Revelator wrote: superado wrote:
Thanks for posting, Revelator. In short of your wish for expert analysis (a personal desire I share for all of us who are intrigued by the Amis TMWTGG conundrum), do you think this specific typescript + Flemings handwritten corrections = the final, published version of TMWTGG? By “stake in the heart,” it sounds conclusive but I would love to one day see even a summary from an authoritative analysis of the manuscript.
I cannot be 100% certain, but I am 99% certain this was the final version of the book. The Sotheby's description also supports this:
noted as the setting copy, autograph revisions in blue ink to about 80 pages, notably the addition two sentences at the end of the novel, and extensive editorial corrections in red, green and black ink, including some further revisions probably added from another typescript, 182 numbered pages, with an additional five pages of preliminaries (half-title, title page, list of Fleming's other books, imprint, and contents page), one leaf cancelled and with the revised text supplied in contemporary photocopy, 4to (255 x 200 mm), June-July 1964, with a single typescript page of suggested corrections by Kingsley Amis that were later adopted in proof, the first page of text with a note from the printer, Richard Clay & Co., requesting the return of marked proofs by 29 December 1964, loose in a red folder; staining to some leaves, some creasing, final leaf torn without loss
Even if this typescript was not the final version (and the description suggests the publishers thought it was) it was close enough--the sample pages show that Fleming had written a complete draft whose text, alongside his handwritten corrections, matches the final published text. I think that is the clincher. All Amis could have contributed were notes and suggestions--no massive changes.
I agree, a closer reading of the auction notes details the likely sequence of events in Fleming’s specific revisions to TMWTGG; it’s noteworthy in appropriately documenting how this process differed from Fleming’s established routine that some other authoritative references also detail while some others merely gloss over.
Nonetheless, I still think a decent literary and textual analysis by capable scholars would finally decide on this issue about the extent of Amis’ involvement and if we are to be intellectually honest, we should not just default to their conclusions because we do not know which points are mere assumptions based on “common knowledge.” To note, we the public have only this small sample and whatever the auction’s expert has to say on the issue.
Why does it matter? Again, as we know ad nauseam, it’s the extraordinary circumstances of the book’s writing and the “contamination” of Amis’ involvement, who at the time was a published author who would shortly include to his credit two works related to James Bond, a phenomenon that never happened with Fleming’s other books.
In terms of likelihood, I grant that the merits of this manuscript can potentially rule out the Amis ghost writing theory. However, here's a litmus test; before having compelling documentation like this, what was the basis of one's conclusion on the matter in light of the unique circumstances I mentioned? With data like this typescript, a good conclusion at least wouldn’t be based on a fan’s romanticize ideal about Fleming, or an antagonistically dogmatic conclusion like Dustin’s, the charming Lord Farquaad of the commanderbond.net forums.
"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....