Two Interesting Offers: A Manuscript and a Letter

A Waugh manuscript is on offer on the ABE bookseller website. This is the three-page handwritten manuscript of the article entitled “Awake My Soul! It Is a Lord” that appeared in The Spectator on 8 July 1955. Here’s the description:

About 1200 words. This is Evelyn Waugh’s manuscript draft, signed by him, of an amusing satirical article, originally written by Waugh for Punch but rejected by its editor Malcolm Muggeridge as libellous, and then published in the Spectator (8 July 1955). After publication of the article several letters from the parties involved and their friends appeared in the Spectator. Waugh ridicules Lord Noel-Buxton over an uninvited and unwelcome visit which the noble Lord had rashly made to Waugh’s home in the company of Nancy Spain, “the leading literary critic of the Beaverbrook press”. The full story can be found online. The manuscript draft differs in numerous details from the article as published – most of the changes are small but Waugh’s closing paragraphs with his taxonomy of lords (“…lords haughty, who think that commoners all seek their acquaintance and must be kept at a distance; lords affable, who like mixing with their fellow-men of all degrees and know the conventions of good society by which introductions are effected; lords lavish and leisurely and dead-broke lords eager to earn an honest living” – in the published version) are substantially different in the draft. Neatly written with a few corrections, marks on the verso of the first leaf, one or two very minor nicks, otherwise Very Good. Waugh manuscripts are uncommon in the market.

The article is reproduced in EAR, p. 468, as well as A Little Order, p. 133, and is noteworthy because it was the opening round of a dispute between Waugh and the Beaverbrook press that resulted in £5,000 in libel damages being awarded to Waugh. It was also the final attempt by Waugh to have an article published in Punch magazine during Malcolm Muggeridge’s editorship. Muggeridge thought some edits were needed to avoid libel. Waugh then sent the text to the The Spectator in which he may or may not have incorporated Muggeridge’s suggestions. These manuscript pages may well answer that question. Waugh evened the score on Muggeridge’s rejections by later embarassing him when Waugh withdrew his ear trumpet and placed in front of him at a Foyle’s book launch for Pinfold just as Muggeridge started his adulatory introduction. The manuscript is for sale for $7573.13. That’s probably about £6,ooo. Here’s a link to the offer.

Another bookseller is offering (also on ABE) a letter of Waugh relating to his book about Mexico, Robbery Under Law. Here’s an excerpt from the bookseller’s description:

Autograph letter signed by Evelyn Waugh. Quarto, one page on Hotel Ritz, Mexico letterhead, the letter reads, “Sept 14th Dear Mr. Jones, Very many thanks for your letter which has just reached me here. I am so glad you found Scoop funny. Letters like yours are very encouraging. I am out here trying to study Mexican conditions, but finding it very hard to concentrate while things in Europe look so grave. Perhaps my next book will have to be about life in the army. Yours sincerely Evelyn Waugh.” The recipient, Richard Arnold-Jones, was a young man who had recently been awarded the 1938 Duke of Devonshire Prize Competition (offered by the British Empire League). Arnold-Jones went on to become a prominent Anglo-Catholic, poet, teacher and co- founder of the Redrice School. … In August 1938 Waugh, with Laura, made a three-month trip to Mexico after which he wrote Robbery Under Law, based on his experiences there. In the book he spelled out clearly his conservative credo; he later described the book as dealing “little with travel and much with political questions. In very good condition.

A copy of the letter is posted on the website. It appears that the price is $1600, but there is language that may refer to another item for which multiple copies are available. Contact with the seller should be made before responding. Here’s a link to the offer.

This entry was posted in Autographs, Items for Sale, Letters, Manuscripts, Newspapers, Robbery Under Law, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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