230
Wallace, David Foster
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 125,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT
230
Wallace, David Foster
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 125,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana

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New York

Wallace, David Foster
Archive of 21 letters, 1 postcard and 41 pp. photocopy typescript manuscript for the short story "Little Expressionless Animals" with manuscript notes on title page, comprising both ALS and TLS ("David Wallace") or "David" ) together 24 pages of correspondence (generally 11 x 8 1/2 in; 328 x 215 mm). many on letterhead with original mailing envelopes written from University of Arizona, New York and Amhers, circa 23 September 1985 to 12 November 1987 to his writing professor Richard Elman; few fold lines but generally excellent condition.
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Provenance

Alice Goode-Elman

Literature

See: Max, D.T. Every Love Story is a Ghost Story. New York: Viking, 2012

Catalogue Note

Wallace on publishing his first novel "The Broom in the System" and the grind of literary academia. Wallace biographer D.T.  Max describes Richard Elman as  "a novelist and writing teacher and the sort of older littérateur that the young Wallace was drawn to. He grazed broadly in the world of letters and knew everyone he grazed upon..." Indeed it seems that Wallace was particularly taken with soliciting Elman's opinion of his work from early in his enrollment at University of Arizona and repeatedly requested his blurb that Elman provided to grace the publication of his first book. Eventually as editor of The Sonora Review, Wallace enthusiastically accepts his mentors work, but perhaps of most note herein is presumably the earliest use of Wallace's most quoted "Every love story is a ghost story" that recurs in his other correspondence and in both "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" and "The Pale King."  Highlights include:

23 Sept [1985]: “…Having talked to some people in today’s classes, I think I owe you an apology if my arguing seemed nasty or impertinent…. some people thought I was being impertinent and a general prick…. I meant neither to fight you nor show you disrespect…. I can’t even usually get worked up enough to argue with someone unless I think I can learn from him… In the next two weeks or so I’d like to give you two pieces of short fiction for comments and criticism….” 30 December 1985:  “…the auction vis a vis the book closed on 18 December and that the novel, which is titled The Broom of the System, has been bought by Viking-Penguin for what seems to me like an obscene amount of money…. Mr. Howard, whose latest big project was Ironweed, seems really nice and smart and a good reader and also not a hard-ass in terms of making me toe his editorial lines or anything… May I ask Mr. Howard to send you a bound galley at some point for you to read and maybe even review or blurb?....” 21 February 1985:  “…I personally am having agent trouble: they’d agreed to handle short stuff for me when I signed with them on the book, but now they think the short material is too ‘unfinished’ (read lousy) to do anything but ‘possible damage to the career they’re trying so carefully to build for me’ Feh…” Sunday, Easter 1985:  “…The political shit is hitting the academic fan here at Deare Olde UA. First Mary was out on her shapely bottom, and Orlen is wriggling in her chair with the expression of a well-fed shark…. revelations of sexism toward faculty and students (some clearly hysterical, some troubling and hard to dismiss have been surfacing… will probably end up working in a MacDonald’s. I think a really good short could be written about fast food…” 11 April 1986:  Thanking Elman for his blurb “….honored by what you therein, especially as I suspect the novel is not apt to have been your ideal cup of fictional tea….  I was at a lovely wedding ceremony… musically accompanied by 2 Chilean radicales who holstered their Uzis long enough to salsa everybody right on their collective bottom…. ‘Every Love Story is a Ghost Story’ Virginia Woolf to Merv Griffin….” 15 May 1986:  “….trying to drink off an afternoon at Viking…. They made me fill out a biographical questionnaire…  I am shit-faced. This editor had three vodkas at lunch and you know how children like to imitate….” 6 June 1986:  “….I was in NYC when I wrote that brief and glandular letter from the bar (I’ve had a b-b-Wertherish thing for my old roommate’s sister ever since she moved from nymphet to nubile at Smith. Still no hands-on experience…” 15 July 1986:  “…Personally things aren’t going too well. There is a very good chance that my mother may be ill. Gale and I have pretty much broken up for good. I had a very unpleasant time with the galleys and am now rather convinced the book is not very good, though I am forced to countenance the fact that it is better than what I have been producing lately, which is pretty much nothing…” 23 August 1986:  “…. Gerry Howard is no hired pansy— he’s senior editor at Viking… He’s been a terrific help to me – about 10% of the original mss. was cut at his reasoned suggestion, and the book is better for it…  “First year of teaching here is a legendary bitch, and between those chores and some overly-ambitious registering for lit theory classes, I’m worried about having any real time or emotional energy left to devote to fiction….” 22 November 1986: “….there are tentative arrangements (very tentative, pending a meeting with a producer in San Francisco in December) to try and make a movie of the novel and have me write the screenplay…. I’ve been abusing drugs like a fiend and getting damn little writing done…” November 12 1987:  “…have discovered... a southern writer named cormac mccarthy, who’s something like faulkner on acid… I recommend…”

A wonderful record of Wallace at the beginning of his career.

Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana

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New York