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Sunday, 17 April 2011

More undiscovered Stella Browne

A correspondent has very kindly drawn my attention to (and sent me a copy of) a letter written by Stella to Alex Comfort in February 1951, praising his Authority & Deliquency in the Modern State and a letter he had written to the New Statesman about the Society for Social Responsibility in Science. She compares his work with that of Wilhelm Reich - she wrote enthusiatically about Reich and the Sex-Pol group during the 1930s.

It is clear from what she writes to Comfort that she was missing London very much, and finding Merseyside very uncongenial - it had always been in my mind that somewhere with such a high Irish/Roman Catholic demographic would probably not have been somewhere she found very sympathetic and this letter confirms that supposition. She also mourns the decline of 'The more enlightened principled and responsible big “industrials”' of the city, by which I take her to mean families such as the Rathbones who were using their wealth in philanthropy and social activism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

As was suggested by her slightly earlier letter to Olaf Stapledon in 1949, she found the work for peace one of the most pressing issues of the present time.

A very welcome addition to my knowledge of a relatively sparsely documented period of her life.

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