Oct 29, 2009 - Sale 2192

Sale 2192 - Lot 210

Price Realized: $ 3,840
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
"I COULD WRITE A VERY RESPECTABLE HANDBOOK ON BEING A NEGRO" BALDWIN, JAMES. Typed Letter Signed, "Jimmy," with 3 holograph corrections, to editor Samuel L. Blumenfeld ("Dear Sam"), reporting that he is eating more regularly and expecting money from Knopf, complaining that the book [Go Tell It on the Mountain] was not properly advertised, expressing interest in working on a "primer" in the form of a letter to his brother, explaining why he would not want to write the letter to a hypothetical son, worrying about the conflicts that the primer might cause with Knopf's contract with him, stating that he could not begin the work immediately because he is finishing his play and intends to work on a novel draft, and, in a typed postscript: "Am not drinking any more than I normally do and you know that I stand my liquor better than most people stand their lives." 2 pages, 4to, written on one side of each sheet; folds. [Paris, 29 October 1953]
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Additional Details

". . . I'm eating more reguarly than I was . . . . My statement from Knopf is due any day now and--God knows how---they actually owe me a little money.
"I do not understand at all why the book, considering the press it recieved [sic], wasn't more ambitiously advertised and intend to take the question up with Knopf when I come home. . . .
"I'm very interested in the idea of a primer. It ties in with something I was doing anyway. But I would rath ...
". . . I'm eating more reguarly than I was . . . . My statement from Knopf is due any day now and--God knows how---they actually owe me a little money.
"I do not understand at all why the book, considering the press it recieved [sic], wasn't more ambitiously advertised and intend to take the question up with Knopf when I come home. . . .
"I'm very interested in the idea of a primer. It ties in with something I was doing anyway. But I would rather recast it in the form of a letter to my younger brother, David, whose future concerns me very much, and whom I love. I am not a father and rather balk at the idea of writing a letter to a hypothetical son for I suspect that it would imprison rather than free my imagination . . . . I have a rather special relationship to David for . . . I remember taking care of David, changing his diapers and helping him to walk. . . . What all this means is, my brother actually means something to me and with him in mind I think I could write a very respectable handbook on being a Negro in the States. . . .
"I'm just finishing my play and then intend to rush through a draft of my novel. So I won't be able to begin work on the primer . . . before the beginning of the year.
"Still--I'm really very interested, partly because I'd like to do it and will eventually do something like that anyway and also because I could use the money. . . ."