The Correspondence of, and to, Charles Hoy Fort

Fort to Dreiser

13 August 1916

New York, Aug. 13, 1916.

High-priest of Evil:

Damn it all! speak to me! tell me! what shall I do to be lewd?

How may I part with the innocency of my ratiocinations? Must I bargain with you, or, if I but touch the hem of your garment, can you, out of the abundance of your lasciviousness, bestow impurity upon me?

I write of the attraction of the planets, and of the affinities of atoms. These are lusts. Yet, to save me, I can not convey evil notions or astronomic and chemic obscenities.

Damn it all -- as you see, I am capable of faint and uninspired profanity but infect me with putridity!

Frequently I write of the reproductive function but how am I to contaminate virgins with my ideas of "interactive complementary phenomena"?

Decompose the mists of my ignorance, and tell me how sexuality can be indecent.

Damn it all! unmystify me! Or, if I must bargain with you --

Then taint me with your leprosy, and I will confide to you my lunacy.

C. Fort

Damnation! that damned "Y" is only half re-written.

Courtesy of the Theodore Dreiser Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.

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