Letter from Thomas MacGreevy to George Yeats. 21 August 1929.[p.1 recto]
21st August, 1929
My dear George
I suppose you are back from Switzerland now. My love to Anne & Michael. I'll send them a reply to their last card now that they are at home. I don't know their Swiss address. I'm glad they get out of that awful country now and then. I distrust its influence on any child who may be the makings of genius. For myself I feel Paris stale in my mouth though it is very lovely, present weather. I'd like a whiff of sea air, North Kerry air for choice, not I think Dublin though, poor as the production probably was I'd like to have seen Fighting the Waves. How did you think it went? And how was Antheil's music. I've only seen Curran's notice. He at least took the trouble to mention the costumes even though[p.1 verso] contrarily. I don't know what poor Dolche thought of Lennox leaving her out of The Observer puff. Even if he didn't like her ideas he cannot be excused for ignoring her once they were accepted. But as I told her love your enemies, let down your friends is the motto of the Anglo-Irish in general and the Abbey in particular and Lennox falls more and more deeply into its practice though it isn't for a lack of warning. I pointed it out to him when Dermod O'Brien let him down four years and more ago.
I understand that the translations of Deirdre & Cathleen appeared in The Revue Belge March 1924 and Les Ecrits Nouveaux, Aug & Sept 1921 but if the French rights are not gone I'd be quite interested still. We've just finished White Headed Boy and it goes to be typed tomorrow. I wouldn't dream of embarking on a verse translation of Deirdre. Surely it would be unwise. To-day I have been correcting proofs of a long (7000 odd words) article I wrote on W.B. as dramatist. There's some good stuff in it but I'm re-writing it before trying it out on stearn Tom. The present version comes out in the Revue Anglo-Americaine here and I'll get 180 francs for it! I did a note on [p.2 recto]the Malone book for Eliot and gave him (M) what for re "the poet in the theatre". I think its a disgrace for Lennox and Lady G. not to have had a W.B. dramatic festival ages ago. He's the best dramatist in the history of that bloody theatre and I like his Deirdre better even than Synge's. But of course they produce him outrageously. And that's his own fault for giving the realists their lead in his theatre. As I said in my Criterion note it wasn't he who spurned the theatre it was the Ibsenites on the Abbey stage and in the auditorium who spurned him and drove him out of the theatre. If he could see Polyeucte played at the Theatre Francaise he'd go back to Dublin in a rage and insist on justice being done to himself as a dramatist and to his original idea of an Irish theatre. There's more in The Hour Glass which I read over six cups of tea this morning than in all Lennox and OCasey put together.
Sorry for writing a discourse. Its because I'm just coming to the end of the Divine Comedy and have no more use [p.2 verso]for any except intellectual beauty.
All things good to you.
Ezra Punk was here and I asked if I might see him but he had only time for Cocteau and ignored me. I saw him afterwards with a woman at a restaurant but as I am not a dome American I did not genuflect, I only wanted an advice about some things in the cantos as I thought of writing about them. I re-read them recently. The second book is much the better I think. Cocteau is gone away thank God. Of all the people who can tell lies down a telephone I never met anyone to equal him. I believe he complained that I was very cold. If I told him what I thought of himself as distinct from his work he'd say I was hot rather, little rat that he is. There is some question of my translating Les Enfants Terribles and though I don't want to translate any novel nor to put my name beside his I had to say yes for financial reasons. But it may come to nothing and I shan't be sorry.