“The flamboyant misanthrope and the restrained one”

June 30, 2014 | 1

If you’ve ever had a successful friend you secretly envied and maybe even hated, you may be in startlingly good company: a new reading of an old letter between Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot indicates that the “flamboyant misanthrope and the restrained one” shared exactly this kind of frenemyship. Unrelated: a short recording of Eliot reading “The Naming of Cats.”

is an intern for The Millions. She's worked as a management consultant for various American and European companies and one African government. Her website is eliseliu.com and she tweets @eliseliu.

One comment:

  1. Must admit a soft spot for misanthropes and curmudgeons of all stripes; Suspect their hard shells are often a cover for a tender heart that beat itself against a cold world for just too long. My favorite is H.L. Mencken!

    My fictional alter-ego Senator Kefuaver F. Tutwiller (1823-1913) was an indefatigable Positivist. He had his fateful run-in with Mr. Mencken just over a hundred years ago in Baltimore. Tho totally fictional, the event was heavily covered by the press of the day. Senator Tutwiller had a most long and mediocre career in the US Senate. Moe Murph, his Faithful Biographer, is uncovering his Lost Memoirs on Twitter (Such memoirs being Most Cruelly Suppressed from the CONG. REC. by the Tutwiller’s Nemesis, Speaker Longworth).

    https://twitter.com/MamurphyMaureen/status/433264496103006208

    MAINE POLITICO IN ALTERCATION WITH LOCAL REPORTER
    (MAY 3, 1912)

    BALTIMORE, MD – SENATOR KEFUAVER F. TUTWILLER (ME)
    WAS BRIEFLY DETAINED BY THE LOCAL CONSTABULARY AFTER
    AN INCIDENT IN WHICH HE SOUNDLY THRASHED YOUNG BALTIMORE SUN NEWSMAN H. L. MENCKEN.

    THE BROUHAHA STEMMED FROM AN ARGUMENT IN A FELLS POINT PUB IN WHICH THE YOUNG JOURNO SPOKE DISPARAGINGLY ON THE SENATOR’S RECENT LEGISLATION PROMOTING OSTEOPATHY AND CHIROPRACTIC. HE WAS ALSO HEARD TO CALL THE ELDERLY GENT A “GIGANTIC THUNDERING NABOB OF BOOBERY.”

    SENATOR TUTWILLER WAS RELEASED FROM DETENTION, WITH THE
    PROVISO THAT HE REFRAIN FROM FURTHER VISITS TO OUR CITY.

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