Who the hell is William Gerhardi, one might ask? Dig this quote from the dude, mined from the copious notes to Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas:
Never yet have I committed the error of looking on women writers as serious fellow artists. I enjoy them rather as spiritual helpers who, endowed with a sensitive capacity for appreciation, may help the few of us afflicted with genius to bear our cross with good grace. Their true role, therefore, is rather to hold out the sponge to us, cool our brow, while we bleed. If their sympathetic understanding may indeed be put to a more romantic use, how we cherish them for it! — From Memoirs of a Polyglot by William Gerhardi.
Apparently, Mr. Gerhardi (1895-1977) was considered the “English Chekov” of his time. But really, is it wise to publicly call oneself a genius and to leave it for posterity? Because Time, that cosmic equalizer of giant proportions, has decreed that the “polyglot Englishman” is little more than a footnote in a Virginia Woolf rant. Who’s rolling in whose grave now, eh? Spiritual helpers indeed.