Lot 673: Exceptional collection of 18 letters from Burgess to different recipients, consisting of two ALSs and 16 TLSs on sheets and postcards of various sizes, dated between 1969 and 1986. Eleven are addressed to literary scholar Robert DeMaria. Burgess discusses his work, literature in general, his daily life, and responds to a few autograph requests. A selection from the letters follows:To Robert DeMaria, 1969: "The book of mine that most students seem to be getting hold of now is the Random House Modern Library volume which contains A Clockwork Orange and Honey for the Bears. But I'd prefer they read Enderby, which has Mediterranean settings. I'm working on a biography of Shakespeare at the moment…a literary-biographical approach might be useful while the stuff's fresh in my mind."To DeMaria, 1971: "I see you wanted an introduction to The Satyr, but I don't suppose you need it now. I'll do it for your next novel, if you still want it, but you probably don't…I'm damnably busy trying to earn a living, and the academic way won't do it—not at Princeton, anyway."Regarding his work and schedule, 1973: "I've been busy here in Europe after the long sleep of academic NY, having now just got through the TV Moses series (Burt Lancaster, Jehovah help us), written a novella, and nearly finished my Napoleon novel."To DeMaria, 1976: "A Marlowe novel is what I've always wanted to write but I've had to be content with a mere set of vital snippets in the Shakespeare series I've written for TV."To an admirer, 1977: "My views on the Nobel Prize are simple and have more to do with economic need then with literary merit. I think I deserve it, for instance, because I think I deserve to have some kind of financial reward for working so hard. I doubt if there is a serious nexus between the Prize and genuine literary achievement: politics always comes into it somewhere, or else something celebratory—I don't think Saul Bellow would have got it had it not been for America's bicentenary; I don't think Patrick White would have got it had it not been for the need to recognise the existence of Australia. If the Prize recognised genuine merit, the writers now dead who should have received it are: James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Ronald Firbank, Ford Madox Ford, Franz Kafka, Hoffmannsthal, Cocteau, D. H. Lawrence, Evelyn Waugh."To publisher Rolando Pieraccini, 1984: "It would be a good idea to publish, as a single volume, these 71 sonnets of the great Roman Belli…These have not, as a single verse entity, appeared in print before."To an admirer, 1986: "One novel of mine has been translated to Russian, but that was done in Israel. The Soviet Union does not permit copies of my books into their great libertarian territories. I cannot send you a copy of my best book, since I do not know which it is."Also includes a seven-page mimeographed copy of a typed draft for Burgess's translation of Cyrano de Bergerac, with autograph notations and corrections, as well as his signature on the final page. Accompanied by retained carbon copies of some of DeMaria's letters to Burgess. In overall fine condition. Correspondence with superb content and commentary by the accomplished British writer.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 456
Wednesday, 15th July 2015
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