Collected Correspondence


The Windflower Letters

This latest volume in the Collected Correspondence series restores to print The Windflower Letters, Jerrold Northrop Moore’s remarkable account of the relationship between Elgar and Alice Stuart Wortley, told primarily through correspondence from Elgar to his Windflower. We can observe through Elgar’s own words their relationship gradually ripening from one of social acquaintance and admiration to an intimate involvement with the composition of some of his greatest masterpieces, not least the Violin Concerto. (We are deprived of Windflower’s view of the relationship through the loss of her letters to him, most likely destroyed out of a false sense of propriety.) Their relationship spanned three decades which saw Elgar’s greatest triumphs and his greatest griefs, from the height of his success in the first decade of the century, through the castastrophe of the First World War, to the years after the death of his wife Alice and the steep decline in his music’s popularity. The relationship is set against a brilliant background of Edwardian artistic and intellectual life: first nights by Shaw, Barrie, Pinero and Granville Barker; Royal Academy dinners; and private concerts by such intimates as Paderewski.

The correspondence contains some of Elgar’s finest letters. In the first edition of this volume, published by Oxford University Press in 1989, Dr Moore reduced around one hundred letters, mostly written after the death of his wife Alice in 1920, to a passing reference, recording the source location in a footnote. In this new edition, the text of these letters is published in full, in most cases for the first time, in an 80-page appendix. Throughout the volume, minor errors in the text have been corrected, and footnote references have been updated ro record the relocation and recataloguing of sources in the twenty-five years since the publication of the first edition.

As the author of Elgar’s most extensive biography, Dr Moore needs no introduction to readers. His linking passages draw on the Elgar family diaries, extensive manuscript notes by the Stuart Wortleys’ daughter Clare, and recollections given to him by surviving members of the Stuart Wortley and Millais families.

Series II Vol.2 ; xviii + 492 pages ; 152mm x 232mm ; 12 plates containing 17 monochrome illustrations
cloth binding ; ISBN: 978-1-904856-56-6 ; Publication date: 4 January 2016

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