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282 ] Tristan da Cunha1 To the Editor of The New Statesman The New Statesman, 30 (22 Oct 1927) 44 SIR, – I congratulate Mr. Campbell upon his poem, “Tristan da Cunha,” in The New Statesman of to-day.2 His control of the metre is remarkable, and his language stronger and less flamboyant than in some of his earlier work. The poem has a curious resemblance – not in detail, but in rhythm and in generalspirit–toaGermanpoemwhichisalmostunknowneveninGermany, the Tristan da Cunha of Johannes Th. Kuhlemann (Der Strom, Cologne, 1919).3 I once attempted to translate this poem, which is very fine, but abandoned the attempt. I do not know whether Mr. Campbell knows German but if he does, he might make a very brilliant translation.4 Yours, etc., 24 Russell Square, W. C. 1. T. S. Eliot Notes 1. A remote, English-speaking island (38 square miles) in the British territory of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha, first settled in 1810. 2. The poem, consisting of seventeen rhyming sestets, appeared in the issue of 15 Oct (14), the date of TSE’s letter (see L3 759). South African‒born poet and translator Roy Campbell (1901-57) had published his first volume The Flaming Terrapin in 1924, which TSE had in his library. TSE placedhimpermanentlyontheFaberlistofpoetswiththepublicationofAdamastor:Poems(1930). 3. The “Tristan da Cunha” of Johannes Theodor Kuhlemann (1891-1939), poet, journalist, and satirist, appeared in the inaugural number of Der Strom, 1 (1919-20), 23-26. 4. Campbell wrote to TSE to thank him for the encouragement in his letter and again in the late summer of 1928 to say that, not knowing German well, he would try to secure a literal translation of Kuhlemann’s poem, but that his inspiration had come from the translation of a single verse of the poem by a German translator, sent to Campbell by a friend: “I think it was this verse that set me off on my poem, though I don’t think I actually imitated it. I had already done five verses of my poem in the same metre under the title of Kerguelen.” Campbell later wrote in hismemoir,BrokenRecord (London:Boriswood, 1934), thatBritishcolonialpoetHenryKendall “has influenced me very much indeed. Like me he was brought up in a whaling town, and his Kerguelen is the father of my Tristan da Cunha: He seized first of all in verse that mystery of the lonely island walking on the sea” (126). ...


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