"Writing process, 'Prelude', 'Peter Halket', you can't alter the pictures as they come to you" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/OliveSchreinerUncatLetters/OS-TFisherUnwin/20
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date26 September 1892
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToT. Fisher Unwin
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 209; Rive 1987: 209
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections.
1^Carefully make a copy of my ?picture likeness^
4Cape Town
5South Africa
7Address to -
9Sep 26 / 92
11Dear Mr Unwin
13I enclose the receipt with thanks. I should have sent it sooner but
14have been laid up for two months with measels, & its after effects.
16// I hope you did not feel pained by my asking for the details, &
17telling you I wanted to put my business concerns in the hands of a
18compitent manager. It is because even writing a business note like
19this, worries & troubles me & I want to put all my money concerns
20large & small ^into^ the hands of those more fond of business than
21myself. This was my reason. I think you are one of the most reliable
22square men I have
men I have had to deal with.
24Now to Business
261st) I’ve had no copies of the cheap edition sent me. Have not yet
27seen one.
292) I don’t think you did right in publishing the cheap edition: the
30right to determine the price as well as whether more copies shall be
31printed at all, rests with me: but I am quite sure you did what you
32thought best for me as well as yourself
343) I insisted on an African Farm being published at 1/- (one shilling)
35because the book was published by me for working men. I wanted to feel
36sure poor boys like Waldo could buy a copy, & feel they were not alone.
38I have again, last year, at the request of my publisher, allowed it to
39be printed at 3/6 as I felt sure most poor lads would have it within
424) Dreams is not published by me with the special intention of
43reaching the poor. I would prefer the rich to have it. If I dedicated
44it to the public for whom I intended it, I should dedicate it (“To
45all Capitalists Millionaires & Middle-men – in England & America, &
46all high & mighty persons”)
48It is a book which will always have its own publice of cultured
49persons who will have it at any price. It will probably be a far more
50valuable property in 15 or 20 years than it is at present; as the
51younger generation grows up & the older dies out.
53I feel this with regard to all my books: therefore except for a very
54large lump sum, I will never see the copy-right, nor any right except
55that of printing them during my pleasure. The sale of An African Farm
56has steadily gone up for ni ten years. I have never received so much
57from its sale as during the last twelve months.
59Yours faithfully
60Olive Schreiner
62^Letter no 2^
63This is pure business & like all business horrible
The final insertion is written so that, when the paper folded, it appears as the front of this letter. The photograph referred to in the deletion was to appear in Dreams. Rive's (1987) version omits part of the letter and is in a number of other respects incorrect. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.