Dr. Charles Harris. To the Editor of The Times
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392 ] Dr. Charles Harris To the Editor of The Times The Times (13 Aug 1936) 12 Mr. T. S. Eliot writes: – Having been away for a week in the country and inattentive to newspapers, I have only just learned of the death of Dr. Charles Harris.1 Possibly you would care to print the following paragraph by one who was associated with Dr. Harris for several years past in the schemes that he had most at heart: The death of Charles Harris removes the most powerful force in the publication of theological literature in the Church of England. I say “publication ,” because in spite of his considerable learning, his wide interests, and his fertility of ideas, Harris always put his own writing second to his great enthusiasm, which was the work of the Book Committee of the Church Union. Of his work in Convocation, to which he gave equal attention so long as health permitted, I cannot speak with such intimate knowledge .2 But I have always thought that if he had been a layman, and if he had chosen such a profession, he might have become the most successful publisher in London: he would either have made or lost a fortune. He was, however, indifferent to money and celebrity. His aims were on a grand scale, and sometimes gave pause to the more cautious; some of his most ambitious remain unrealized. But one believed that if anyone could realize them, it was he. Enthusiasm sometimes made him a little tactless, but few men have had a greater power of communicating their enthusiasm. During his last years he lived in continuous discomfort between periods of acute physical suffering, but at all times, even just before or after a serious operation, his cheerfulness, serenity, and zeal were undiminished. He was sometimes misjudged by those who knew him only superficially; but no one could know him at all well without regarding him with great affection and admiration. Notes 1. Rev. Charles Harris, D. D., Prebendary of Hereford Cathedral and author of several theological works including Pro Fide: A Defence of Natural and Revealed Religion (1905) and Creeds or No Creeds? A Critical Examination of the Basis of Modernism (1922), died on 30 July. He was chairman of the Book Committee of the Church Literature Association, whose business [ 393 Dr. Charles Harris was to oversee the publication of books on suitable ecclesiastical and theological subjects. TSE was secretary of the committee. 2. Harris’s obituary in the Times of 6 Aug stated that “he was a prominent member of Convocation, where he was a keen defender of the spiritual rights of the Church. He had latterly been engaged in extended researches into the history of Convocation, and had hoped to publish a treatise on the subject” (12). TSE wrote to Harris on 23 Oct 1935: “while I am sure you will be very much missed in Convocation, you are, I feel, still more indispensable for the Literature Committee” (tseliot.com/explore/letters). ...