Letter from Rutland Boughton to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL2122
8.12.50

Kilcot

Dear Ralph

When I asked you last year to sign a Peace petition which included the banning of the atom-bomb you refused on the ground that Russia did not allow free intercourse between her people and ours.  It seemed an irrelevant reason but the circumstances of our meeting gave no time for argument.
Now you have made an opera of Pilgrim's Progress - a work which was written because Bunyan was in active opposition to the evils of his time - Bunyan is now respectable enough for Covent Garden because his theology no longer applies to the evils which are destroying us.  But from Dante to Picasso one could quote the radical activities of other great artists which gave a more intense life to their work.  In our own country & age Elgar became so sick of religious humbug that he ended as a near-atheist; though his biographers have refused to use the evidence of that fact - partly, I expect, for fear of hurting the feelings of his relatives - the greater evil being so subordinated to the lesser.
Now what about yourself?  Can you be content with the redressing of a dead theology? without at the same time actively opposing those evils which would not exist if that theology had developed as a reality?  [Have you ever seen the ghastly figures of the dead royalties at Westminster?  The glitter of their dresses makes a mockery of royal pretensions.
Will you read the Korean Handbook which I am sending you - starting with the last 3 pages & then going back to Britts'1  factual resumé of the evidence?
Wishing you a happier Xmas than our soldier boys can get in Korea; and we are responsible for their presence there, their wounds & deaths, and the damage to their families.


1. ?A reference to Korean Mud performed by Elton Britt.

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add MS 52366, f. 107
General notes: 

An unsigned draft. For VW's reply to the letter see VWL2133.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
501208