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Superb Archive of Material Relating to the William Faulkner Television Story - ÒThe Graduation DressÓ Including Two Original Typed Faulkner Letters Signed by Faulkner & One Contract Signed by Faulkner


Published by New York/Los Angeles/ Oxford, Mississippi 8 pages, quarto 1952, 1952
Soft cover
From James Pepper Rare Books, Inc., ABAA (Santa Barbara, CA, U.S.A.)

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In 1952, William Faulkner was badly in need of money and wished to promote his protege/lover Joan Williams. He was approached by an old friend, television producer James J. Geller, to write an original story for television which he proceeded to do in collaboration with Joan Williams. The first piece in the group is a Typed Letter Signed from Geller to Faulkner thanking him for the story and expressing interest in learning more about Joan Williams when Faulkner is to shortly visit Los Angeles. Next, is the original contract signed by Faulkner selling the rights to the story. Faulkner arranged all this without consulting his agent, Harold Ober, to whom he then writes in a letter on July 30th: ÒÉIn confidence, I am not particularly interested in this sort of thing [writing television plays]. This one was done in collaboration with a young woman who someday may write something serious and good. My main idea in this was to contrive an opening for her where she could partly support herself while she does, tries to do, serious writing. I am perfectly willing to allow my name to be used on this TV thing for that reason. As you see, I do not commit myself to anything further. Geller is an old Hollywood friend, has been kind to me, is a reputable man and a reputable agent. The young woman I mentioned finally did a story I think is all right. I sent it to HarperÕs magazine. If they decline it, will you look at it yourself as possible agent? I can promise to stop her from sending you trash or unsalable stuffÉI will hold GellerÕs check for $500.00 until I hear from youÉMy eyes are open about this, I know my name will be exploited, but the piece is honest if thin.Ó Included is the carbon copy of OberÕs response to Faulkner gently taking him to task for arranging a bad deal. On August 2, 1952, Faulkner sheepishly writes to Ober in a second letter: ÒÉThank you for your letter re; Geller. I feel that I have more or less passed my word about this sum. That is, I did not quibble about the price when he offered it, and sent him the mss still without demanding any further discussion about price. I cannot seem to learn to ask you to represent me in things of this nature. I had two mysterious telephone calls, two different parties, one said he was in New York, the other said Memphis, about my character Gavin Stevens in television. I declined to talk to either, insisted that they contact you. If you have not heard, they may both be fakes. I didnÕt at all like the high-pressure attitude of the Memphis one. They gave names; as usual, I do not remember themÉon the Geller thingÉsee what arrangement can be made for more of these short story-lines. I am going to have to raise some money. I am in a condition that is beginning to worry me a little. I have written nothing in a year, donÕt want to write, have to force myself to attend my farm, have lost heart somehow. I think I need to get away from here, all responsibilities, for at least a year, maybe for good. But I will begin to need money soon. These short tv things seem to be the simplest; that is a six or page rough story synopsis, for $500.00 a jobÉI think I mentioned a young woman, Joan Williams, a writing protege of mine, to you. I sent a mss, of hers to HarperÕs about two weeks ago. I donÕt remember if I put in return postage. The return address was her Memphis, Tenn., the mss title: THE MORNING AND THE EVENING. Will you check with HarperÕs in case I did not enclose postage?Ó Also present are two carbons of letters from Ober to Faulkner and Geller discussing the project at length, and an original typed letter signed from Geller to Ober clarifying various aspects of purchasing the story. Bookseller Inventory # 13958J

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Superb Archive of Material Relating to the ...

Publisher: New York/Los Angeles/ Oxford, Mississippi 8 pages, quarto 1952

Publication Date: 1952

Binding: Soft cover

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Store Description

Staff: James Pepper, Rebecca Traver, Deborah Sanford. Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America

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TERMS: Our Telephone Number is 805-963-1025. Our address is James Pepper Rare Books, Inc., 3463 State Street, Suite 271, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. Our email address is We have an answering machine for telephone messages outside of business hours. California residents must add state sales tax

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