Lot 313
  • 313

Conrad, Joseph

2,000 - 3,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Conrad, Joseph
  • Typed letter signed with autograph corrections and postscript, to Edward Garnett
  • ink on paper
explaining his lack of contacts among influential civil servants ("...The one or two I have come into contact with must have carried away the very worst impression possible of my irreverent attitude and my sceptical state of mind...") and discussing in philosophical terms Garnett's recent articles attacking the conduct of the war and his caste of mind ("...The Edward Grey in Paris article is ... mordant, it is witty. But the greater the evidence of your extraordinary gifts in that way I will confess to you, my dearest fellow, the sadder I feel ... with the deepest feeling for the inner tragedy of your existence -- because it is nothing less than that for you and for anybody who understands your temperament (inclined to remorseless analysis) and the exquisite sensitiveness of your mind..."), 3 pages, 4to, Capel House, Orlestone, near Ashford, Kent, 16 May 1918, with a description of the letter cut from an old auction catalogue, stain to first leaf resulting in some ink smudging, weak at folds


American Art Association, 21-23 November 1928, lot 128


Collected Letters, VI, pp.218-220

Catalogue Note

"...Truth has not only been heard, it has been even chewed over and over again, and its true flavour has sunk into the very soul of the people. It is a bitter flavour but bitterness is the very condition of human existence, and mankind generally is neither guilty nor innocent. It simply is. That is misfortune enough. Men die and suffer for their convictions and how those convictions are arrived at doesn't matter a bit..."

A fine and ruminative letter. Garnett (see note alongside lot 200) was harshly critical of the British political establishment and its conduct of World War I, and had written savage articles attacking, for example, the former Foreign Secretary Edward Grey. Garnett, a man of great physical courage, had worked as a medical orderly in Italy but now, despite his age (50), faced being conscripted for war work that went against his conscience.