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[MacDONALD, George] [LEWIS, C.S.]

A Collection of Papers from the Archive of Publisher Victor Gollancz, Relating to the Publication of the Gollancz Edition of Phantastes and Lilith

V.p.: N.p., V.d.


A small quantity of typed and holograph correspondence, and associated materials, between and concerning C.S. Lewis, his publisher, and interested parties, relating to the publication of Phantastes and Lilith, various sizes and dates, the whole housed in a manila folder. Some edgewear to larger (outsize) items, but a well preserved collection.


PAPERS AND CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE ARCHIVE OF VICTOR GOLLANCZ RELATING TO THE PUBLICATION OF GEORGE MacDONALD'S PHANTASTES AND LILITH, WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY C.S. LEWIS, INCLUDING AN ALS FROM LEWIS TO GOLLANCZ DISCUSSING THE BOOK'S TITLE.

The Gollancz edition of Phantastes and Lilith was published in the UK in 1962, and carried an introduction by C.S. Lewis. The two novels were first published in 1858 and 1895 respectively, and had been previously published together in New York by Noonday Press in 1954, under the title The Visionary Novels of George MacDonald. That edition had carried an introduction by W.H. Auden. Correspondence in the file shows that Gollancz's original intention was to use both Auden's introduction and the Noonday edition's modification of the text. Hilary Rubenstein (Victor Gollancz's nephew) soon tired of what he saw as Noonday's unreasonable demands, and in a letter dated 12 March 1962 cut all ties with them in no uncertain terms, writing: ....there is no reason, in these circumstances, why we should make use of your edition at all. We can very easily obtain another introduction for our edition and simply set the books ourselves from the original editions. In view of your letter, this is what we now plan to do.'

On 3 April Rubenstein wrote to C.S. Lewis: 'I plan to publish during the Autumn, in one volume, Phantastes and Lilith. I should very much like to reprint, as a preface, part of the preface you wrote for the Bles Anthology [George MacDonald: An Anthology (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1946)]. , .... Could you, I wonder, suggest a title? Farrar, Straus of New York [of which Noonday was a subsidiary] published edited versions of the two novels some time ago, calling them "The Visionary Novels of George MacDonald". I don't much like "visionary", and I am particularly anxious, anyhow, not to use their title. But I can't for the life of me think of an attractive alternative.' In an undated ALS present in the file, Lewis replies: 'As for the title I shd. have thought the plain one Phantastes and Lilith was the best. No doubt people will misunderstand it and take P. and L. for the title of a single work, but I don't see any commercial, literary or ethical objection to their doing so! I made a similar mistake in boyhood about the old Heinemann volume Siegfried and the Twilight of the Gods, but neither Heinemann nor I nor Wagner was any the worse for it.'

On 13 April Bles and Gollancz agreed a fee of six guineas for the use of Lewis's (abridged) preface, payable on publication.

On October 17 Alfred Knopf writes to Gollancz in a TLS: '...you said at that pleasant lunch at the Savoy that you were reissung in a single volume 'Lilith' and 'Phantastes' by George Macdonald, and suggested that we do likewise. ... Would you be good enough to let me know just what your plans are...?' On the reverse of the letter Gollancz has written his reply in red ink, which was typed up on the 22nd: 'I am sending you by separate post our edition of the MacDonald novels, which we are publishing in January.' (The finished book, although not published until January 1963, carries a publication date of 1962.) In a reply dated 21 November, Knopf passes.

A remarkable collection of material, telling in great detail and at first hand the story of the publication of a book linking Lewis to one of his most important literary influences. As Lewis notes in his preface: 'I have never concealed the fact that I regarded [MacDonald] as my master; indeed, I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him.'




Keywords: George MacDONALD C.S. LEWIS Victor GOLLANCZ"

£3,500.00


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