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This article is taken from PN Review 149, Volume 29 Number 3, January - February 2003.

A Correspondence Ronald Mason and Charles Olsen

Woodman's Cottage
Park Road
Banstead Surrey

Dear Charles Olson,

You will probably have forgotten by now that in September last year you wrote a couple of articles (or rather one article spread through two issues) in the New Republic on Melville in which you made a most kind and encouraging reference to my book The Spirit Above the Dust. It speaks much for the abiding power of Christian forgiveness and long-suffering charity that the friend who sent me the articles (which only reached me yesterday) was Howard Vincent, to whom you have administered such a merciless flogging. I was lucky enough to meet him last year in Paris quite by chance and he has been indefatigable in sending me news and views of Melville starting ever since he returned to America. I have been working on Melville very much on my own in this country (where he is, I regret to say, appreciated to a very limited extent) and I have had the assistance of no University grant or official encouragement whatever. Only an idealistic publisher who has now been driven out of business enabled me to get on at all. However, that it has penetrated to America is encouraging; that Melvilleans are to be found to see virtue in it is even better. I must thank you very much for your interest and approval. (I have seen the Vincent-Mansfield Moby Dick & though it looks like ...

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