CHANDLER, RAYMOND. 1888-1959.
Typed Letter Signed ("Ray"), 3 pp, 4to, La Jolla, California, December 5, 1952, to H.N. Swanson, on personal stationery, a few secretarial annotations in margins, pin holes to upper margins.
A characteristically colorful, direct, and quotable letter by Chandler to his Hollywood agent, Swanson ("Swanie"), explaining why he wants to handle matters concerning his book rights himself. Chandler begins by "remarking in passing that you (including Eddie) are the only agent that I have been able to like," then goes on to air his grievances with former agents Bernice Baumgarten and Carl Brandt, alluding to their criticism of his draft of The Long Goodbye (see preceding lot for more on the subject). He then launches into a page and a half critique of the ineffectualness and superfluousness of literary agents in general. "The English agent and the American agent can't even write a contract; they don't know when royalty statements are due; they don't know if they are paid when they should be paid; they don't even know when the books are published unless they get author's copies, and they don't always get author's copies. The whole thing is just a bluff." Elsewhere he declares, "I will never again submit a book manuscript to an agent unless a publisher has first approved it. If I have to get kicked in the teeth, okay, but I won't take it from anybody but the head man." Chandler provides several other reasons for wanting to handle his book rights himself, and offers to let Swanson continue to handle matters related to motion picture, television, radio, and serial rights.