Dear Old Man: —

I have read "Lillith" at a single sitting, and it was certainly a fine experience. Apart from the mood of the whole (which is of supreme importance) there must be no less than one hundred lines that are as bewitching as any in the Language. Some, such as:

"The foam of granite and the dust of seas",

are good enough for that shaggy old God of them all — Aeschylus!

As I read, I feared, at first, that you were going to glorify a sort of cynical hedonism — that you might be about to interpret human existence as little more than an assignation in the moonlight, the ecstasy of lovers at the moment of orgasm. But your Tancred knows how much more life is. There you justify the whole piece, as, of course, you meant to do, and what an ending! A bit cynical, from one angle; but certainly true enough. And after all men must not only die for great principles, but live to get others in their likeness.

I'm for Tancred! He had been there and knew all about it, and didn't want to go back. He is no Sunday School chap. He just knows at last that all values are social values, & that individualism is impossible. He has learned that only by losing oneself can one find oneself. He sees his relation to the whole of which he is a part.

You have hit it right, Old Man; and I'm devilish proud to think that I may have had something to do with the undertaking of the task. I shall have the MS bound; & when I am old & garrulous, I'll get it out now & then, show it to my grandchildren, and brag as old men may without too much offence ​.

Will Robertson publish the book in the Fall?

Affectionately and gratefully,


P. S. When I say "individualism" I mean it in the universal sense.

Raoul is still seeking the values he understands — the lower, individualistic values. Tancred achieves a life-philosophy, that is, finds his place in the cosmos — the supreme achievement.