Paris: April 24, 1923.
Unbound. Autograph Letter Signed. A single quarto sheet folded to make four octavo pages. Bunting has filled all four pages. Old horizontal fold, paper toned at the edges and with a bit of loss at the foredge corners (none to text), very good with the paper still supple. The original envelope is stained and chipped but present.
A 23-year-old Basil Bunting writes to his close friend, the poet J.J. Adams, from Paris: "I've run away from London at last, & am now making a kind of living posing for the Academics. London was almost limitlessly dull. I felt drab. Here I have at least the excitement of learning the language... ."
He continues: "Do you know Paris? Why are all French women born whores? I saw one aged 2, sitting up in a pram, with the blasé, gâté ["jaded, spoiled"] mouth of what Johnny calls an old Tom. But if I loathe the women, I like the men. Waiters! Especially the blondes from Alsace. (...) They, not I should be posing. But artists have no taste. (...) I also like the old women. Many of them appear to have character (...) they are nearer to the essentials of tragedy than more familiar beings are. Even their sense of humor is not a comic sense, but something tragic (...) like Falstaff or Micawber, & miles & miles away from civilised [sic] writers like Molière or Congreve. Something like Don Quixote. This brings me to the point, Adams. Can you, will you, wont you do two things for me? A. Send me the address of an honest literary agent who can dispose of what I may produce. B. Send me Chapman's Odyssey (...) I brought only two books with me, besides the implements of my trade (dictionaries, etc). They are the two most redoubtable of books, Shakespear & Homer. At least they wont corrupt my style! Goodbye, Timon. I will write again someday. Yours, Basil Bunting / R.S.V.P. / P.S. A bleeder called Banting is here. He says he paints."
The letter displays a highly charged sense of drama, adventure, and literary aspiration; a touching artifact of a young poet's first steps into an expanding world of possibilities.