TTHC  391: Manuscript received at SMLA Oct/Nov 1960

1st Edition:


{For the best bibliographic info in French goto: Thanks for the cover pix, Gilles}

TTHC    363:   {...} Dick's reply to Dimoff evades her points neatly, and between the lines he stated his own ideas about what he wanted to write. Going through each of his novels Dimoff had read, he commented on them, emphasizing in each case their incorrigable bitterness. There was one exception, A TIME FOR GEORGE STAVROS. In that book alone Dimoff saw a novel that didn't "taper off toward the end." It is this novel that Dick now proposed to rewrite. He would rework it, he wrote her, to supply a character "with whom 'the reader can identify.'"

    Harcourt, Brace told him to go ahead. He did, and in a few months produced one of his gloomiest books, HUMPTY DUMPTY IN OAKLAND, a book with no readily   "identifiable" characters at all. The novel reached Harcourt, Brace in October 1960. This time they took three months to think it over before rejecting it. Wickenden did the honors:

    One is left asking, at the end, what the book has really been about, what the author is trying to do and say in it. As with earlier Dick novels, it simply doesn't add up to enough."19

    Dick was given eighteen months to return the $500 advance.20  Wickenden commented in passing that HUMPTY DUMPTY IN OAKLAND as delivered was "quite different from the outline" they'd seen. And this is true: HUMPTY DUMPTY is a lot closer to what we know   of GEORGE STAVROS than the new novel he had spit-balled in his letter to Dimoff. Anne, who read both, characterizes HUMPTY DUMPTY  as "probably 95% the earlier novel."{...}

{...} For most of its way HUMPTY DUMPTY follows the same plot line as STAVROS with the important exception that Stavros' home life is completely changed yet again. Stavros, no longer Greek, is now named Jim Fergesson. his wife Lydia now does love him, though fussily: she is Greek, a thickly accented, middle aged "professional student." They have no children. Lydia continually chastises her husband for his materialist attitudes, for his pessimism, and for his tolerance of the book's other major character, Al Miller. {...}

{fn19:   <Don Wickenden, 1-30-61
{fn20:    Russ Galen doesn't believe that Dick had to return the money, as "it was an option and not returnable. I'm quite sure it wasn't repaid."}


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