Last year, the Gordon Bottomley-Thomas Sturge Moore correspondence, edited by John Aplin, was published online by InteLex Past Masters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The platform contains scholarly editions in the field of the humanities, such as the complete works of Freud, Montaigne, Plato, Defoe, and the Brothers Grimm.
|InteLex Past Masters: Bottomley-Sturge Moore letters|
The letters of Thomas Sturge Moore and Gordon Bottomley, nine hundred and eleven in number, comprise three separate volumes, preceded by an introduction and followed by an index. The lives of the two poets and playwrights (Sturge Moore was also an artist who mainly made woodcuts) are briefly and excellently presented in the introduction. Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948), who suffered from a tubercular illness, would eventually survive Thomas Sturge Moore (1870-1944). They exchanged letters between 1906 and 1944, but the edition runs to 1948. The 1944-1948 letters include those written by the widow Marie Sturge Moore; the last letter, a report of Bottomley's death, was written to her by Mary Fletcher - the Fletcher's were close friends of Bottomley. The correspondence also includes letters written by Bottomley's wife Emily, his 'occasional amanuensis', and letters from Marie Sturge Moore from the period when the two men did not write to each other. Sturge Moore's letters are kept in the British Library; those of Bottomley are part of the Sturge Moore papers held in Special Collections at Senate House, University of London. A mile apart.
The introduction includes a careful justification of the editorial principles and textual interventions. The editor John Aplin concludes his introduction, modestly, with:I cannot claim to have done more than make some of the essential archival materials available as a facility for new researchers, but in deciding to draw substantially upon the Bottomley papers in particular to inform the commentary underpinning the editorial notes, I have sought to provide the fullest possible biographical and critical context, conscious not only that this is the first publication to have examined these resources in any depth, but also that they are far too valuable to continue to be overlooked.
The fact that Ricketts was such a powerful force in the lives of both Moore and Bottomley, a constant point of reference in their exchanges, inevitably means that his is a looming presence throughout this correspondence. Neither man ever tires of discussing aspects of his work and personality, both of them articulating subtle perspectives of real insight, which means that their letters will continue to provide a rich resource for those seeking more information on the range of Ricketts’s output and his contemporary importance, not least as a designer for the theatre.
Navigating the Correspondence
|InteLex Past Masters: Bottomley-Sturge Moore letters: search results|
The Complete Correspondence of Gordon Bottomley and Thomas Sturge Moore.