E-list # 145

Typescripts and Letters

1982. November 15, 1982. Written to three Yale University English professors, accepting an invitation to a 1984 "Commonwealth of Letters" conference in which Achebe's work was slated to receive special attention. "But even without that peculiar attraction the project sounds so rich and so far away that I should have no hesitation in accepting to be there." Signed by the author. Typed on the stationery of Okike, an African journal of new writing that Achebe edited. Notation of one of the professors that the other two had been copied; folded in thirds for mailing with a couple small edge chips; near fine. [#029904] $375
In 1981, Albee, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Charleston in West Virginia. His speech, on his own education, or lack thereof, and on how one is forever "wounded" by the responsibilities of an education, was published in a signed wrappered limited edition of 200 copies by Mountain State Press, with an additional 50 signed hardcover copies distributed by university professor William Plumley's own Parchment Press. This archive includes:- Albee's hand-corrected typescript of his speech, 9 pages, with "The Wounding: an Essay on Education" listed as a "possible title." Approximately a dozen small corrections in Albee's hand.- an autograph note signed by Albee to Bill Plumley, dated July, 1981, transmitting the above, and asking Plumley to send Lolita back. - an uncorrected photocopy of Albee's typescript, with a copy of the colophon as it is printed in the book.- Copy No. 1 of the 50 hardcover copies of The Wounding, signed by Albee. Fine in a fine dust jacket (and with three extra copies of the jacket, folded).- a copy of the typescript of the (unattributed) remarks used to introduce Albee at the commencement ceremony, with an envelope addressed to Dr. Plumley from "J.P." In the preceding months, Albee's Broadway play adaptation of Nabokov's Lolita had opened and closed after 12 performances (and 31 previews), and the introductory remarks attempt to diplomatically manage Albee's fall from theatrical grace. - four periodicals from the time, each inscribed by Albee to Plumley on their covers: The New Republic (April 11, 1981); Newsweek and Time (March 30, 1981); The New Yorker (March 23, 1981). The latter announces the opening of Lolita; the first three contain reviews of the play, one of which (The New Republic) is briefly quoted in the introductory remarks to Albee's speech. An interesting archive, which documents a noteworthy commencement speech by one of the preeminent American playwrights of the 20th century, at the time that he has just experienced perhaps the most extreme critical savaging of his career. It is perhaps not surprising that the title of the talk, and the book, is "The Wounding" and that Albee takes great pains to express the wounding -- by civilization, by education, and by our own natures -- as something to be grateful for, that distinguishes us as humans, and makes us members of the same "club." The hardcover edition is rare; the archival material is unique. [#029905] $3,500
1992. A 7-page dot-matrix print-out of a letter by Anderson defending himself against a series of complaints made against him as a faculty member at Boise State University. Together with an unsigned cover letter from 1993 expressing, among other things, a wish he could publish the letter and a tirade against "the new thing, the E-mail," and its allowing people to hide behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz. Also together with four of Anderson's reviews as a faculty member, three of which have Anderson's holograph annotations (e.g., "don't know how she got this guy in her pocket"). And also together with, and paper-clipped to his faculty reviews, the Pablo Neruda poem "Guilty," on which Anderson has written: "I make my 'Creative Writing' students memorize this for their mid-term." Not signed on the preceding items, but with a 1993 letter of transmittal signed by Anderson, saying, among other things, that he expects he'll be in Boise a few more years "before [they] manage to get rid of me." Rust from paperclips; otherwise all items fine. [#031324] $450
1982. A typed letter signed by Butler to poet Tom Clark, regarding Clark's review. In 1981, Butler, who would later win the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for his collection A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, published his first book, The Alleys of Eden. It was reviewed by Clark in the February 11, 1982 Los Angeles Times, with the headline "Vietnamization of a Deserter's Mind." On May 12, Butler wrote to Clark, saying, in part: "I have received twenty major reviews of the book but none of them was more sensitive or insightful than yours. The best literary criticism actually explains an author to himself. That's what your review did. I understand my own book better after reading your review and I want to thank you for that." The letter is signed "Bob Butler." Also included here is Clark's original, 3-page manuscript review, signed by Clark: "...Desertion, Butler seems to say, is an inevitable act, made necessary by the human state. Every small movement is an abandonment of the past, with death looming over everything as the greatest desertion of all..." Clark's review makes it clear that Butler's protagonist -- an Army intelligence officer who ends up deserting out of self-disgust over his involvement in the torture and death of a Viet Cong prisoner -- is an analogue for the larger society, which deserted both Vietnam and those who fought there, leaving both the Vietnamese and the veterans as "displaced persons," in both countries. Clark's review is penned on the back of copies from a book about Celine and folded in half; near fine. A photocopy of the published review is included. Butler's letter is folded for mailing; else fine in a near fine envelope. With a copy of Alleys of Eden [NY: Horizon (1981)], which is fine in a very near fine dust jacket with a short edge tear. An insightful review of one of the best novels to come out of the Vietnam war, and the author's appreciative response. [#024022] $1,500
1933. 23 pages, carbon typescript, with approximately three dozen changes made in Cain's hand, and more than a dozen additional small variations between this text and the published version. Published in American Mercury in November 1933, "Tribute to a Hero," is an autobiographical piece about the Cain family following the father's 1903 job change from St. John's College at Annapolis to Washington College at Chestertown, MD, and the culture shock that ensued from this move to a "hick place" from one of "smartness, competence, and class," a state of affairs that was partially redeemed by the actions of "a great man" (with an assist from Cain's father) on the occasion of a Washington College-Maryland Agricultural College football game. Published the year before his first novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice (and following Our Government in 1930, nonfiction based on Cain's column for New York World). Called "one of Cain's finest essays" by David Madden in James M. Cain: Hard-Boiled Mythmaker. Carbon paper a bit yellowed, some pencil rubbing, not affecting text; near fine. An early manuscript of a boyhood epiphany by a writer who gained a place in the literary pantheon for his famous first novel, which is still considered one of the high spots of American hard-boiled fiction. [#029577] $2,500
1994. Crowley's handwritten review of Nicholson Baker's The Fermata, which was published with the title "Naughty, Naughty Boy" in the 2/20/94 Washington Post. A five-page, handwritten, much-corrected manuscript on yellow-lined paper. Folded once to fit into the uncorrected proof of Baker's novel, which is also included [NY: Random House (1994)]. Crowley's notes on two pages of the proof; near fine in wrappers. An interesting pairing: one of our greatest writers of fantasy (Aegypt; Little, Big) on one of our more popular literary sexual fantasists. Crowley's papers are housed at the University of Texas's Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and manuscripts of his seldom appear on the market. [#024677] $1,250
1980. Long galley sheets for Dick's novel VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System), with two typed letters signed to Alan Ryan, fellow science fiction writer and editor of the religiously-themed speculative fiction anthology Perpetual Light. Both letters are dated March 13, 1980, with one being for private reading, thanking Ryan for his review of Dick's The Golden Man and discussing VALIS; the second being for Ryan to show to others, espousing enthusiasm for his planned anthology. The VALIS galley sheets for this 1981 Bantam paperback original are dated 6-23-80: approximately 68 sheets of 25" in length, age-toned with minimal edge wear, in a custom folding chemise and slipcase. Casual inspection revealed one textual difference from the published version. Near fine; the letters are folded in thirds, else fine. Also laid in is a very good copy of the proof of the Bantam covers, which differs from the final version by virtue of the absence of the Bantam logo on the front cover. A very scarce issue of the book that would become the capstone to Dick's literary career. Long galleys such as these are seldom produced in more than a couple of copies, and very seldom turn up for books that were issued as paperback originals. It's ironic that Dick's culminating novel, which transcends science fiction's usual boundaries, would be issued as a paperback original: Dick had so many books issued as paperback originals in the 1950s and 60s, before his books came to be regularly published in hardcover, that the Science Fiction Writers of America named an award after him, the Philip K. Dick Award, for the best SF novel issued as a paperback original. Dick spent the last several years of his life striving for recognition as more than a science fiction writer, and VALIS could have been that break-out novel, had it not reverted him to his former identity as a writer of paperback originals. A rare issue of a major Dick novel, along with two very revealing letters to a fellow writer and colleague. As far as we can tell, unique. [#032867] $16,500
1975. A letter dated January 27, 1975 and written to Paul [presumably Paul Williams, Dick's close friend and eventual biographer] transmitting chapter one of Confessions [of a Crap Artist] (not included here) and, included here, two pages of "theological ramblings" related to Dick's "beginning to fashion a scientific theory about [his] theological experiences..." The letter covers a bit about the retrograde forces such as tachyons bleeding back at Earth due to the weakening field of time; one of the two pages of notes considers humans' (and Dick's) roles as avatars, with knowledge received from the Holy Spirit; the other page considers our inability to recognize God and postulates a "SF novel: Hefestus as VALIS" -- a very early mention of the acronym Dick developed for the "Vast Active Living Intelligence System" that he considered to be the nature of reality and the universe, after his psychological/religious epiphanies that he experienced in February and March of 1974. The theological writings are from the early pages of what came to be known as his Exegesis, which, by the time of his death in 1982, had reached over 8000 pages of religious and metaphysical insight and speculation. The letter, signed by Dick, runs about 225 words; the theological musings about 950 words. Near fine. [#032866] $4,500
[c. 1990]. Two typescript drafts of Edgerton's fourth novel. One draft is warmly inscribed by Edgerton to Dudley Jahnke "with greatest appreciation for your help in the book business -- and music business -- and all else" and dated "28 March 90." Killer Diller deals with a struggling musician who forms the Killer Diller Blues Band, thus the reference to Jahnke's help with the "music business." Comb-bound in cardstock covers and titled in Edgerton's hand. This draft reproduces a number of the author's changes, which are especially heavy at the beginning of the book. A note in Edgerton's hand on the first page states that "The copy gets cleaner in a few pages." Near fine. The other draft, approximately 250 loose photocopied sheets from a dot matrix printer original, reproduces heavy editing by "SR," with SR's title page. This draft differs substantially from the bound draft, and the opening of the book [at least] is entirely different. Fine. Together with an envelope, hand-addressed by Edgerton to Dudley Jahnke, the recipient of both drafts. The novel, in a form that varies from both drafts above, was published by Algonquin Books in 1991. It was the basis for a limited release film in 2004 which won an award at the Heartland Film Festival. Edgerton, in addition to being a Guggenheim Fellow, has won the North Carolina Award for Literature. An interesting look at a work-in-progress by an important North Carolina author. [#027598] $1,750
1935. Two pages from Eliot to literary critic F.O. Matthiessen ("Matty"), written "to put in a good word for the boy," Alfred Satterthwaite, at the behest of Satterthwaite's step-father, John Cournos. Satterthwaite was applying "for a scholarship on some foundation in which you [Matthiessen] are in a position of authority." Eliot puts in what good words he can ("although my knowledge of him is very meagre") and then switches subjects to Matthiessen's book, which, although unnamed, would have been The Achievement of T.S. Eliot: "Your book seems to have been earning commendations here, except from the critics in whose eyes the subject matter is enough to damn it. It is impossible for me to regard such a book objectively. All I can say is that I hope that much of what you say is true. By the way, that is a good point about Rose La Touche. Was that pure inspiration, or did we ever mention the subject in conversation?" He closes with a brief note about Ted Spencer and Bonamy Dobree. The letter is signed, "T.S. Eliot." Nice literary and biographical content. On Criterion stationery, with staple holes to the upper left corners, and folded in fourths for mailing; near fine. Mailing envelope included. [#028911] $3,000
[NY], [Bantam], [1976]. Partial typescript for Elman's novelization of the Paul Schrader screenplay for the classic Martin Scorcese film, ranked 52nd on the American Film Institute's top films of all time. Approximately 75 typescript pages total, about evenly split between multiple reworkings of the first eight pages and the final 13 pages, with five drafts of the first page alone. Approximately nine pages from the middle of the book. Most pages are ribbon-copy; some are carbon typescript; only 13 pages are photocopy. The majority of the pages bear extensive holograph corrections in Elman's hand, showing a labored, almost pained attempt to do justice to the Schrader screenplay, a copy of which is also included, with an additional 19 revision pages of its own. Accompanied by a typed letter signed by Paul Schrader to Elman (although apparently after the fact as it is written on "American Gigolo" stationery and dated 1980), transmitting a copy of the 1974 script and saying that he "subsequently did more work on the script, but this is a fair representation of what was intended." Also included is a cassette tape labeled "Taxi 2," on which Elman dictates portions of his novelization. Elman's pages are in a variety of conditions: some are wrinkled and edgeworn; some are on acidifying paper; some are fine. The screenplay is near fine; the revisions are heavily coffee-stained but entirely legible. Elman studied writing at Stanford with Yvor Winters and wrote a number of novels, several books of nonfiction and reportage, and published four poetry collections. His novelization of Taxi Driver, one of the greatest films of the last century, was clearly a more literary undertaking than most such novelizations are. Also included, for reasons unknown to us, is one page of lyrics of an Australian folk song. A unique archive pertaining to a great film. [#027361] $3,500
(n.p), (n.p), (n.d.). Farrell's typescript pages (pp. 4, 5, 11) for what appears to be an introduction to a work by or about Dreiser. Reportedly, this was from an introduction to a Collier Books edition of Sister Carrie, but we have been unable to verify that such an edition existed. It is not from the 1975 Sagamore Press edition (which does have a Farrell introduction). Nor, as best as we can tell, is it from Farrell's introduction to The Best Short Stories of Theodore Dreiser, nor the 1955 volume The Stature of Theodore Dreiser, nor the 1962 volume Theodore Dreiser. What it is: three pages of text (two ribbon copy; one carbon copy), with holograph corrections, with an additional two pages (p. 11, p. 12) of notes/inserts, in manuscript. It is verifiable as Farrell's by the fact that in the text he quotes from letters to himself from H.L. Mencken, about Dreiser. The manuscript pages are darkened; page 11 has some offsetting; near fine. Farrell wrote about Sister Carrie repeatedly in his career, including a piece for the New York Times Book Review in 1943. Dreiser's book claimed the #33 spot on the Modern Library's list of Books of the Century, four spots behind Farrell's Lonigan Trilogy. [#012793] $300
(n.p.), (n.p.), (n.d.). Bound typescript of what seems to be an unpublished novel, by a writer who specializes in murder mysteries set among the wealthy and whose mother, the actress Joan Alexander, was reportedly swindled out of $60 million by her financial adviser. Hitchcock's first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award. Her books chronicle the lives of the New York social elite, typically set in the Upper East Side and in the Hamptons on Long Island. Double-spaced, single-sided, 223 pages. Labeled "First Draft." Comb-bound in plain navy plastic covers. In an envelope address to Peter Matthiessen (but the return address is not Hitchcock's). Several penciled notations in the text in what appears to be Matthiessen's hand, confined to the first handful of pages; fine. [#032288] $150
[1976]. A 6-page ribbon-copy typescript (here untitled) of a story about his 22-year friendship with "Lucky Nellie," a mythical sea creature with parallels to the Loch Ness Monster, and their shared tales of lives as fugitives. With the name and address of the recipient typed as a header. Written by Hoffman, one of the leading activists of the 1960s counterculture, while he was living underground, having jumped bail after his conviction on drug charges. Unsigned, but beginning, "Hi, this is Abbie...." Published in Oui magazine in December 1976 as "Loch Ness Nellie Calls on Me: Two Fugitives Issue a Communique, a fable by Abbie Hoffman," and later, with textual variations, in Square Dancing in the Ice Age, a collection of his underground writings, as "In Search of Loch Ness Nellie." Stapled in the upper left hand corner, final page detached. "File: Abbie Hoffman" written in pencil in the upper margin. Near fine. Manuscript material by Hoffman is uncommon. [#032289] $1,000
[ca. 1978-1982]. Undated, ca. 1978-1982. 21-page typescript of a section of Hoffman's 1982 book, Square Dancing in the Ice Age, representing about 14 pages of the published book. Seven pages here are photocopied or at least on heavier paper than the onionskin typescript, but most of those, as well as most of the original onionskin pages, have numerous corrections in Hoffman's hand and in another, unknown, hand. Most of these changes were made prior to publication, and still this version has textual differences from the published version. Large paperclip marks on the first page, otherwise very near fine. A substantial manuscript from one of the key counterculture figures of the 1960s. [#032295] $1,500
On Sale: $1,125
1902. September 22 [1902]. Written to Mr. [William V.] Alexander, editor of Ladies Home Journal, who had requested a series of articles from Keller that were later published as The Story of My Life. Keller humbly thanks Alexander for payment for the last article; in part: "I only wish I could have made the story of my life more worthy of the generous praise it has received...It has meant a great deal in my life, and in Miss Sullivan's too -- the thought of the happiness that she says my compliance with your request has brought her is sweeter even than the thought of the kindness shown me in the letters that come constantly from old friends long silent and new friends whose words go to the heart..." Two 5" x 8" pages, typed with blue ribbon and signed "Helen Keller." A very early letter by Keller, preceding her first book, with exceptionally good content. Fine. [#021174] $3,500
1996. Typescript of O'Nan's screenplay based on O'Brien's National Book Award-winning Vietnam War novel. Two clean copies, each signed by O'Nan on the title page. 126 pages each, and in a Kinko's box that is hand-labeled "Going After Cacciato/ 27 August 96/ Original - Top/ Copy - Bottom." The screenplays are fine; the box has two broken corners. The film of Cacciato is reportedly in development, directed by Nick Cassevetes, but apparently not with an O'Nan screenplay. O'Brien provided a jacket blurb for O'Nan's highly regarded Vietnam novel The Names of the Dead. [#029952] $1,750
[1969]. January 4, 1968[1969]. A note addressed to legendary Random House editor Bertha Krantz, as "Dear Bert," thanking her for a card and then quickly adding that he has found two errors in the text of "PC" (Portnoy's Complaint), despite not having read the book through yet. He describes the errors (on pages 9 and 64) and asks if they can be corrected in the second printing and whether Bantam will print from the second printing. Signed: "Make love, not typos,/ Yrs, Philip." Roth's dating of this letter is itself likely a typo: the book's official publication was in February of 1969; the letter was likely written in January of 1969. A bibliographically significant letter, pertaining to Roth's best-known work. Folded for mailing; recipient's marginal mark; author's name on verso; near fine. [#911125] $1,500
[c. 1990s]. Writings by the noted mystery writer (and poet), who is, among many other things, the author of the story, and later the novel, that were the basis for the well-reviewed film Drive. The materials here belonged to Sallis' friend Robert Skinner, of Xavier University Library, himself also the author of a highly praised series of mystery novels. A notable association, made all the more so by the fact that both Sallis and Skinner have written mystery series that feature non-white protagonists -- Sallis an African-American, Lew Griffin; and Skinner a Creole, Wesley Farrell, who has been passing for white -- and they also each have written books on Chester Himes, the expatriate African-American mystery writer whose novels laid the foundation for mystery series featuring black detectives with his books that featured Harlem cops "Coffin" Ed Johnson and "Gravedigger" Jones. Sallis wrote a Himes biography and Skinner edited a book of interviews and compiled a bibliography. The Sallis archive includes:
  • the typescript (printout) of "George Pelecanos," which was published as the introduction to the 1999 St. Martin's paperback edition of Pelecanos' The Big Blowdown. With a few minor changes between this version and the published one. 4 pages.
  • the typescript (printout) of "Introduction," published in the 1994 Avalon paperback edition of Chester Himes's A Case of Rape. 7 pages.
  • the typescript (printout) of "Career Moves." 4 pages. Six vignettes about looking for work. Published in Potato Tree, 2007.
  • the typescript (printout) of "Day's Heat." Fiction. 20 pages (plus a blank, numbered 21st page), 4170 words. Published in Sallis' collection A City Equal to My Desire, 2000.
  • the typescript (printout) of "Uncles and Fireflies." An essay that pays tribute to his uncle; possibly unpublished. 4 pages.
  • the typescripts (printouts) of three poems, one page each: "Dawn in the Country's Still Heart," "Our Drive into the Country's Still Heart," and "Reading the World."
  • a typed letter signed to Robert Skinner, dated August 27, 1992. Touches on his own writing and on Skinner's work on Himes's unfinished novel Plan B (which Sallis calls Plan A). With mailing envelope.
  • a holiday invitation, 1993, hand-addressed; a signed birthday card, undated, with envelope; an autograph postcard signed, 1995, from New York; a signed holiday card, undated; a signed holiday card, with added sentiment, 1995, with envelope; a signed holiday card, 1997, with envelope.
  • a flyer announcing the publication party of Sallis' Black Hornet, a Lew Griffin novel; a flyer for a 1995 Sallis reading, which prints his poem "Art of Biography"; an unused promotional postcard featuring the cover art for Moth, another Lew Griffin novel; photocopy of a promotional flyer from No Exit Press, with mailing envelope; 3 promotional flyers from 1997; a 1999 printout of Iain Sinclair's review of Sallis' Eye of the Cricket, again a Lew Griffin novel, from Waterstones website.
  • approximately 75 pages of printouts of emails from Sallis to Skinner, May 1996 to October 1997 (plus one page from 1999), and one printed email signed, 2000, that Sallis had to mail when it kept bouncing back to him. With envelope.
All items fine. [#028998] $1,500
1992-2011.

Fifty pieces of correspondence from Josef Skvorecky (Czech author of The Engineer of Human Souls, among many others) to his eventual friend, writer and musician Anthony Weller. Includes:

  • 23 typed letters signed by Skvorecky; 1 typed note signed; 2 typed postcards signed; 3 autograph notes signed; 3 autograph postcards signed; 5 signed cards; 12 emails;
  • one unsigned letter which is together with the unpublished 2007 translation (bound computer printout, double-spaced, rectos only, 280pp.) of the author's novel Encounter in Prague, with Murder.
Much of the correspondence falls in the years 2001-2007, a time frame that included:
  • Weller providing an Afterword to a new edition of Skvorecky's The Bass Saxophone [Toronto: L&OD/Key Porter, 2001], a copy of which is included;
  • Weller writing an essay, in 2007, on the adaptations of The Bass Saxophone (five-pages, computer printout), also included;
  • and Skvorecky soliciting advice from Weller on the adequacy of the above translation of Encounter in Prague, on which Skvorecky's and his wife's (Zdena Salivarova) names are crossed out as authors and replaced by hand with the pen name "Josephine Salivar."

Weller's retained email response is included, as are 14 retained copies of letters from Weller to Skvorecky. Weller and Skvorecky shared a passion for jazz as well as both being writers, so their correspondence -- which at first is quite cordial, almost formal -- eventually developed into a friendship based on intellectual closeness and trust. Skvorecky is widely considered one of the most important Czech writers of the postwar and Soviet era. Choosing a self-imposed exile to Canada after the failure of the Prague Spring movement in 1968, he founded a press, 68 Publishers, to publish exiled Czech and Slovak writers whose works were banned in communist Czechoslovakia, including Vaclav Havel, the future President of the Czech Republic, and Milan Kundera, whose Unbearable Lightness of Being was first published in Czech by 68 Publishers. Skvorecky himself was a Nobel Prize nominee in the 1980s.

The correspondence spans more than 20 years, up to a point two months before Skvorecky's death. The two writers discuss music, writing, publishing, their health, their travels, and a range of other subjects, exchanging CDs and books (not present here), and discussing their own works as well.

Also included is the Czech edition of Nachod, 1254-2004 by Lubomir Imlauf and Stanislav Bohaldo, inscribed by Skvorecky "For Anthony my friend," in 2004, with an additional note saying it is also available in English. Nachod was Skvorecky's birthplace and featured prominently in much of his work.

In all a revealing look at one of the major writers of the 20th century, writing candidly to a friend, confidant and fellow writer, along with a typescript of an unpublished translation of one of his novels. All items fine.

[#029718] $5,500
Undated. A one-page prose poem, typed, and signed "Clark Ashton Smith/Auburn, California." This version of the prose poem differs in a number of particulars from the published version, which was included in The Abominations of Yondo (Arkham House, 1960) and Poems in Prose (Arkham House, 1965). Previously folded in thirds but now in a custom binder, bearing the bookplate of horror writer Stanley Wiater, from whose library this came. Fine, with a letter laid in to Wiater from Roy Squires, the noted science fiction collector and dealer, from whom Wiater purchased it. Squires' lengthy letter comments extensively on the appallingly high prices "being asked -- and paid -- for the more desirable Arkham House books," in 1972, and then goes on to justify the high price Wiater had just paid for the Clark Ashton Smith manuscript, and says that he knows of only four prose poem manuscripts by Clark Ashton Smith in existence -- this one; one that he himself still had; and two that Smith's widow had at that time. A rare typescript by one of the most important American horror writers of the 20th century, with a long, illuminating letter from one of the great collectors and dealers in the field, and from the library of a horror writer who has been a three-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, given by the Horror Writers of America. [#029000] ON HOLD
$5,500
(n.p), (n.p.), [ca. 1983]. In 1983, Robert Stone, National Book Award-winning novelist, was commissioned to write a piece on George Orwell and his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, as that calendar year approached. In the piece, Stone made an effort to reclaim Orwell from the conservative right wing, which had taken his most famous, anti-totalitarian novels -- Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm -- to be explicit condemnations of the Soviet Union and Communism, and by implication all leftist thought itself. Instead, Stone argues that Orwell's writing in Homage to Catalonia -- not to mention his fighting on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War -- identifies Orwell as someone with both a socialist sympathy and "a certain affinity with what I believe is best about the United States," a kind of Puritanism that is characterized by "rectitude...conscience and common sense." He goes on to point out that Orwell "was the sort of radical who makes enemies on both sides of epic struggles," owing to his "originality and intelligence, [and] above all his thoroughgoing honesty, [which] always got him in trouble. A writer and man more predictable and dull, less infernally scrupulous would have had a better time of it." Stone adds that Orwell was idealistic but non-ideological -- as Stone was himself -- and deeply committed to the kind of "pragmatism that has characterized American moral thinkers from Jefferson to James to Neibuhr." He concludes that "We may never produce a greater political novel than Nineteen Eighty-Four" and that "it has done its work for us" in shaping our fears and cautions sufficiently for us to have avoided the totalitarian dystopia that was latent in the post-War years of the Cold War. The confluence of writer and subject here was, in many ways, a near-perfect one but the piece seems never to have been published; we can find no record of it; a cover letter from Stone's wife, Janice, indicates this was done for Thames Television, but whether it was produced or used remains unknown to us. One of Stone's novels includes an allusion to a critical moment in Nineteen Eighty-Four: Stone's character explains that one has "to look the gray rat in the eye" -- an allusion to the torture by rats that Winston Smith, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, is faced with, which causes him to "break" and betray himself and his loved ones. 18 pages, ribbon copy typescript, with Janice Stone's cover letter, laid into an agent's folder. Fine. An unknown Robert Stone piece, on a subject that touches close to many of the central and pervasive themes of his own writings. Unique. [#032829] $8,500
1951, 1952, 1970. One typed letter signed, one autograph letter signed, and one autograph postcard signed by the controversial author of Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval, and others. Velikovsky's books suggested that Earth's history was defined more by sudden catastrophes than by slow evolution. They became quite popular during the 1960s, when conventional wisdom of all sorts was being called into question. Each letter is written to a Mr. Tereshchenko: the first refutes two notions in a book by "Beaumont;" the second letter assures the recipient that the second volume of Ages [in Chaos] will be published and is being held up by Velikovsky himself; the third voices intent to send along a 1946 publication and explains that Ages in Chaos grew to a tetralogy. "Beaumont" is William Comyns Beaumont, a British author whom some claimed had advanced the notions put forward by Velikovsky a generation earlier. The first letter is secured across the midpoint fold with tape; very good. The second letter is on airmail paper; folded and opened as designed; else fine. The postcard is fine. Correspondence, or any autograph material, by Velikovsky is quite scarce, especially with significant content. [#023981] $1,750
2004. The text of Vonnegut's speech, a humanist treatise for the 21st century. Computer printout, 12 pages. Signed by the author. Fine, in hand-addressed mailing envelope, postmarked within a month of the speech. [#029371] $1,500
2003. The text of Vonnegut's speech, given at the Mark Twain House, in which he speaks well of Twain and Lincoln and American saints and less well of American Conservatives. Computer printout, 14 pages. Signed by Vonnegut and dated April 23, 2003 -- a week before he gave the speech. A version of this speech was published in In These Times in June, 2003 and by Spokeman Books in 2004. Fine. [#029369] $1,500
1986-1987. A collection of letters from Waters, mostly to his literary agent, Joan Daves, as well as related ancillary materials showing Waters at work in the after-market for his writing, with opportunities for later editions and film versions. Waters wrote primarily about the American Southwest, in particular the Native American experience. His father was part Cheyenne. The first typed letter signed is from Waters to his agent, Joan Daves, dated August 24, 1986 and concerns Lesley Ann Warren's interest in optioning the film rights to The Woman at Otowi Crossing and the contract for publication of a hardcover, illustrated edition of The Man Who Killed the Deer. It is stapled to a copy of the contract, with numerous marginal corrections and a retained copy of Daves' reply, agreeing with Waters that the intended publisher (Gibbs Smith) had overreached in the contract. An included exchange between Daves and Gibbs Smith posits a simpler agreement, while a retained carbon shows Daves reaching out to Ohio University Press to confirm they had no claim to hardcover rights. The second typed letter signed is from Waters to Keith Sabin, in Daves' absence, and is dated September 29, 1986 and describes the purchasing history of Flight from Fiesta and the current unwelcome "blitz" he, Waters, is undergoing from Ritz Productions regarding theatrical rights. Waters encloses an initialed copy of the letter he wrote to Ritz Productions redirecting their overtures to Daves upon her return from Europe. Both of these letters are stapled together with retained copies of both Sabin's and Daves' replies, as well as a retained copy of an earlier letter from Sabin to Waters saying they had been approached by Ritz and the initial contact letter from Ritz with an unsigned agreement for Right of First Refusal. Also included is a letter from Fiesta publisher Clark Kimball to Daves recommending the production company. The fourth typed letter signed, from Waters to Daves, dated April 29, 1987, again describes the publishing history of Flight from Fiesta and informs Daves that the publisher, Clark Kimball, has been approached by CBS-Columbia regarding film rights, and he includes Kimball's letter. Attached are the retained copies of letters from Daves to both Waters and Kimball, admonishing all that Kimball has no role in film rights for the title, and a later letter from Kimball acquiesces. The fifth typed letter signed, from Waters to Daves (August 3, 1987), delineates an additional inquiry regarding a film option for Flight from Fiesta and several leads on optioning The Woman at Otowi Crossing should Lesley Ann Warren's option expire. Waters takes Daves to task for not responding to offers already presented, for not keeping him informed, and for being about to depart for Europe leaving him without representation: "I don't like to end our agent-client relationship after so many years, but if the overload of work at this crucial time is too much for you, I don't see any alternative." A copy of a letter to Waters at about this point from Alton Walpole shows one of the interested parties facing obstacles bringing Otowi Crossing to the screen. Also, a letter to Daves from The University of Nevada thanks Daves for sending financials on Ohio University Press's Frank Waters: A Retrospective Anthology (included), but bemoans how infrequent the agent's communiques have become. However, the Daves-Waters agent-client relationship was ongoing in October: in the sixth typed letter signed in this archive, Waters informs Daves of yet another inquiry for Flight from Fiesta and asks her advice about payment on an opportunity he has to write the text for a book of photographs to be published by Arizona Highways (likely Eternal Desert, published in 1990). As mentioned, many of the letters are stapled; most are folded for mailing; in some instances they bear the agency's routing marks or highlighting. The lot as a whole is near fine. [#031770] $1,250
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New Arrivals Catalog 168