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Autograph Letter Signed, "Jph. Conrad," to Doubleday, McClure and Co representative James MacArthur
"The Pent" [Stanford near Hythe], 1900. 4 pages. 12mo. Old folds, minor toning. 4 pages. 12mo. ON LORD JIM, AGAINST AUTHOR PHOTOS, AND BEGINNING "TYPHOON" A terrific, unpublished Conrad letter, being a reply to James MacArthur, the London representative of the American publisher of Lord Jim, expressing ambivalence about that novel; making clear his distaste for author photographs; and mentioning that he's begun work on "Typhoon." In part: "I am glad you think well of Jim from samples. I am in such a state of muddle about it myself that I have given up thinking. Moreover what's done can not be undone. As to your request you must really pardon me. I haven't a photograph-and-a photograph anyhow is a beastly thing even if I had one. If the public wants a photograph let them have it of course but I should think any sort of photograph would do. I have no objection but I won't have anything to do with it. I really think too much of my prose to throw photographs into the scale in which public favours are weighed. Indeed I have not forgotten the pledge; I keep that pleasure before me. I've just started a short story (a real one this time-not an incipient novel) and when I've murdered that I shall appear and claim the lunch...." The first American edition of Lord Jim was published October 31 by Doubleday, McClure and Company, though its serialization in Blackwood's was not complete until November. The American edition did not include a photograph of the author. The "short story" Conrad refers to would have been the novella "Typhoon," which he began in mid-September and finished in January 1901, though which did not begin to appear in Blackwood's until the following year (Najdez p 306 & p 311). Scottish born James MacArthur (1866-1909) founded and co-edited the New York magazine Bookman from 1894-1899, for which he had favorably reviewed Conrad's first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. His tenure with Doubleday was brief; in London as the publisher's representative in 1900, MacArthur returned to the U.S. in 1901 and took a position with Harper's, on behalf of which he would later correspond with and solicit material from Conrad.
      [Bookseller: James Cummins Bookseller]
Last Found On: 2017-10-08           Check availability:      Biblio    

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