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John Addington Symonds and ‘The Author of Beltraffio

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Abstract

The only surviving letter from James to Symonds was written in 1884 and concerns the ‘unspeakably tender passion’ they shared for Italy. I sent you the Century more than a year ago with my paper on Venice/ James wrote, meaning the year he had lunched with Symonds and during which Symonds had published the first defence of homosexuality to appear in England, A Problem in Greek Ethics. James explains that he sent the paper

because it was a constructive way of expressing the good will I felt towards you in consequence of what you had written about the land of Italy — and of intimating to you, somewhat dumbly, that I am an attentive and sympathetic reader. I nourish for the said Italy an unspeakably tender passion, and your pages always seemed to say to me that you were one of a small number of people who love it as much as I do — in addition to your knowing it immeasurably better. I wanted to recognize this (to your knowledge); for it seemed to me the victims of a common passion should exchange a look... I spent last winter in the United States and while I was there another old and excellent friend of mine, Sergeant Perry ... read me a portion of a note he had had from you, in which you were so good as to speak (in a friendly — a very friendly way) of the little paper in the Century ...

Keywords

Intimate Exchange Modern Ethic North American Literature Common Passion Sympathetic Reader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 7.
    Jane Turner (ed.), The Dictionary of Art, 35 Vols (London: Macmillan, 1996), Vol. 4, 284.Google Scholar

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© John R. Bradley 2000

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