Feb 17, 2022 - Sale 2595

Sale 2595 - Lot 117

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
"THERE SHOULD BE A GOOD KILLING IN EVERY HIGH CALIBRE LITERARY NOVEL" O'CONNOR, FLANNERY. Two Typed Letters Signed, "Flannery," to Robie Macauley ("Dear Robie"). The first, joking about birds in literature including thoughts of having her character Hazel Wickers [from Wise Blood (1952)] slaughter some swans, conveying news about writer Henry Messick, joking about Iowan writer Paul Engle and Iowa politics, expressing interest in [teaching at] Bard College, looking forward to reading his new stories, joking about Enoch Emery [also from Wise Blood], relating that Engle invited her to send the novel [Wise Blood] so that he could pitch it to Random House, and mentioning the possibility of a Guggenheim fellowship [for which she was recommended by Engle; it was not awarded to her]. Together 2 1/4 pages, 4to, written on three sheets; folds." "Yaddo" [Saratoga Springs, NY], 17 October 1948; 25 January 1949

Additional Details

17 October 1948: "I can easily see why you killed the swans and let me say that when they get you for it, no one will come more quickly to your defence than I. In fact, I am now thinking about having Hazel Wickers kill some swans. I believe there should be a good killing in every high calibre literary novel and ever since his business with the owl, he has been shaky on birds. I had a party in the book but I took it out because I thought Edith Wharton and John O'Hara might want things to themselves, but I see no reason why I shouldn't have some swans. When I get to be an Assistant Professor, I will give a course in the Swan Novel, which will include all novels with swans in them; if the class is small, I can . . . include novels with ducks, geese, or gulls. But if you are writing your novel and want to be taught in this class, you had better put a swan in it, because I expect the class will be large.
". . . When [Iowa] Governor Blue asked you where the ladies' room was, you told him and thereby committed yourself to a certain interest in Iowa politics. Also, knowing Paul Engle you are well acquainted with the Iowa Farmer. You could make up what you lack in love, with earnestness.
"I had decided myself that the Iowa Farmer was out of his head by a postcard he sent me. He is recommending me for a Guggenheim, which gesture I appreciate. The postcard . . . also said, in soggy pentameter, how for three years I had lived on Iowa corn and look how I had grown. If I didn't appreciate his occasional spurts of energy in my behalf, I could hit him with several ugly images. I don't think I will ever be back at Iowa.
". . . My Parent as you may imagine took a grim view of my return to Yaddo. Old ladies who have watered in Saratoga have brought back pieces of information which she has collected and pieced together into a picture representing the evils which surround me. The picture was very pale and I kindly colored it for her, which was a grave mistake. . . .
". . . Yaddo is much pleasanter in the fall than summer. Pretty soon there will only be three of us here besides Elizabeth. Keep me informed about the stuff there on which I grew for three years. I think I am going to dedicate my book to Purina Scratch Feed."
25 January 1949: "This is to wish you and Anne some graciousness for the season. I suppose I mean the Lenten season. I didn't go home for Christmas. I stayed here. This was my first Christmas away from the birds and the kin and the flowers and I liked it fine. . . .
"I had a letter from Engle before Christmas suggesting I send him my novel if Rinehart didn't want it and let him send it to Random House with a bunch of others for some vague deal or other he is trying to cook up with them (tone my own). Do you know anything about this, such as, is there any money in it? I can't complain about his behaviour anymore as he wrote me a nice exaggerated letter for Mr. Moe of the Guggenheim Thing. I understand it takes ten years to get a Guggenheim so I am starting while a child. . . . Anyway, I have declined to be more trusting in the Lord and not apply for any teaching job next year. I hanker in my prayers for Grace and either an advance from the Brothers Rinehart or an extension from the Executive Director of this place; but I may just get the Grace. . . ."