THE AUTHOR'S OWN MARKED UP COPY

The Basement Room

And Other Stories

GREENE, Graham

The Basement Room - ,

Cresset Press, 1935.

First edition, first issue. Original publisher's green cloth, titles to spine gilt, in silver and green dustwrapper. Greene's own copy, with his ownership inscription to the front paste down. Annotations include a list of notes to the front endpaper. Marginal notes to three pages in the title story, alterations to the titles of two subsequent stories and a list under the heading "To add" on the rear endpaper. A very good copy, spine a little darkened and worn at the edges in a near fine (supplied) dustwrapper with just a touch of wear to the head of the spine.

Greene's first collection of short stories, with The Basement Room, I Spy, A Chance For Mr Lever and Proof Positive seeing their first publication in any form.
This copy, beside being the author's personal copy, is particularly notable in being his working copy used to transpose the title story into the screen play for the Oscar nominated film The Fallen Idol directed by Carol Reed.
Greene later recalled, "It is difficult to remember which of us made which changes in the original story except in certain details... The snake was mine (I have always liked snakes), and for a short while it met with Reed's sympathetic opposition" (Black et al, p. 695). Greene introduces the snake device twice in this copy, first on the front free endpaper, where he has sketched out the key plot points and chronology of "The Basement Room", and again on p. 9, where he sketches an alteration of a scene to include "dialogue with toy animal or snake in which he takes Baines' part". In the scene in the book, Mrs Baines has sent Philip to his nursery, where he ignores his Meccano set, toy soldiers, and trains, and instead broods over her harsh treatment of him and Mr Baines. In the final film version, Philip owns a beloved pet garter snake, MacGregor, which Mrs Baines secretly incinerates alive. The idea was recognised by David Lodge as "very effective on several levels - dramatic, symbolic and character-revealing". Greene has also annotated p. 17, where Philip meets Mr Baines's lover, Emmy, in the cafe for the first time, to note the casting of "Michèle Morgan" in the rôle. The French actress is best remembered for her "beautifully wistful performance" in this rôle (NYT, 16 November 1949), which was to contribute so much to the overall effectiveness of the piece. This is a wonderful evocation of Greene's working processes on perhaps the most successful film adaptation of his work, and his own personal favourite.
The annotations at the end of the work are for a different project, this time adapting the work for the publication of 19 Stories, which includes all eight stories from this volume. On the rear endpaper, under the heading of "To add", Greene has listed five more stories with the word count next to them, four of which made it into the finished work.
The book is inherently rare in a jacket, however this is an exceptional example, lending insight into Greene's creative process and the talent he had for reinventing his work for different media.

Wise & Hill A9, Wobbe A10, Miller 15.

Stock ID: 40947

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