The Middle of the Journey.New York: Viking Press, 1947 Stock Code: 110965
"Controversial, yes: significant, I suppose so: but o so very dim a light" - Roger Senhouse's copyFirst edition, first printing. Roger Senhouse's copy, sent to him by literary agents Pearn, Pollinger & Higham for the preparation of the first UK edition, published by Secker and Warburg the following year, and containing an illuminating collection of ephemera and correspondence exchanged between Senhouse, Frederic Warburg, Trilling, and critic Cyril Connolly over a period of two years, tracing the novel's UK publication from Senhouse's assessment of Trilling's capabilities to its eventual success.
The Middle of the Journey, a roman-à-clef of the McCarthyist era in American politics, was Trilling's first and only novel. As professor of English at Columbia University, New York, he had already published two books of criticism, on Matthew Arnold and E. M. Forster, and a number of short stories. Roger Senhouse and Fredric Warburg established Secker and Warburg when they assumed control of failing Secker in 1935. They soon became known as "the Trotskyist publishers" owing to their willingness to publish anti-Communist works by left-wing authors. As a young man Senhouse had notably been the last lover of Lytton Strachey: the sadomasochistic nature of their relationship was revealed with the publication of their letters in 2005. Cyril Connolly was close friends with Senhouse and responsible for arguably his greatest success as a publisher, suggesting to George Orwell that he try Secker and Warburg after the author had parted company with Communist-sympathiser Victor Gollancz following the publication of The Road to Wigan Pier (1937).
The laid-in material includes two typed letters from each of Trilling (both signed) and Connolly (one signed), various documents annotated extensively by Senhouse, as well as two further letters from him to Trilling (both signed). Those involved in the novel's publication consistently express concerns over Trilling's style and characterisation, though appear to have been divided over the appeal of its political message. Connolly and an unnamed reviewer both identify the influence of E. M. Forster. Senhouse's own letters refer to his continuing friendship with Lytton Strachey's sister Dorothy Bussy, and also to the postwar recession in British publishing that would lead to the absorption of Secker and Warburg into Heinemann in 1951. A full catalogue of contents is available on request.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, spine lettered in yellow, pictorial vignette in blind to front board. With dust jacket.
10 items laid-in, most folded and with light toning, some with mild rust-marking from staples, in very good condition overall: contents detailed below. Agent's ink-stamp to front free endpaper. Sunned along extremities, tips very lightly bumped, a few pale markings to boards, free endpapers tanned. A very good copy in the slightly rubbed and nicked dust jacket.
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