O’CASEY, Sean. Typed Letter Signed by Sean O’Casey [O’CASEY ON SHAKESPEARE]


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To Mr. George Elliott Sweet, one page small folio, dated 5 September, 1956, Flat 3, 40 Trumlands Road, St. Marychurch, Torquay, Devon. Important and interesting letter in which O’Casey agrees to read a book Sweet has sen him ‘Shake-speare, the Mystery’. In the opening paragraph he relates how poorly his health is having spent many months in hospital: “have a little pity for, and mercy upon, a poor old fellow of 76 whose one eye has but half a normal vision ... has had two major operations, leaving him with less than a sense of adventure in life ... “ O’Casey reveals that he has numerous books, plays and verses, numerous letters “sent to me for admiration ... I declare to God I wish I had the power and the time to reply to even half of them, but God, not I, made the day to last but twenty-four hours, and a year but a thing of 365 days.” He goes on that it will take a month or more to read the book properly “for the squint I’ve given it shows me that it is worth reading, and so taken seriously.” He then goes on to discuss the Baconian question and Shakespeare “I have never troubled myself over the Baconian question, or any other one questioning the right of Shakespeare’s name to go with play and poem; but have simply used both for my profound delight and enjoyment ... and a few other books dealing with Shakespeare’s allegories, his reference to flowers, his similes, and so on; but none questioning his right to authorship of the works called by his name.” He relates he has recently read Edward Hubler book on Shakespeare “a treasure book to me, one that always lies near to hand.” He concludes by saying he is delighted to have Sweet’s book which he will also keep close to hand “a hasty word of thanks for sending me a book that I like to have near to my hand, and close to Shakespeare’s Works.”


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