The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: japanese art
Record 2 of 10

System Number: 05628
Date: [6 June 1888][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Algernon Charles Swinburne[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler S274
Document Type: ALd

[rectangular logo with crowned lion:] R. B. A.



Do we not speak[3] the same language - are we strangers


or, in our Fathers House are there so many mansions[4] that you lose your way my brother, and cannot recognise your kin? -

Shall I be brought to the bar by my own blood, and be born false witness against before the plebian [sic] people? - Shall I be made to stultify myself by what I never said - and shall the strength of your testimony turn upon an "if" - "If" Japanese Art - & again "if"

Have nt you then! -

& now listen while I in turn with authority tell you - that you may renounce your graceless role, and return to your noble duties

[p. 2][5] "If Japanese Art is right in confining itself to what can -
It in no way confines itself - how should it! -["]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [6 June 1888]
Dated from JW to A. C. Swinburne, #11425.

2.  Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), poet and critic [more]. This relates to Swinburne's attack on JW's 'Ten O'Clock Lecture' which had recently been published in the Fortnightly Review; see Swinburne, Algernon Charles, 'Mr Whistler's Lecture on Art,' Fortnightly Review, vol. 43, no. 258, (new series), 1 June 1888, vol. 49, (old series), pp. 745-51. JW's reply (#09459) was published in the World (Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to Swinburne, Sent to 'Atlas'], The World: A Journal For Men and Women, no. 727, vol. 28, 6 June 1888, p. 17). A fuller reply (#11425) was later published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 259-61. There are slight textual differences between these paragraphs and the published letter text but they are reproduced in substance in the Gentle Art, p. 260.

3.  Do we not speak ... noble duties
This text is written upside-down to the printed letterhead.

4.  Fathers House are there so many mansions
'In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you,' John 14.2.

5.  [p. 2]
The writing on this side is in pencil.