Autograph Letter Signed ('Edmund C. Stedman') from the American man of letters Edmund Clarence Stedman to the Blackburn poet John Thomas Baron ('Jack O'Anns')

Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833-1908), American poet, critic and essayist [John Thomas Baron (1856-1922), Blackburn dialect poet, writing under the pseudonym 'Jack O'Anns']
Publication details: 
31 January 1883; on letterhead of 71 West 54th Street, New York.
SKU: 10855

12mo, 4 pp. Bifolium. Forty-eight lines. Text clear and complete. Good, on aged paper. Begins 'One must needs be a churl indeed to be a laggard in his response to a letter containing words of so sweet breath composed as yours!' He thanks Baron for his 'kind & encouraging letter', and considers that an author 'has no keener or more lawful pleasure than to find that the errors of his song or tale has [sic] lodged (as Longfellow says) in the heart of some far-off and unknown friend'. He adds, with unintentional ambiguity: 'I am vain enough to believe that your liking for my work is real, and yet I am not vain enough - I trust - to estimate it above its very modest value.' He is enclosing a photograph (not present). Discusses the English edition of his selected poems, by Kegan, Paul & Trench, published three years before, and the 'long work' he is engaged on - 'The Rise of Poetry in America' (published in 'A Library of American Literature', 1889-1890). The latter covers 'the same period as that embraced by the Victorian Poets, to which book it will be a companion-volume'. It is a 'laborious' work, and has kept him 'from writing poetry of late'. He is 'eager to return to the more imaginative craft' in which he 'first gained a hearing in America'.