Melville B. Anderson


[John Muir]


[1][letterhead]on board S.S. Sant'Anna,le 7 January, 1914Off Corsica, en route from Marseilles to Naples, then homeward bound.My dear, good Friend:Your kind & cheering letter reached me at Paris, where I was during the holidays and whence I fled to the Riviera (Nice) to unclutch the grip of a cold & cough. I had intended to go to London but Paris weather was bad enough for me. I fear California & Italy have spoiled me for the cold North, where Fidelity is supposed to be native.- I am taking this round about route Marseille - Naples - Palermo = N. Y. for the fun of it and for a sea cure. It give me about three days at Naples and a day at Palermo.[2]This ship is due at N.Y. the 23d Jan., and I hope for the pleasure of a visit to you sometime in February —Your munificent offer to bear the expense of the publication of my Dante leaves me speechless. I dare not say I am grateful, remembering the cynical definition of gratitude as "a lively anticipation of favors to come." You are certainly showing yourself the best of friends, by all definitions, however cynical. I don't know where you [derive?] your faith that my work is one to deserve your munificence. I would like to show you some specimens if it would not bore you. Possibly you may have seen my rendering of the Lord's Prayer (Purg. XI), finished by Stanford University in the [illegible] Memorial Volume.

[letterhead]05670[3] (p. 3- I regret that I seem to have misled you with regard to the state of my work. I have the Inferno in panable state of finish, tho' I still expect to do some retouching. The Purgatorio is done in first draft, and the second draft thro' the 20th Canto. It was heart-breaking to leave Florence with the work in this state. I go home in fulfilment of a promise made to my son Robert; at a great sacrifice of my peace of mind and of my work: contrary to Flugel's advice ,- contrary to what I know well would be Browne's advice. it is a love-sacrifice to Robert, who knows little of life deeply, and little knows that this is costing me. I shall probably go back to Italy before many months. Had I stayed there I might have put my work into final shape this winter. Now, as it is,

Mr John Muir[4] p 4.I am wasting my [illegible] time, as I can do nothing while travelling.We will talk over plans for the book when we meet. I hope to have it beautifully printed - Notes are necessary; Dante cannot be understood without them: yet I take no interest in them. If or when, I get the [partie?][illegible] problem solved, I can take [up?] the notes as task-work. I sometimes think of publishing without notes, as there are many, many editions with good notes, to which any one really interested can refer. But probably the omission of notes would deprive me of many readers; and, after all, I am doing this for my countrymen and don't want to furnish them with an excuse for not buying my book.Yours with reverent affection,Melville B. Anderson


Corsica [Italy]

Date Original

1914 Jan 7


Original letter dimensions: 21 x 26.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 22, Image 0039

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


3 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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