Aerogram Signed Edward Mendelson to Stella Musulin 1980-12-01

AuthorMendelson, Edward
  • Mayer, Sandra
  • Frühwirth, Timo
  • Grigoriou, Dimitra
PublisherAustrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Vienna 2021
Source Information
  • State Collections of Lower Austria
  • Stella Musulin (Depot)
  • St. Pölten
  • 1980-12-01
  • TEI Logo
  • RDF metadata
IIIF Endpoint(s)
Cite this Source (MLA 9th Edition)Andorfer Peter, Elsner Daniel, Frühwirth Timo, Grigoriou Dimitra, Mayer Sandra, Mendelson Edward and Neundlinger Helmut. Auden Musulin Papers: A Digital Edition of W. H. Auden's Letters to Stella Musulin. Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2022, .

Correspondence between:
Next document:Aerogram Signed Edward Mendelson to Stella Musulin 1981-11-21
  • English
  • German
Sent at:
  • United States General Post Office
Sent from:
  • New York City
Sent at:
  • 1980-12-02
Received by:
Received at:
  • Schlösselgasse 8
                                         39 Claremont Ave, apt 32
                                         New York NY 10027
                                         1 December 1980

Dear Stella,

I just got back from a month in England to find your letter. I was
rather worried as to how you were, and am delighted to hear that
you're on the ascent after a "decline."  I'm also abashed not to have
been in touch with you before about the collapse of our four-memoir
book, but the whole thing has been farcical and uncertain.  Here are
the basics.  First, there should be no need to repay any of the
advance (I haven't spoken with Random House about this, except with
an ill-informed assitant, but there shouldn't be any problem), and
second, I hope you haven't gone out of your way to work on the thing
again.  The structure collapsed in two or three stages.  First Lincoln
Kirstein read the forthcoming biography by Humphrey Carpenter (not bad,
not spectacularly good), and decided he didn't know enough Auden to
add new facts, that he wasn't really worthy to be a memoirist, etc.
None of this has any truth, but Kirstein is not a person to argue with.
He managed to persuade me, in September, that the book should at least
be left to stew for a while.  Then Spender finally sent in a first
draft of his piece, which, between us, was a disaster.  At this time
Charles Monteith had a look at it, and agreed.  When I saw Charles
in London a couple of weeks ago, we formally let the thing drop, and
I think he already wrote you about it.

I still think your piece is first-rate (the copyright is yours, by the
way), and I hope you'll publish it, perhaps with a word or two of
information from Christa Esders if that's possible.  (Did you learn
anything from her??)  If you want me to try to place it in this country,
I'll do my best with it.  Do let me know.  I feel very sorry that you
went to all this trouble for--up to now--nothing, and for many reasons
I should like to see the piece in print.

No, I haven't got to Vienna for five years now, and couldn't afford
a visit this year.  Next summer, if my job is sorted out, I would very
much like to come over again.  This past summer I tried ringing you a
few times at 4217175, but got no reply.  Is that your number?  Mine here
is 212 222-0679 if there's ever a reason to need it.

Please do forgive me for the muddle over the book.  And please do keep
in touch.  Incidentally I finished that critical book--to be published
in the spring--after doing nothing but work on it for a year.  My "summer"
trip to England got postponed to November while I revised.

                                             Yours ever,


Edward Mendelson
39 Claremont Ave apt 32
New York NY  10027

                                         Frl Baronin
                                         Stella Musulin
                                         Schlösselgasse 8/17
                                         A-1080 Wien

Christa Esders

In June 1957, W. H. Auden wrote to Hedwig Petzold: “I have just won a prize of twenty million lire . . . I am thinking of using it to buy a house near Vienna” (qtd. in Carpenter 386). Auden had met Petzold when he holidayed in Kitzbühel in 1925. Afterwards, they stayed in touch, and Auden’s letters to Petzold, from 1938 to 1967, are held by the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library (Carpenter 41, 69, 461). In a letter from July 1957, he asked Petzold’s daughter Christa Esders for help in finding a summer home near Vienna (qtd. in Carpenter 387).

External Evidence: ph_032

my English and German texts | MSS | my two texts

Stella Musulin's estate contains several versions, at different stages of development and in different languages, of different memoirs of W. H. Auden's life and work in Austria. The earliest extant typescript, titled "Auden in Kirchstetten", is a written version of Musulin's talk given at English PEN in London in June 1976. This version was subsequently expanded into a German text of the same title (1976), followed by the even more extensive 44-page memoir "The Years in Austria" (1976-1980). Another memoir was composed by Musulin in the 1980s (1985-1990), in both English ("In Retrospect") and German ("Zehn Jahre später: was war inzwischen?"), revisiting Auden's Austrian period, once more, after a longer period of time. Another set of typescripts, named again "Auden in Kirchstetten", blends together text parts from both "The Years in Austria" and "In Retrospect"; this condensed version was published, in 1995, in W. H. Auden: 'In Solitude, for Company': W. H. Auden After 1940, edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins. In 1977, a short German-language essay ("Die zwei Welten des W. H. Auden: Auf den Spuren des englischen Poeten in Kirchstetten") was published in the Austrian magazine morgen.

External Evidence: ph_030