Monday, November 11, 2013

Shane Leslie: Better if Rolfe Crowley & Maundy Gregory Never Born

 
 
This astonishing letter from Shane Leslie to an someone connected with Exeter University in 1964 is currently for sale on Ebay, and the images are reproduced here with the permission of the seller. Leslie was known in later life for playing down his interest and involvement with the personalities of the decadent nineties. In fact, until A. J. A. Symons got ahead of him, Leslie was in line to be one of the fist biographers of Rolfe and he not only wrote publicly about Rolfe in The Mercury and elsewhere, he also attended both the first and the second Corvine Banquets at which he spoke about Rolfe after the dinner. The two dinners were both organised and paid for by Maundy Gregory. His interest in these Nineties figures never waned and with the initiated he would speak of them with great enthusiasm. However, as I mentioned, later in his life, in public he would distance himself and this letter is perhaps the most violent expression of that I have seen. He writes:
 
"The arcane figures of the Nineties in this country have been immensely over-written and I should be sorry to see any further information reaching the young and respectable in the University of Exeter or elsewhere in America. It would have been better for this country if Rolfe, Crowley and Maundy Gregory had never been born."
 
Heated stuff indeed!


4 comments:

stefan said...

You can see a quick shot of Sir Shane Leslie kissing a convent girl's hand in the 1950s in this video at minute 25.18. Rare footage. Padraig

stefan said...

oops! forgot the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ou08m5tsQw#t=681

Anonymous said...

I must have misread the asking price. For a moment I thought it said $1200.

Anonymous said...

Smacks of hypocrisy. I'm guessing he had much to hide and was possibly bisexual as a young man. Didn't he translate The Greek Anthology and put out a Fortune Press edition of another translation with erotic illustrations?

 
Who links to my website?