Letter 086

To Archibald Ogden

Ridgefield, Conn.

July 29, 1943 

Dear Archie: 

(also, dear Walter, dear Ross, dear Jo, dear Janet and dear everybody else!) 

This is what happens when you give an author such a shock as the ad in last Monday’s Times. You can’t spring such surprises on authors—their morale goes to pieces. The ad is grand (it’s the size that stunned me), and Bobbs-Merrill are a wonderful publishing house, and I love you all. 

I don’t know which way one gets more out of publishers—by being a holy Russian terror or a happy Pollyanna, but at the present moment I’m not thinking of proper diplomacy[.] I’m just simply happy and grateful to all of you, and I hope this idyll will last for both sides. 

Seriously, I think the ad was excellent, wording and all, even the nude statue. (Third big printing, huh? Well, it looked grand in print anyway.) Also, the proof of the new jacket you sent me has my approval, compliments and thanks. I could have wished not to burden a clean book like ours with quotes from someone as dirty as Albert Guerard,[*] but I suppose it doesn’t matter and I know you wanted three important rags to quote. The heading you wrote redeems the rest and does tie it into a good whole. Didn’t I say that whenever you put out any copy about this book it is always right? Thank you once more.

If you write to Gwen Davenport, please give her my deepest thanks for her missionary work in Louisville. She must be awfully good and effective. 

I am having a grand time here [in Ridgefield, Connecticut, visiting Isabel Paterson], as you can see by the tone of this letter. I’m turning into a humanitarian and loving the world. That’s a natural result of doing nothing but loafing. Will be back in the city some time next week and will bring along a nice suntan and some of this mood (I hope). Until then, my collective love to the whole of Bobbs-Merrill—

and to you individually—

P.S. This letter is to remain in force up to, but not including the next time I get mad at Bobbs-Merrill. 

 __________________________________________

* In his May 20, 1943, review in the New York Herald-Tribune Weekly Book Review, Harvard English professor Guerard had some praise for the novel but thought Peter Keating was “utterly selfish,” complained that AR’s characters weren’t “human” and concluded that she was a proponent of Nietzschean supermen. It was a review that, AR later said, she “disliked most, morally.”