EXCEPTIONALLY EARLY, GRAHAM GREENE LETTER ANNOUNCING THE SUCCESS OF HIS FIRST PUBLISHED NOVEL: THE MAN WITHIN
ACCOMPANIED BY A LONG, DETAILED AND INSIGHTFUL LETTER FROM HIS WIFE
GREENE, GRAHAM. (1904-91). British novelist; known for: The Confidential Agent (1939), The Power and the Glory (1940), The Third Man (1949), The End of the Affair (1951), Our Man in Havana (1958), amongst many others. Enlightening and early Autograph Letter Signed, “Graham Greene”, to his uncle. One full page, octavo. “8 Heathcroft, Hampstead Way, N.W.11.”, [September 30, 1929]. Excellent condition. Accompanied by a 3 page ALS from his wife, with the original envelope [containing both letters] addressed to “R.N. Greene Armytage [?] Esq., 5, Queen’s Parade, Bath”, with three halfpence stamp and postal cancellations. Greene writes:
“Dear Uncle Bob, Very many thanks for your letter. Yes, America’s good news. Dutch rights have been sold, and German and Scandinavian ones progressing. I have a rotten cold and a dinner at the Savoy tonight with Doubleday. Was there every a more bitter combination for one who loves his food? To see, yet not to taste. I have no brain left. We had a lovely time abroad. And the … has … the gardener’s wife. Let Adrian try cabbage leaves, but all my best wishes to him. I hate oysters. Do you? Love to you all from your affectionate nephew, Graham Greene”.
His wife’s letter reads:
“My very dearest Uncle Bunn, We are all desolated because we missed the majority—I wish I’d known and written. We got your letter last night as we were away, at Crowborough, for the weekend, so please forgive the delay in thanking you for your note and the very attractive enclosures! It is sweet of you [here she sketches an angel] angelic thing, and I will take over some to … this evening and share the good things you’ve dropped into my lap so bounteously! I like the First Edition card too, most awfully. These Tckecs or Czechts or Czchos do go in for Good Works (in the secondary meaning) don’t they? Printing, etching, wood engraving, weaving, metals, pottery, lovely embroidery and the rest. Really amazing. I should love to go to Prague. Did you read the account of the Millenary, and Celebrations honoring S. Wenceslaus, in the Observer yesterday? It did make me long to go a-roving! My spouse goes off in full sail (i.e. tails!) like a stately galleon to the Savoy tonight! How we rise in the world—at least he does. I don’t because it’s a business dinner, but tie the tie and inspect his nails etc! Do you remember your niece and nephew urging you to get the Life and Letters with ‘High Wind in Jamaica’!? I see it has the Book Society’s Prize this month. It is perfectly extraordinary and quite out of the line of ordinary ‘fiction’ as the booksellers call it. How is Morgan. Do give her and Ronan simply tons of love and also to your two selves, with EVER so many thanks for the tickets, your most grateful and affectionate ‘Little Snowdrop’ (ride Man… who was Thursday[?]])”.
Intimate family letters like this rarely come to market. This one, written less than 2 years after his marriage, and announcing his first literary success is certainly worthy of inclusion in the finest of literary collections. There are literally dozens of his ‘better books’ on the marketplace, yet try to find a letter of content and scope that equals this, and… you can’t! Simply, a superb addition to any Graham Greene collection.