BRAINE, JOHN (1922-1986, novelist)
Lot 24
BRAINE, JOHN (1922-1986, novelist)
Sold for £960 (US$ 1,643) inc. premium
Lot Details
BRAINE, JOHN (1922-1986, novelist)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT ENTITLED 'THE MAKING OF ROOM AT THE TOP', stating that the novel is 'as much about a place as about a people', a point made in the novel ('...Anyone would think you were talking about a woman and not a perfectly ordinary market town with a few mills...') and also herein ('...Joe rejects Alice not because he doesn't love her, but because he can't have her and Warley too...'), emphasising that his novels are not autobiographical but that his role is that of a 'transformer' ('...they are based on reality. Because reality is too constricting. I use my imagination to transform that reality. That's a good word: transform. I'm a transformer. The great dynamos generate raw life and I'm the ugly battered little box which transforms that life into light and action...'), relating that as long as he can remember places have fascinated him ('...By places I don't mean only hills and valleys and woods and fields and moors, but buildings. And I don't mean only the pleasant and beautiful places...I mean places which outwardly are quite ordinary, even ugly. And I mean, particularly places where people live...'), giving details of where Room at the Top was written though Bingley was most often in his mind as he did so and he identifies various places in Bingley which appear in the novel, expressing regret that Bingley has changed so much ('...One of the reasons for my not living there any more is precisely the fact that it's changing so rapidly...I don't like change...'), picking out various features that had particularly appealed to him ('...this area, particularly in winter, had a special magic for me...the district got its special character from the fact that the people who lived here for the most part worked here, that they all knew each other, that they were part of a community...'); turning then to the Top, recalling Eagle Road in the novel, he notes that the Browns' house has become a teachers training college and more and more of the houses have been turned into flats, recalling particularly the brickworks which figure in the novel ('...those brickworks have always struck me as an image of desolation. In the novel, I have them on the moors themselves, which aren't actually at Bingley, but at Baildon...'), and ending with the thought that he has conflated various places in Yorkshire into Warley ('...These places aren't exactly and entirely the places in my novel, but the novel wouldn't have been the same if I hadn't known them and loved them...'), 7 pages, quarto, taken from a ring pad, not dated [but 1968]

Footnotes

  • This piece was written as a script for a production by Yorkshire television. It comes with related material comprising a 'call sheet' giving the itinerary for filming, biographical details of the four of the six participating writers - John Arden, John Barstow, John Braine and David Storey - a letter from Hilton Ambler of David Higham to the director Liz Kustow reporting that Braine has finished his script, and a note by Liz Kustow giving the background to the project. In it she states that: 'Tony Essex, head of the documentary department, asked me to make a series of films about famous Yorkshire writers. One of these was John Braine, who relived his experience of Yorkshire and in particular explained the origins of Room at the Top. We went to places of significance in this book but he was very worried about speaking direct to camera and so wrote down about Yorkshire and Room at the Top. Hence the enclosed hand-written draft. In the event Yorkshire TV decided not to show the film...I imagine the unique footage has been junked...I particularly remember when we went to his family home in Bingley where his mother was living. The camera and crew were outside in the street and John Braine walked up unannounced to the front door and knocked. When he called out, "It's me, John" the door remained shut. He knocked again and a shrill Yorkshire female voice from inside screamed, ".... ..."'
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