Hartford, Ct: April 1, 1884.
26 lines, in pencil, on both sides of a single sheet. 1 vols. 22.5 x 14 cm. (9 x 5-1⁄2 in.). Clemens Promises Chatto ‘Early Sheets’ of Huck Finn. Fine condition, in cloth folder Provenance: Paul Bonner (Sale in Feb, 15, 1934 lot 71); James S. Copley Library. Mark Twain Project ID UCCL 11941. For the publishing history, see Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (2003), eds. Fischer, Salamo & Blair, p. 740; BAL 3414, 3415; Walter Blair, Mark Twain and Huck Finn (1960). Item #255954
Important letter from Samuel Clemens to his British publisher Andrew Chatto at Chatto & Windus — two brief pages dense with early instructions regarding international aspects of the forthcoming publication of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Hartford Apl 1/84
Dear Mr. Chatto: Good — that settles Hughes! Now you can settle Tauchnitz — I enclose him. Chas L. Webster (my nephew by marriage and future publisher) will write to you about this time. I will send him your present letter so that he may take note of the early sheets suggestion. We can easily send the early sheets if we don't forget it, for we shall have this book in type & printed many months before we issue it. I shall secure Canadian copyright.
Chatto had begun corresponding with Clemens in March 1884 concerning Huckleberry Finn, and matters concerning translation and foreign publication, with a request for early sheets. William L. Hughes, in Paris proposed to put out French translations of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and Chatto had vouched for him. Twain also instructs Chatto to make arrangements with Tauchnitz, the famed Leipzig publisher of continental editions of English-language authors, for an authorized edition. The letter also introduces his nephew Charles L. Webster to Chatto. “Charley”, as Clemens called him, undertook the logistical work connected with publication of Huck Finn.
Chatto had requested early proof sheets so that he could begin typesetting, with the aim of publishing British editions simultaneously with the New York edition. “Charley” did not forget, and “advance sheets” were sent to Chatto by Webster on 19 September 1884. It was only in November, when the defaced plate was discovered, that the intended publication schedule came apart. The Chatto & Windus edition (London) and Dawson Brothers (Montreal) edition were published on 10 December as foreseen. Clemens was in Toronto on publication day to establish legal domicile for these editions and Webster applied for foreign copyright in the author’s name. The Tauchnitz (Leipzig) edition was published in printed wrappers dated January 1885. Production issues connected with replacing the offending page resulted in publication of the Charles L. Webster (New York) edition being delayed until 18 February 1885.
This is one of only two known letters from Clemens to Chatto discussing Huck Finn (a note dated 3 March 1884 informed Chatto that “I am keeping Huck Finn back till next fall”). Webster, as Clemens’ publisher, handled subsequent correspondence (transcripts of several related letters accompany this letter). This letter serves to indicate that Clemens’ intention, from the beginning, was for the British edition to be derived from the American printing of the book.
Price: $16,000.00 Free International Delivery