Take a letter

Take a letter

In the last couple of weeks there has been much work going on regarding Olive Schreiner’s letters. A book of her unpublished writings on war, peace and pacifism is in the making and one of its sections will be a compilation of extracts from her letters written during and about the Great War and its aftermath, and so between 1914 and 1920.

This has been highly instructive on a number of levels, about Schreiner’s views about pacifism, concerning civilian experiences of the war, regarding what matters she wrote to whom and about which topics. In general, she learned the hard way not to discuss or mention her pacifist views to most people – and that included many in the peace movement, who she often found more bellicose in support of their views than those who supported the war.

Also, while my personal preferences is strongly for the ‘bird in flight’ transcriptions on the Olive Schreiner Letters Online website, with their deletions, insertions, omissions, amendments and mistakes, nonetheless for the purpose of producing a readable book, a different editorial strategy has been adopted. This is to focus on content pertaining to war, peace and pacifism and omit other sections, and to produce readable letters by omitting the excisions and incorporating the additions. I feel a bit like a traitor to a cause, but my human guinea-pig who has read some of the results likes the sense of flow and readability.

Watch this space for information about the new Schreiner book in due course.


Last updated:  23 March 2018