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Letter from Har Dayal to Van Wyck Brooks (August 4, 1912)

Letter from Har Dayal to Van Wyck Brooks, dated August 4, 1912 and posted from San Francisco (c/o Dr. H.M. Beck). Dayal mentions visiting Hindu farmers in Stockton, and having agreed to deliver a course of weekly lectures in San Francisco on social revolution. The first lecture was published in the Bulletin. In much of the letter, Dayal responds to Brooks' discussion of "thought" versus "action" (mentioned in the July 12, 1912 letter).

Freedom Movement

Date: August 4, 1912
Type: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Har Dayal
Location: California

c/o Dr. H.M. beck Phelan Building San Francisco (Cal) ?? Aug. 14-1912 A.D.

My dear Brooks, Your kind letter to hand this morning. I have been in the country for a few days, to see some Hindu farmers near Stockton. That is why I gave up the plan of visiting Carmel. I have to spend the rest of the vacation in the city, as I have agreed to deliver a course of weekly lectures on various aspects of the social Revolution. I am enjoying my stay in the city, as I am making the acquaintance of many Radical comrades of both sexes. When we meet, I shall show you the report of my first lecture which was published in the Bulletin. It was a frank confession of faith.

I am thinking on the problem that you have enunciated. Will discuss it at length through the winter. It is one of the most crucial questions for the future of humanity and for individual growth.

You seem to have misunderstood my words with reference to thought and action. I did not mean to discuss your position but merely to state my own belief. Rather I meant just to unburden myself of some feeling that I had at the moment of writing that letter. I am essentially of a lyrical temperament (all intense persons are), and most of my work is therefore simply self-expression. You must not think that I intended to refer to your work at all.

I appreciate your position thoroughly, and I believe you are quite right that you will not make a good propagandist of the Emma Goldman type. But you have your own line of work in writing and in moulding young lives by daily contact and silent suggestions. Your position is quite an enviable one. And the influence of one sweet, and sympathetic life like yours on the students is worth more than twenty platform lectures. I attach much importance to public lcetures. A lecture is only a kind of dream to get people together. The real work begins with the slow interpretation of personalities that follows acquaintance.

How I miss you all the the time! I feel terribly lonely sometimes out here. My best friends are at Palo Alto.

As to the respective merits of Emma Goldman, Kropotkin, Emerson and Plato, we shall discuss the question in the long winter evenings.

Charlie must be just lovely now. I am looking forward to the pleasure of kissing him. In the meantime, mille baisers from afar for him.

My sincerest compliments to Mrs. Brooks.

Yours affectionately Har Dayal

Holding Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Collection: Van Wyck Brooks Papers
Item History: 2011-11-27 (created); 2020-04-24 (modified)

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