|MY DAYS AND DREAMS|
Edward Carpenter's Autobiography
|The Edward Carpenter Archive|
by Simon Dawson
THE fate of my books has been interesting - at any rate to myself! Leaving aside Narcissus and Other Poems, and Moses: a Drama - which were written in early days at Cambridge, and were only, so to speak, exercises in literature and efforts to vie with then-accepted models - Towards Democracy, of course, has been the start-point and kernel of all my later work, the centre from which the other books have radiated. Whatever obvious weaknesses and defects it may present, I have still always been aware that it was written from a different plane from the other works, from some predominant mood or consciousness superseding the purely intellectual. Indeed, so strong has been this feeling that, though tempted once or twice to make alterations from the latter point of view, I have never really ventured to do so; and now, after more than thirty years since the inception of the book, I am entirely glad to think that I have not.
It is a curious question - and one which literary criticism has never yet tackled - why it is that certain books, or certain passages in books, will bear reading over and over again without becoming stale; that you can return to them after months or years and find entirely new meanings in them which had escaped you on the first occasion; and that this can even go on happening time after time, while other books and passages are exhausted at the first reading and need never be looked at again. How is it possible that the same phrase or concatenation of words should bear within itself meaning behind meaning, horizon after horizon of significance and suggestion? Yet such undoubtedly is the case. Portions of the poetic and religious iterature of most countries, and large portions of books like Leaves of Grass, the Bhagavat Gita, Plato's Banquet, Dante's Divina Commedia, have this inexhaustible germinative quality. One returns to them again and again, and continually finds fresh interpretations lurking beneath the old and familiar words.
I imagine that the explanation is somewhat on this wise: That in the case of passages that are exhausted at a first reading (like statements say of Church doctrine or political or scientific theory) we are simply being presented with an intellectual 'view' of some fact; but that in the other cases in some mysterious way the words succeed in conveying the fact itself. It is like the difference between the actual solid shape of a mountain and the different views of the mountain obtainable from different sides. They are two things of a different order and dimension. It almost seems as if some mountain-facts of our experience can be imaged forth by words in such a way that the phrases themselves retain this quality of solidity, and consequently their outlines of meaning vary according to the angle at which the reader approaches them and the variation of the reader's mind. None of the outlines are final, and the solid content of the phrase remains behind and eludes them all. Anyhow the matter is a most mysterious one; but as a fact it remains, and demands explanation.
I have felt somehow with regard to Towards Democracy that while my other books were merely subsidiary and mainly represented 'views' and 'aspects' - this one (with all its imperfections) had that central quality and kind of other-dimensional solidity to which I have been alluding. And my experiences in writing it have corroborated that feeling.
I have spoken elsewhere about the considerable period of gestation and suffering which preceded the birth of this book; nor were its troubles over when it made its first appearance in the world. The first edition, printed and published by John Heywood of Manchester, at my own expense, fell quite flat. The infant showed hardly any signs of life. The Press ignored the book or jeered at it. I can only find one notice by a London paper of the first year of its publication, and that is by the old sixpenny Graphic (of August 11, 1883), saying - not without a sort of pleasant humour - that the phrases are "suggestive of a lunatic Ollendorf, with stage directions," and ending up with the admission that "the book is truly mystic, wonderful - like nothing so much as a nightmare after too earnest a study of the Koran!" The Saturday Review got hold of the second edition, and devoted a long article (March 27, 1886) to slating it and my socialist pamphlets (Desirable Mansions, etc.) as instances of "the kind of teaching which is now commonly set before the more ignorant classes, and which is probably accepted in good faith by not a few among them. A haphazard collection of fallacies, to which the semblance of a basis is given by half a dozen truisms, flavored by a little Carlylese, or by diluted extracts of Walt Whitman.... such is the compound which 'cultivated' Socialism offers as a new and saving faith to the working classes, and of which the works before us offer a good example." Then follow severe comments on my absurd views about Usury and the manners and customs of the Rich, and finally a long quotation from Towards Democracy; of which book the writer says "And this sort of thing goes on through two hundred and fifty pages, the blank monotony of which is only relieved here and there by a few passages which it would be undesirable to quote, and which it is not wholesome to read."
The London Press - when it did deign to notice my work - followed the same sort of lead; and it was left (as usual) to comparative outsiders to make any real discovery in the matter. Curiously enough, a very young man (George Moore-Smith) in a long article in the Cambridge Review of November 14, 1883, led the way in drawing serious attention to the first edition. The Indian Review (Wm. Digby) of May 1885 had a remarkably sympathetic and intelligent notice of the second edition, and I owe much to my friend W. P. Byles' introduction of the book to Northern readers through the Bradford Observer (of March 19, 1886); also to an article by H. Rowlandson in The Dublin University Review for April, 1886.
With the third edition (1892) a certain amount of timid acknowledgment set in. Notices in a few more or less well-known papers were friendly though brief and cautious, as with a scent of danger. The fourth and complete edition did not appear till ten years later (1902), and by that time the book had established itself. It had ceased to demand Press appreciations, favorable or otherwise; and so the critics - very luckily for themselves - escaped, and have escaped, without ever having had to give any sort of full pronouncement or verdict on the book!
To return to the first edition. I had only five hundred copies printed; but at the end of two years when I had gathered material enough for a second edition, there was still a hundred or so of these on hand. All the same I did not feel any serious misgiving. I caused a thousand copies to be printed of the second edition (260 pp.), sent them round to the Press again, and waited. This was in 1885. If anything the reception accorded was worse than before - in a sense worse - because there was more of it! By 1892 - when I needed to print a third edition - only some seven hundred copies of the second edition had gone. Seven hundred in seven years! The prospects were not good, yet I did not feel depressed. I had certainly not expected any great sale; and there were even signs of improvement. My other books were beginning to attract a little attention. It was obviously also hard on this book to have it published in Manchester. So I determined to go to London. There was no possible chance of getting a publisher there to take it as his own speculation; so I went to Mr. Fisher Unwin and asked him to print at my expense and sell it on commission - which be naturally was quite willing to do! The book had now grown to 368 pp, and its price had to be raised from 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d.; but its sales actually improved, and for two or three years ranged at about two hundred copies a year. I began to think it was just possible that my little bark would navigate itself, that it would float out on deeper waters and into the world-current; when something disastrous happened which left it in the shallows for quite a few years longer.
That something was the Oscar Wilde trial or trials, which took place in the spring of 1895; but to understand how they affected Towards Democracy I must go back a little. Early in 1894 I started writing a series of pamphlets on sex-questions - those questions which at that time were generally tabooed and practically not discussed at all, though they now have become almost an obsession of the public mind. As pamphlets of that kind would have no chance with the ordinary publishers, I got them printed and issued by the Manchester Labour Press - a little association for the spread of Socialist literature, on the committee of which I was. The pamphlets were Sex-love, Woman, and Marriage; and they sold pretty well - three or four thousand copies each. Encouraged by their success I began early in '95 to put them together, and add fresh matter to them, till I had a book ready for publication - which I afterwards entitled Love's Coming-of-Age. This book I offered to Fisher Unwin (as he was already selling Towards Democracy) and he accepted it - undertaking to produce the book himself and give me a fair Royalty. His Agreement was signed in June 1895.
Meanwhile, in January 1895 (though dated 1894) I issued from the Labour Press, and in the same connection as the other pamphlets, a fourth on entitled Homogenic Love - which I suppose was among the first attempts in this country to deal at all publicly with the problems of the Intermediate Sex. I placed "printed for private circulation only" on the Title-page, and had only a comparatively small number of copies struck off-which were not sold but sent round pretty freely to those who I thought would be interested in the subject or able to contribute views or information upon it. My object in fact was to get in touch with others and to obtain material for future study or publication. Even in this quiet way the pamphlet created some alarm - and in the dove-cotes of Fleet Street (as I heard) caused no little fluttering and agitation; but it is quite possible the matter would have ended there, if it had not been for the Oscar Wilde troubles. Wilde was arrested in April 1895 and from that moment a sheer panic prevailed over all questions of sex, and especially of course questions of the Intermediate Sex.
I did not include Homogenic Love in my proposed new book, nor had I any intention of including it; but when the mere existence of the thing came to the knowledge of Fisher Unwin he was so perturbed that he actually cancelled his Agreement with me, with regard to the book Love's Coming-of-Age, and broke loose from it. It was in vain that I tried to restrain him. He had got his leg over the trace, as it were, and was 'off.' Indeed, he was quite willing to sacrifice the expense he had already incurred (for the book was now partly set up) rather than go on with it. Under the circumstances I could not, of course, very well compel him to publish. Moreover I felt sorry for his perturbation, and quite understood some of its causes. The extent of it was finally shown by his going so far as to turn Towards Democracy out of his shop, and refuse to publish that any longer!
Thus my two books Love's Coming-of-Age and Towards Democracy - like two poor little orphans - were both out on the wide world again.
For the moment I will go on with Love's Coming-of-Age. Being routed by Fisher Unwin, I went to Sonnenschein, Bertram Dobell, and others - altogether five or six publishers - but they all shook their heads. The Wilde trial had done its work; and silence must henceforth reign on sex-subjects. (I may say that I never happened to meet Oscar Wilde personally). There was nothing left for me but to return to my little Labour Press at Manchester, and get the book printed and published from there - which I did, the first edition being issued in 1896.
It is curious to think that that was not twenty years ago, and what a landslide has occurred since then! In '96 no 'respectable' publisher would touch the volume, and yet to-day  the tide of such literature has flowed so full and fast that my book has already become quite a little old-fashioned and demure! But the severe resistance and rigidity of public opinion at the time made the volume very difficult to write. The readiness, the absolute determination of people to misunderstand if they possibly could, rendered it very difficult to guard against misunderstandings, and as a matter of fact nearly every chapter in the book was written four or five times over before I was satisfied with it.
Love's Coming-of-Age ought of course (like some parts of England's Ideal) to have been written by a woman; but, though I tried, I could not get any of my women-friends to take the subject up, and so had to deal with it myself. Ellen Key, in Sweden, began - I fancy about the same period - writing that fine series of books on Love, Marriage, Childhood, and so forth, which have done so much to illuminate the Western World; but at that time I knew nothing of her and her work.
My book circulated almost immediately to some extent in the Socialistic world, where my name was fairly well known; but some time elapsed before it penetrated into more literary and more 'respectable' circles. One of the first signs of its succeeding in the latter direction took a rather amusing shape. I had, one day, to call upon a well-known London publisher (who was already publishing some of my books, though he had refused this particular one) on business, and having discussed the matters immediately in hand, he presently turned to me arid inquired how my Love's Coming-of-Age was selling. I of course gave a fairly favorable account. "I think," said he in a somewhat chastened tone "that perhaps we made rather a mistake in refusing some little time back to take it up. A Sunday or two ago I was at church [probably a Congregational or Unitarian Chapel], and the minister quoted a page or two from your book, and spoke very highly of it, and actually gave the published address and price, and all; and I saw quite a lot of people noting the references, down." He paused, and then added, "Quite a good advertisement - worth thirty or forty copies I daresay." I could not help smiling. No wonder he was sorry! But the story gave promise of better things to come.
In 1902 the said publishing firm was glad to take the book up and publish it on commission for me - which they (and their successors) have done ever since. And its sale in England (though not phenomenal like that of the German translation) has, I must say, been very good.
To return to Towards Democracy. Considering its expulsion from Mr. Fisher Unwin's shop and the generally panicky condition of the book market in London, there seemed nothing to do but to return to Manchester and place it also in the hands of the little Labour Press for publication. The two thousand or so copies remaining in Unwin's hands were my property, and I had only to remove them to Manchester, get a new title-page printed, and have them issued from there. This I accordingly did, and in '96 the Labour Press edition appeared - 368 pp, the same as Fisher Unwin's. Naturally the Labour Press connection was not very favorable as regards circulation, and the price (3s. 6d.) was high for Socialist and Labour circles. The spread of the book remained slow - slower of course than it bad been with Unwin, and hardly amounted to a hundred copies a year.
This was bad; but worse remained behind. Somewhere early in 1901 the Labour Press - whose financial affairs had never been very satisfactory - went bankrupt! I knew of course what was pending; and as the stock of Towards Democracy belonged to me, and I knew that if left at the Press it would be in danger of falling into the creditors' hands, there was nothing left but to smuggle it away as soon as I could into some place of safe keeping. Mr. James Johnston, City Councillor, always a good friend, came to the rescue and offered me storage room in his office. I hired a dray. And so one foggy day, with a good part of a ton of Towards Democracy on board - which I helped to load and unload - I jogged with the dray-man through the streets of Manchester amid the huge turmoil of the cotton goods and other traffic. A strange load - and I never before realized how heavy the book was!
It lay there for some months, and then about July of the same year I made arrangements with Sonnenschein & Co. for them to sell the book on commission, and the stock was transferred into their hands. From that time its sales slowly went forward - from a hundred or a hundred and fifty per annum in 1902, to eight hundred or nine hundred in 1910, when the Sonnenschein business, and with it my book, passed into the hands of George Allen & Co. In 1902 the fourth part of Towards Democracy, i.e. "Who shall command the Heart" was published; and in 1905 this was incorporated with the three former parts in one complete volume. Later in the same year I succeeded (a long cherished project) in producing a pocket edition of the whole on India paper, which has ever since sold alongside and pari passu with the Library edition. Thus after twenty-one years (in 1902) these writings (begun in 1881) came to an end; and three years later the book took its definite and permanent form in print and binding, and some sort of rather indefinite place in the world of letters.
Talking about their place in the world of letters, some of my books have, I fear, puzzled the public by their titles. Iolaus has been much of an offender in this way. The uncertainty as to who or what Iolaus might be, the difficulty of knowing how to spell the word, and the impossibility of pronouncing it, proved at one time such obstacles that they quite adversely affected the sales. On one occasion I received a telegram from a firm asking me to send at once two hundred Oil-cans. My puzzlement was great, as I had indeed never embarked in the oil trade, nor in my wildest dreams thought of doing so - till suddenly it flashed upon me that the message, having had to pass through a rustic post-office, had been transformed on the way, and that the romantic friend and companion of Hercules had been turned into a paraffin tin! After that I modified the title so as to avoid any such sacrilege in the future.
Coming back to Towards Democracy again, I do not know that I have ever seen a very serious estimate or criticism of that book in any well-known literary paper. Like others of my works it has come into the literary sheep-fold not through the accepted gate but "some other way, like a thief or a robber." It has been generally ignored - as already explained - by the guardians of the gate, yet it has quietly and decisively established itself, and the sheep 'somehow have taken kindly to the robber.' And perhaps the matter is best so. A book of that kind is not easy to criticize; it cannot be dispatched by a snap phrase; it does not belong to any distinct class or school; its form is open to question; its message is at once too simple and too intricate for public elucidation - even if really understood by the interpreter. That it should go its own way quietly, neither applauded by the crowd, nor barked at by the dogs, but knocking softly here and there at a door and finding friendly hospitality - is surely its most gracious and satisfying destiny.
But though the ignoring by the critics of Towards Democracy has seemed natural and proper, I confess I have been somewhat surprised by their non-recognition or non-discussion of the questions dealt with in the other books; because, as I have said these books are on a different plane from Towards Democracy. They deal with theories or views which flow (as I think) perfectly logically from the central idea of Towards Democracy - just as the different views or aspects of a mountain flow perfectly logically from the mountain-fact itself. We cannot discuss the central idea, but we can discuss the aspects, because they come within the range of intellectual apprehension and definition. If the world - it seems to me - should ever seize the central fact of such books as Leaves of Grass and Towards Democracy, it must inevitably formulate new views of life on almost every conceivable subject: the aspects of all life will be changed. And the discussion and definition of these views ought to be extraordinarily interesting. It is therefore surprising I say that no serious discussion of the underlying or implicit assumptions of these two books has yet taken place. It is true, of course, that to-day the world is witnessing a strange change of attitude on almost all questions, and a vague feeling after the new aspects to which I am alluding; but it does not concatenate these views on to any central fact, and therefore cannot deal with them adequately or effectively. It is as if people, having taken drawings of a hitherto undiscovered mountain from many different sides, and comparing them together, should not realize that it is the same mountain which they have been observing all the time, and that there is a unity and a reality there which will explain and concatenate all the outlines. I say it is a little disappointing that this point has not yet been reached, because it would make the discussion and definition of the new views so wonderfully interesting. On the other hand it is obvious that in the midst of the enormous output and rush of modern literature, critics generally have thrown up the sponge, and are content to get through their work perfunctorily or as best they can, without the added labour of tackling, or attempting to tackle, a great new synthesis.
The attempt made a quarter of a century ago - in Civilization: its Cause and Cure - to define the characteristics of (modern) civilization, and to show the civilization-period as a distinct stage in social evolution, destined to pass away and to be succeeded by a later stage - of which later stage even now some of the features may be indicated - has never as far as I know been seriously taken up and worked out. The Socialists of course have certain views on the subject, but they are limited to the economic field, and do not by any means cover the whole ground; and various doctrinaire sets and sects are nibbling at the problem from different sides; but a real statement and investigation of the whole question, and a linking of it up to deepest spiritual facts, would obviously be absorbingly interesting. I first read the paper which bears the above name at the Fabian Society (? in 1888), and, needless to say, it was jeered at on all sides; but since then, somehow, a change has come, and even Sidney Webb and Bernard Shaw, who most attacked me at the time, have ceased to use the word 'Civilization' in its old optimistic and mid-Victorian sense. What we want now is a real summing-up and settling of what the word connotes - both from the historical point of view, and with regard to the future.
Another paper in the same book, which shocked a good many of my Cambridge friends, was my "Criticism of Modern Science." The Victorian age glorified modern Science - not only in respect of its patient and assiduous observation of facts, which every one allows, but also on account of the supposed Laws of Nature which it had discovered, and which were accounted immutable and everlasting. A light arising from some quite other source convinced me that this infallibility of the scientific "Laws" was an entire illusion. I had been brought up on mathematics and physical science. I had lectured for years on the latter. But now the reaction set in; and-rather rudely and crudely it must be confessed - I turned on my old teacher to rend her! I published in 1885, and in Manchester, a shilling pamphlet called Modern Science: A Criticism, and sent it round to my mathematical and scientific friends. I think most of them thought I had gone daft! But, after all, the whirligig of Time has brought its revenge, and the inevitable evolution of human thought has done its work; and now, one may ask, where are the airy fairy laws and theories of the Science of the last century? The great stores of observations and facts are certainly there, and so are the marvellous applications of these things to practical life - but where are the immutable Laws? - where are the clean-cut systems of the families and species of plants and animals? where is Boyle's law of gases? where the stability of the planetary orbits? where the permanence and indestructibility of the atom? where is the theory of gravitation, where the theory of light, the theory of electricity? the law of supply and demand in Political Economy, of Natural Selection in Biology? of the fixity of the Elements in Chemistry, or the succession of the strata in Geology? All gone into the melting-pot - and quickly losing their outlines!
It is true that in the great brew which is being thus formed, rags and chunks of the old "Laws of Nature" are still discernible; but no one supposes they are there for long, and on all sides it is obvious that the scientific world is giving up the search for them, and the expectation (in the face of such things as radium, Hertzian waves, Karyokinesis and so forth) of ever reconstituting Science again on the old Victorian basis. These fixed 'Laws,' it is pretty evident, and their remaining debris, will melt away, till out of the seething brew something entirely different and unexpected emerges. And that will be?. . . . .
Yes, what indeed out of such a Cauldron might be expected to emerge - a strange and wonderful Figure, a living Form!
Yet the curious thing is that while this process of the dissolution of scientific theory is going on before our eyes, and on all sides, no one seems to be aware of it - at any rate no one sums it up, gives it outline and definition, or tackles its meaning and result. Tolstoy was pleased with the attacks on Modern Science contained in Civilization: its Cause and Cure, wrote to me about it, and had the chapter printed in Russian, with a preface by himself. But his point of view was that Science being a serious enemy to Religion anything which bombarded and crippled Science would help to free Religion. That was not my point of view. I do not regard Science - or rather Intellectualism - as the foe of Religion, but more as a stage which has to be passed through on the way to a higher order of perception or consciousness - which might possibly be termed Religion - only the word religion is too vague to be very applicable here.
Another airy castle which is obviously fading away before our eyes is that of the "Laws" of Morality. The whole structure of civilization-morality is being rapidly undermined. The moral aspects of Property, Commerce, Class-relations, Sex-relations, Marriage, Patriotism, and so forth, are shifting like dissolving views. Nietzsche has scorched up the old Christian altruism; Bernard Shaw has burned the Decalogue. Yet (in this country and according to our custom) we jog along and pretend not to see what is happening. No body of people faces out the situation, or attempts to foretell its future. The Ethical society professes to substitute Ethics for Religion, as a basis of social life; yet never once has it informed us what it means by Ethics! The Law courts go mumbling on over ancient measures of right and wrong which the man in the street has long ago discarded. Much less has any group attempted to foreshadow the new Morality, and concatenate it on to the great root-fact of existence. In my "Defence of Criminals a Criticism of Morality," (one of the Chapters in Civilisation: its Cause and Cure) I gave an outline and an indication of what was happening, and of the way out into the future; but that paper, as far as I know, has never been seriously discussed.
Neverthess under the surface new ideas are forming, the lines of the coming life are spreading. The book Civilization - first published by Sonnenschein, in 1889 - has had a good circulation, and been translated into many languages. Though somewhat hastily and crudely put together, yet owing to a certain elan about it, and probably largely owing to the fact that it gives expression to the main issues above-mentioned, it has been well received.
One idea, which runs all through the book - namely, that of there being three great stages of Consciousness: the simple consciousness (of the animal or of primitive man), the self-consciousness (of the civilized or intellectual man), and the mass-consciousness or cosmic consciousness of the coming man, is only roughly sketched there, but is developed more fully in The Art of Creation. It is of course deeply germane to Towards Democracy. And though we may not yet be in a position to define the conception very exactly, still it is quite evident, I think, that some such evolution into a further order of consciousness is the key to the future, and that many aeons to come (of human progress) will be ruled by it. Dr. Richard Bucke, by the publication (in 1901) of his book Cosmic Consciousness made a great contribution to the cause of humanity. The book was a bit casual, hurried, doctrinaire, un-literary, and so forth, but it brought together a mass of material, and did the inestimable service of being the first to systematically consider and analyse the subject. Strangely here again we find that his book - though always spreading and circulating about the world, beneath the surface - has elicited no serious recognition or response from the accredited authorities, philosophers, psychologists, and so forth; and the subject with which it deals is in such circles practically ignored - though in comparatively unknown coteries it may be warmly discussed. So the world goes on - the real expanding vital forces being always beneath the surface and hidden, as in a bud, while the accepted forms and conclusions are little more than a vari-coloured husk, waiting to be thrown off.
Relating itself closely and logically with the idea (1) of the three stages of Consciousness is that (2) of the Berkeleyan view of matter - the idea that matter in itself is an illusion, being only a film between soul and soul: called matter when the film is opaque to the perceiving soul, but called mind! when the latter sees through to the intelligence behind it. And these stages again relate logically to the idea (3) of the Universal or Omnipresent Self. The Art of Creation was written to give expression to these three ideas and the natural deductions from them.
The doctrine of the Universal Self is obviously fundamental; and it is clear that once taken hold of and adopted it must inevitably revolutionize all our views of Morality - since current morality is founded on the separation of self from self; and must revolutionize too all our views of Science. Such matters as the Transmutation of Chemical Elements, the variation of biological Species, the unity of Health, the unity of Disease, our views of Political Economy and Psychology; Production for Use instead of for Profit, Communism, Telepathy; the relation between Psychology and Physiology, and so forth, must take on quite a new complexion when the idea which lies at the root of them is seized. This idea must enable us to understand the continuity of Man with the Protozoa, the relation of the physiological centres, on the one hand to the individual Man and on the other to the Race from which he springs, the meaning of Reincarnation, and the physical conditions of its occurrence. It must have eminently practical applications; as in the bringing of the Races of the world together, the gradual evolution of a Non-governmental form of Society, the Communalization of Land and Capital, the freeing of Woman to equality with Man, the extension of the monogamic Marriage into some kind of group-alliance, the restoration and full recognition of the heroic friendships of Greek and primitive times; and again in the sturdy Simplification and debarrassment of daily life by the removal of those things which stand between us and Nature, between ourselves and our fellows - by plain living, friendship with the Animals, open-air habits, fruitarian food, and such degree of Nudity as we can reasonably attain to.
These mental and social changes and movements and many others which are all around us waiting for recognition, will clearly, when they ripen, constitute a revolution in human life deeper and more far-reaching than any which we know of belonging to historical times. Even any one of them, worked out practically, would be fatal to most of our existing institutions. Together they would form a revolution so great that to call it a mere extension or outgrowth of Civilization would be quite inadequate. Rather we must look upon them as the preparation for a stage entirely different from and beyond Civilization. To tackle these things in advance, to prepare for them, study them, understand them is clearly absolutely necessary. It is a duty which - however burked or ignored for a time - will soon be forced upon us by the march of events. And it is a duty which cannot effectively be fulfilled piecemeal, but only by regarding all these separate movements of the human mind, and of society, as part and parcel of one great underlying movement - one great new disclosure of the human Soul.
My little covey of books, dating from Towards Democracy, has been hatched mainly for the purpose of giving expression to these and other various questions which - raised in my mind by the writing of Towards Democracy - demanded clearer statement than they could find there. Towards Democracy came first, as a Vision, so to speak, and a revelation - as a great body of feeling and intuition which I had to put into words as best I could. It carried with it - as a flood carries trees and rocks from the mountains where it originates - all sorts of assumptions and conclusions. Afterwards - for my own satisfaction as much as for the sake of others - I had to examine and define these assumptions and conclusions
That was the origin of my prose writings - most of them - of England's Ideal, Civilization, The Art of Creation, Love's Coming-of-Age, The Intermediate Sex, The Drama of Love and Death, Angels' Wings, Non-governmental Society (a chapter in Prisonsís Police And Punishment), A Visit to a Ghani (In Adamís Peak to Elephanta) and so forth. They, like the questions they deal with, have led a curious underground life in the literary world, spreading widely as a matter of fact, yet not on the surface. Like old moles they have worked away unseen and unobserved; yet in such a manner as to throw up heaps here and there and in the most unlikely places, and bring back friends to me on all sides - lovely and beautiful friends for whom I cannot sufficienly thank them.