BRENAN (GERALD) Autograph draft of The History of Poor Robinson, together with the preface ("A note on 'The History of Poor Robinson'"), [c.1925, as reworked in c.1965]

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Lot 203
BRENAN (GERALD)
Autograph draft of The History of Poor Robinson, together with the preface ("A note on 'The History of Poor Robinson'"), written out by Brenan from his earlier drafts, with occasional further revisions, additions and deletions, [c.1925, as reworked in c.1965]: 'A SATIRE AND A ROMAN A CLEF ON MY LONG AFFAIR WITH DORA CARRINGTON'

Sold for £ 3,562 (US$ 4,316) inc. premium
BRENAN (GERALD)
Autograph draft of The History of Poor Robinson, together with the preface ("A note on 'The History of Poor Robinson'"), written out by Brenan from his earlier drafts, with occasional further revisions, additions and deletions, plus additional reworked pages in typescript, loose in wrappers inscribed by Brenan "The History of Poor Robinson/ By Gerald Brenan", recycled typescript draft to reverse of last page of preface (opening: "Vicky O'Rourke, a large rather florid woman..."), 95 pages in all, plus typed title, written on the rectos of loose leaves numbered from 1 to 80, with 15 bis numbers (e.g., 49a, 49b, 49c), 84 pages in manuscript, 11 typed (with autograph additions), manuscript pages watermarked 'Parchemin/ [hound]/ L.A.R', typescript pages watermarked 'Silver Cross', wrappers dust-stained, minor signs of use elsewhere, but overall in fresh and attractive condition, 4to, [c.1925, as reworked in c.1965]

Footnotes

  • 'A SATIRE AND A ROMAN A CLEF ON MY LONG AFFAIR WITH DORA CARRINGTON' – dating from circa 1925. Brenan states in his prefatory note that "I wrote most of this story in a few weeks in, I think, the summer of 1925 when I was in a very bitter frame of mind, and finished it later. It is a satire and a roman à clef on my long affair with Dora Carrington and follows the actual course of events fairly closely... It was written for myself only and has up to now never been shown to anyone. The MSS was left in a very rough state, so I have corrected it and my wife has typed it... Incidentally this was the first literary prose piece I ever finished".

    Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy describes it as 'a 25,000-word account of the love affair written, according to Gerald, in the style of Candide or Diatribe du Docteur Akakia. But in fact, not Voltaire but anger forced his own strong, clear prose from Gerald for the first time outside his letters and a few reviews... Gerald told Ralph [Partridge, Dora's husband], deviously, that he was the hero, but the animus against Ralph (Perrywag), who reads pornography and complains when Robinson, whom he pities and despises for his "incapacity" with women, fails to supply him with pig trotters and high-class tarts; and also to a lesser extent, Lytton (Dr Artichoke), whose disciples are taught to admire his original use of clichés – to read him is "like walking on the finest linoleum carpet" – is far more vicious than against Carrington (Flutterby). Fuelled by this, Gerald finished it in a few months' (Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, The Interior Castle: A Life of Gerald Brenan, 1992).

    The typescript is held in the Brenan Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin (Series I, Works, 1912-1969/ box 2/ folder 1); a carbon was in the collection of Anthony Hobson (Christie's South Kensington, 10 June 2015, lot 55, where it is dated to 1965). We have traced no publication of the work.
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