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Letter from Thomas MacGreevy to George Yeats. 14 April 1927.

[p.1 recto]

Ecole Normale Superieure
45 rue d'Ulm
Paris Vme
14th April 1927

My dearGeorge

I have been hoping for a letter from you. How are all people and things, yourself, W.B.'s health, Anne and Michael? And when is one going to see you in Paris? I had a lovely party with Lennox Hester & Dolly on their way out. They had only two hours but we all felt rather angelic at seeing each other and I enjoyed it more than anything for a long time. Lennox told me you sent your love and he reported Jack's exhibition the marvel that I take for granted but it was a pleasure to hear it was a pleasure so Steinly to speak and altogether for twelve hours at least I was translated, sad not to be in Ireland or in Spain, but happy to have them both so visibly and perfectly evoked.

Meantime I go on with my slightly but not intolerably boring life here. Everyone continues friendly and an intelligence that is academic but of its kind intense enough and not absolutely interesting goes on around me. But no intelligence of my own special brand has emerged and I shall die without[p.1 verso] some contacts of the sort. I have good music of course and lots of it and cheap, 4 francs (8d) to stand at the back of the dress circle in the Salle Gaveau which I do at least once a week and often more. I paid 15 francs for a decent seat for a Rummel recital which was the most degraded thing I've heard since I came. He played bad music and played it disgracefully. I shall never again go to hear him here. I believe he hates his Paris audiences. But they won't I should think be very numerous at his present rate of going. For an first encore he played the Liebestraum. I sat though that. But when he began a piano arrangement of the Ride of the Valkyries I left. The cheek of him. And my good 15 francs! And to think I got into a "smoking" for it what was worse!! I have since heard L'Heure Espagnole perfectly done at the opera and the same evening there were two ballets one Chopin music with a Bakst decor and the other Coppelia, demodé but of its kind good. And both extremely well danced though not with the same amount of character as the Diaghileff ballets used to have. Eliot by the way wrote the other day asking me if I would write a book on the Diaghileff ballets. I'm not pining to but the money question gets more desperate and I ought to do it. Besides I'll have some interest in writing the introductory chapter. The analysis of each ballet will be less interesting. 19 days hence I do a lecture for some damned intellectual international society at the Sorbonne on the subject of Ireland's contribution to the modern theatre. The lectures are usually given by the lecturers here but Billy Stewart was go expecting to go away but not sure[p.2 recto] and not sure also whether I would be coming so he's arranged for Alan to give them. Now Alan is going away for Lunn's so I get the nine shillings and give the second lecture. Alan chose the subject and was going to talk mainly Alan's first was a tourist business — "The Attraction of Ireland" — one points as a kind of Swiss whore.about Shaw. I'm going to talk mainly about Noh and The Player Queen and constater W.B. as the first dramatist of the day. I am not sure yet whether I'll want to but if I do would it be out of order to speak of the Resurrection play? I shall lump all the London Irish from Congreve to Shaw together and put them on a shelf before getting on to my main thesis, coming back to them to explain what is worst in OCasey. George Fitzmaurice I'd like to speak much of but can only speak of his plays from memory. W.B. will also emerge as the only modern dramatist who has kept poetry in the theatre, though I shall have to be careful there. Germany doesn't matter I think but Claudel is a proposition and I believe he tried to write Noh plays which were done in Tokyo but never in Paris and have not been published either. Someone said he didn't think them good himself. I don't think they'll expect me to be over-respectful to Rostand, Paul Fort etc.

For my own efforts I don't know whether I shouldn't stop talking about them. I have tinkered about with my Noh plot and got into the atmosphere of it but it has not materialised, the essential supernatural element is such a large part of it and I have failed to manage that so far though I have my characters' daemons clear enough. And I play with a sudden feeling that I could do something in a pre-[p.2 verso]Aeschylean Greek form — ? madonnas of the future. I shall give Lennox Cocteau's Orphée for you. It is not good art but it has an odd personal quality, a hysteria that has more appeal than I had expected to find in anything by him.

I have had no news of Dublin for ages. Sned me all that Lennox couldn't tell because Hester would be "I told you so-ish" or cold about. Molly OBrien is here and I saw her once. And Myles Dillon who is very pious but nice has gone home after 2 years here. He believes in Russell but I have done something towards curing him. I suppose you have heard that I have broken with Russell for good. ?? I sent him "Bosch" and he wrote back an unforgivable letter. I replied too gently but before I got to the end of 12 lines lines told him I should not write to him again. He ought to be crucified. But he'll be canonised. God help us. My love to you all — and let me know of I am to be mum about the Resurrection.


I forgot to say Nijinska asked me for a modern ballet livrét and I have an idea about a dentist's chair!

No need to waste time going to the Pabst psycho-analytic film (complete with Freud's benediction) if it comes to Dublin. It isn't worth a damn and is probably bad for the public also. But the Raquel Mellor "Carmen" is near "the perfection"