Sunday, October 13, 2013

Random Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from a letter from Rebecca West 1 to her sister Letitia Fairfield, April 3rd, 1927:
"I never told anybody but when I was out in Los Angeles in 1924 Charlie Chaplin made violent love to me and asked me to marry him. 2  Finally the last weekend of my visit, he got so pressing that I went away to Santa Barbara without telling him where I was going. {I never heard from him} again but heard that he tried to find me very hard after I had left. The other day I had a long talk with him and he told me that he was pressing me so hard to live with him then because he had suddenly become terrified of impotence and wanted to see if it were so. Then when I went he experienced one of the regressive movements he has had at intervals all his life, and became interested in very young children--I mean little girls of  thirteen and fourteen. It was then he took Lita Grey, though knowing it would lead to trouble. But for six months afterwards he was impotent with mature women and remained so till he took up with Marion Davies, who is the original of Lorelei in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the very antithesis of myself." (Selected Letters Of Rebecca West, ed. by Bonnie Kime Scott, New Haven, Yale Univ. Press, 2000)
Rebecca West, c. 1923
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1 Writer Rebecca West first met Chaplin through her lover H.G. Wells in England in 1921. She wrote her first impressions of him in a letter to her friend Reginald Turner, describing him as "a darling" and "very serious cockney" who told her anecdotes about the Queen's dollhouse. Of his recent marriage to Mildred Harris, he had said, "You know, I dropped into it with a blonde," to which she reacted, "I don't think you can better that as a concise statement." (Selected Letters Of Rebecca West)

2 During a dinner with his friend, playwright William Saroyan, in 1947, Chaplin gloated that seducing West was "a piece of cake." Saroyan responded by telling Chaplin about his own unsuccessful attempt to have his way with her: "I chased her around the bed for at least four hours." "Dear boy," Chaplin chided him, "that is not how it’s done. You do not chase anyone around the bed. You do it from the moment you say 'How do you do?'" (Carol Matthau, Among The Porcupines, Turtle Bay, 1992)

1 comment:

  1. I think this may be Lisa Stein's next thesis topic :)

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