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1112006

John Masefield

 

“I never saw a real whaler at sea:  only read of them in Melville and Bullen:

a pretty grim life, I would say, to any-one but the harpooner”

John Edward Masefield, 1878-1967.  English poet and author; Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, 1930-1967.  Autographed Letter Signed, John Masefield, one page, 9˝” x , on imprinted airmail stationery, [Oxford, England, February 14, 1956].

Masefield writes to Edward Weeks, editor of The Atlantic Monthly.  He writes, in full:  “So many thanks for your letter, & for your news of Nantucket.  /  They had a fine show of whaling things in New York many years ago, but I never saw a real whaler at sea:  only read of them in Melville and Bullen:  a pretty grim life, I would say, to any-one but the harpooner.  /  It is good to hear that your Wife & you will so soon be here.  We shall be delighted to see you both, if you can spare the time.  Our greetings & blessings.”   He adds a playful postscript:  “How did the harpooner learn his job?  Where did he practise, & on what??”

Masefield refers here to the works of Herman Melville, the author of the whaling classic Moby Dick (1851), and Frank Thomas Bullen, who made his reputation with The Cruise of the “Cachalot”:  Round the World After Sperm Whales (1897).  Masefield himself is remembered for his poem “SeaFever” and the children’s classic novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights.

Weeks was the editor of the Atlantic Monthly Press from 1928 to 1937.  He became the editor of its magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, in 1938 and held that position for 28 years, longer than anyone else at the publication. 

Masefield has written and signed this letter in bold black fountain pen.  The letter has normal mailing folds and slight wrinkling at the lower left, and there is a pencil notation in the upper left blank portion.  It is in fine condition.

Unframed.

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