Publisher's Archive of Correspondence Relating to Keep the Aspidistra Flying

AN ARCHIVE OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN VICTOR GOLLANCZ AND GEORGE ORWELL RELATING TO THE PUBLICATION OF KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING

ORWELL, George

I will do what I can short of ruining the book altogether

ORWELL, George Publisher's Archive of Correspondence Relating to Keep the Aspidistra Flying AN ARCHIVE OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN VICTOR GOLLANCZ AND GEORGE ORWELL RELATING TO THE PUBLICATION OF KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING

1936.

Twenty four items, comprising seven letters from Orwell (five TLS, one ALS, one telegram), nine TLS, one publishing agreement and ten carbons. Including: initial correspondence regarding the novel, including Gollancz's congratulatory letter to Orwell; correspondence with Rubinstein regarding libel issues; Orwell's response to Rubinstein's concerns; a second round of complaints from Rubinstein, to which Orwell replies noting the changes he has made to avoid mimicking real advertisements; increasingly fraught correspondence between Orwell and Gollancz, with three pages of Orwell's original manuscript showing the deletion of the phrase "Foul, bloody things", Orwell defending his portrayal of the bookshop owner as "not a portrait of any real person" and insisting on retaining the word "sod", citing Graves's use of it in Goodbye to All That; further correspondence on the latter subject, with Orwell refusing to change the word, but eventually yielding, though claiming that the book had been ruined; correspondence between Gollancz and Moore and Gollancz and Rubinstein concerning the changes made to avoid resemblance to real advertisements and products and Orwell's continued opposition to making them.

The comprehensive archive of correspondence between George Orwell and his publisher, regarding the writing and publication of Keep The Aspidistra Flying. Copies of all outgoing letters from Gollancz have been preserved in carbon, providing an uninterrupted chain of correspondence.
The archive presents an important insight into the increasingly fraught relationship between Orwell and Victor Gollancz, galvanised by two significant changes to British publishing in the 1930s; the increasing threat of libel, and the importance of publishing a book palatable to circulating libraries and book clubs.
Consequently Gollancz was becoming increasingly cautious, and the archive includes detailed correspondence between the publishing house and its solicitor Harold Rubinstein. The publisher's wariness however, justified by a recent spike in books being withdrawn for libel, had begun to wear thin for Orwell. This comes to a head in a long autograph letter from Orwell in February 1936, saying "I will do what I can short of ruining the book altogether".
The letter in question precipitated something of a standoff between Orwell, who was clearly finding their qualms increasingly tedious, and Gollancz's Deputy Chairman, who claimed Orwell's repeated use of the word "sod" would see the "book banned by several of the larger circulating libraries."
The entire drawn out affair played out in the letters between Orwell, his agent Leonard Moore, the publisher and their solicitor is a perfect example of the friction between the novelist, who saw a work of art being ruined by petulance, and the publisher, who wanted to make a book safe for publication in the contemporary climate.
Taken as a whole, the archive presents a complete epistolary narrative of the publication history of the penultimate novel of Orwell's that Gollancz would publish, and a fascinating microcosm of the the tensions in 1930s publishing.

Stock ID: 39396

£50,000.00

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