Typed letter signed, 2pp, 31 March n.y. To Canby.


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Typed letter signed, 2pp, 8vo, on printed letterhead of 27 Well Walk, Hampstead, N.W.3., 31 March n.y. [1930]. To Canby [see below], submitting a "letter" [no longer present] for publication: ". . . it does cover a great deal of ground, more ground, of course, than succeeding monthly letters will. . . . You might just indicate what sort of topics specially appeal to your readers. I imagine you want more a general gossip than formal criticism. I am doing this out of sympathy with you and your paper and for the sake of such publicity as it brings . . . but at the same time I think you ought to give me more than thirty dollars. . . . No doubt I have not McCarthy's reputation as a critic, among the elite, but I have a much bigger public, both here and with you, and even in criticism I was paid a good deal more than he was. . . . Strike out the reference to my own book if it seems in bad taste. As a matter of fact, it really clinches the long novel argument, because it was the success of the 'Good Companions' here that has made the booksellers keen on other long novels. Even now . . . it is selling almost better than any other novel here, between one and two thousand a week steadily. . . ." Prior mounting tape along left edge; minor creasing and perhaps uniformly lightly toned; else very good.

John Boynton Priestley (1894-1984); English writer.

Henry Seidel Canby (1878-1961); American educator, author, and editor, "When the New York Evening Post began to publish the Literary Review as a weekly supplement in 1920, Canby served as its respected editor, assisted by William Rose Benét, Amy Loveman, and Christopher Morley. Following the demise of the Literary Review in 1924, Canby and Morley founded, that same year, the Saturday Review of Literature, with Canby as its editor until 1936. This influential review maintained a balance between high aesthetic standards and open-minded criticism of current literary and cultural developments, thus appealing to ordinary intelligent readers. Among contributors were Harold Ickes, James Harvey Robinson, H. G. Wells, and George Santayana, while works by authors as diverse as James Branch Cabell, John Dos Passos, Robinson Jeffers, and William Faulkner were reviewed evenhandedly." [ANB] In J.B. Priestley: An Annotated Bibliography, Alan Edwin Day cites five contributions (C762, C774, C780, C790, and C796) headed "A Letter from London" (one titled "A Letter from England") written By Priestley for the Saturday Review of Literature between 19 April and 20 Dec. 1930. The Good Companions, "a picaresque novel 250,000 words long, was completed in March 1929, and published in July. Sales started slowly, but by Christmas the publishers Heinemann had to use taxis to rush copies to bookshops, so great was the demand; it became one of the best-sellers of the century. He followed this with what some consider his best novel, Angel Pavement (1930)." [Judith Cook, ODNB] (Item ID: 21540)

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