicolon, before the "????r?".


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 05:02 AM

It's worth remembering that the long ƒ (for "s") was used in the middle or at the end of words - the conventional "s" was more normally used at the beginning of words.

So, you might find the word "Congress" printed as "Congreƒs" in 18th-century American documents (for example), but printing and writing "ƒincerely" - and words like that - really died out after the early 1800s. If it was used by Masefield, it was probably an affectation... rather a nice one.


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: semi-submersible
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 06:03 AM

Yes, John Masefield was a treasure.

I can see all three of Will Fly's long esses above, though none of MtheGM's. Meanwhile, look what happened to my question-marks above after I clicked "send"! Each turned into a tiny numeral one, an upside-down question mark, and a tiny one-half; at least that's what I see on this computer.


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 06:45 AM

Ah, Semi-S - that's 'cos I'm a little cheat... I use the ALT-f combination on my Mac Book Pro, and get the ƒ character. It's really an f masquerading as a 200-year old ƒ...

ƒorry about that.


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 12:51 PM

I'm very envious Michael, I would have loved to meet the old gentleman. I loved "The Midnight Folk" and "The Box Of Delights" when a child, and remember the radio dramatisations of both affectionately (showing my age). Mind you I never forgave him for waking Kay out of his dream at the end of "The Box Of Delights" - I wanted it to be real.

I believe he was friendly with T E Lawrence - didn't Robert Graves write of a visit to Masefield by himself and Lawrence? Oh to have been a fly on the wall.....


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Subject: RE: A letter from John Masefield
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 02:40 PM

You haven't that much to be envious of, Ed — I never met him. My wife just happened to speak on the phone to him about the proofs of an article he had written for the magazine she worked on, and he wrote her this charmingly courteous covering letter, quoted in full on the OP, when he returned the corrected proofs. Still, as Deirdre says, the letter is a great treasure to me, both because it was written by him, and as a remembrance of my dearest dead wife.


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