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The Wayzgoose

February 19, 2011

‘The Wayzgoose: a South African satire’ by Roy Campbell (1928, London: Jonathan Cape, Bedford Square).

The Book, a slim volume, is written in verse and is inscribed by the author:

“Marshall McLuhan, in memory of one of the happiest weeks of my life. Roy Campbell”

Opposite that, Marshall had written “Campbell said Nov 6/53 he had written The Wayzgoose in 48 hours” – a nice little note.

Marshall wrote in the back of the book:

“Nov 9/53
Met Campbell ^who lectured in Windsor last night^ at Union Station at 8 AM and
went out to Malton with him for breakfast. He wouldn’t let me
pay for the ride or for breakfast, and I said it was like the episode
in Blasting and Bombardiering when Lewis and Eliot were unable
in several days to pay for anything since Joyce was always before-
hand. Yes, said Campbell, that was the time they were drunk
for several days on end.
He referred to Sir John Hutchinson’s refusal to fight a duel
with T S Eliot. Hutch. wrote Eliot: “I’m too scared.”
H. had been making eyes at Mrs. Eliot. R. C. said that
Mrs. Eliot had been a pretty but brainless little waitress
type at Oxford who spent her time with undergrads.
And mentioned how she had gone mad either when
she was 30 or in 1930. Eliot’s uncle cut him off when he married.
C. arrived in Toronto ^Wed. Nov. 4^ and because of visa problems was
unable to leave after his lecture that night to do Ann Arbor
and other stands. So we had him until Sat. after-
noon. Had a faculty lunch for him at St. Mikes
Wed. Drinks here at noon before lunch. Ned Pratt
introduced him at Brennan Hall and he built up
background for his poems before reading them.
Campbell at 51 is 235 pounds, bald, breezy,
loveable. He drew pictures for the children and told
them stories. He is a good man, and a humble
man who admits his weakness for limelight
and his fondness for being made over.
He told endless stories of his acquaintances and
escapades. On leave in the 2nd war he was in London
and met Dylan Thomas. They both spent several
drinking and being broke began to canvass for a
loan. Day Lewis greeted them, padded with Bradburies
but regretted he couldn’t help. Finally they tried Uncle
Tom, who gave each of them a fiver.
C. said he was content to die tomorrow now that he had
completed his revision of Flowering Rifle.
He said he had experimented with verse in Kipling and Robt
Service styles when he was 9 or 10. Suggested that these popular
versifiers, including Irving Berlin and that sort really knew
a thing or two about The arts.”

Note: the ^ marks indicate something written over a line.

Thanks for reading,


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