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The Insolence of Man. [Unpublished carbon typescript.]
, [1942]. [1942]. 92 leaves (255 × 205 mm) of carbon typescript, comprising title page, introductory quote, table of chapters, and text pages 1-86, housed in an olive cloth chemise and slipcase. Small holes along left margin from removed staples, otherwise clean and all in excellent condition. Original carbon typescript to White's unpublished "philosophical pamphlet" The Insolence of Man, with over a hundred notes and corrections in White's hand, and several critical notes in the margins by David Garnett, to whom White sent this carbon typescript for critique. There are numerous corrections by White and annotations by Garnett. T. H. White, "during the first half of this destitute year [1942]... wrote a treatise, never published, called 'The Insolence of Man.' Since 'The Book of Merlyn' was held up he compressed its non-Arthurian contents into a tract for the times. The Insolence, Importance, Ferocity, Ingenuity, Problems and Future of Man were severally dealt with as though he were lecturing to a class. The lectures are eloquent and convinced - for they are enlargements of his convictions; but the lecturer's tone of voice is contemptuous and the Jack-of-All-Trades quality of White's mind - which he gave England Have My Bones and The Sword in the Stone their flicker of learning lightly worn - shows as parade and arrogance." (Sylvia Townsend Warner, T. H. White, A Biography, p. 194). David Garnett's letter to White regarding this manuscript was written January 31, 1943, and caused a short break in their friendship: "Dear Tim, I was very glad to get your letter and the M.S. Here I shall note down one or two criticisms of the matter which occur to me. (1) You are definite enough about not accepting a God in Man's Image, or a God as judge of man's importance, & I am glad to find it so. But you are still uncritically accepting an absolute ethic which happens to be vaguely Christian & 19th Century. For example you say: 'You can be ingeniously cruel or ingeniously wicked...' Chapter 4. But wickedness, like Justice & other such concepts varies according to place & time..." (David Garnett, The White/Garnett Letters, p. 123). A unique, unpublished text, and an important mouthpiece for White as Merlyn-esque preacher, revealing the the far-reaching thought operating behind the scenes of his Arthurian "children's" books.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2014-05-02           Check availability:      Biblio    

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