In a recent letter, you suggested I should go into the matter of Duckworth now, instead of waiting until we come up.
Since I last wrote to you, something has happened which confirms the stop in my mind in regard to letting my book go out of print – as it would do if I left Duckworth for the sake of having a single chapter-volume produced more efficiently, & handled more efficiently than it would be if I stayed with him.
I must tell you that Knopf refused my last volume. Quite rightly, for the interval between it & the
last ‹previous one› was too long. Old readers have lost touch & new readers, since Knopf has let all the earlier volumes go out of print, would be at sea. Various other U.S.A. publishers would have taken the volume, but none would agree to start a fresh edition. Therefore I refused their offers. The only exception was Huebsch, who, just over a year ago, through the medium of an agent, put out feelers for all the books. I laboriously corrected a whole set for him. But, before they reached him, the slump
came & I have heard no more.
Last week, Duckworth received an offer from a man in New York who is convinced that a demand for my work still exists, & wants to handle Duckworth’s edition over there. Since such an arrangement would in no way interfere with my disposing of the U.S.A. rights to a publisher wishing to start a fresh edition, I have told Duckworth to go ahead. Therefore since Pilgrimage’s only chance of at all remaining in existence, both in England & in America, rests with Duckworth, I must remain with Duckworth.
I am sincerely grateful to you for your labours on my behalf, & for Kastein, (whose proofs will, I suppose, soon be ready – I’m snowed up at the moment with two editions of André Gide, the American is to be a most imposing book) from whom I grieve to hear that he is in Palestine only temporarily, or so I understand – I hope I am mistaken. In any case, if he does come back, he’ll be, wherever he is, a fragment of that land.
Adieu Kot, & au revoir