"WE ARE ALL NATURALLY VERY ANXIOUS TO PUBLISH YOUR FATHER'S NEXT BOOK": THREE TYPED LETTERS SIGNED FROM LEONARD WOOLF TO SIGMUND FREUD'S SON, CONCERNING THE PUBLICATION OF FREUD'S LAST GREAT WORK, MOSES AND MONOTHEISM
WOOLF, Leonard. Three typed letter signed. London, August 17, 1938. Three sheets, each measuring 8 by 10 inches, typed and signed on the rectos. $9500.
Three typed letters signed by Leonard Woolf as head of the Hogarth Press to Sigmund Freud's son Martin concerning the publication of Freud's last major work, Moses and Monotheism.
The connection between the Hogarth Press and Freud was longstanding by the time of these letters; through a relationship with the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, Hogarth became Freud's primary English publisher in 1924. Their first full-fledged Freud publication, his Collected Papers, became, "to Leonard [Woolf]'s delight… one of Hogarth's most successful issues" (Willis, Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers, 301). The rise of Nazism forced the Freud family to flee Austria in 1938, with Freud himself finally arriving in London on June 6 (only four weeks before these letters). By this point, Freud was ill with cancer, and working on revising what was to be his last major work, Moses and Monotheism. Freud had long since abandoned dealing with the details of publishing his work, leaving that to be worked out by his son Martin and his close friend and associate Ernest Jones, the first English practitioner of psychoanalysis. Moses and Monotheism was published in March 1939, only six months before Freud's death on September 23, 1939.
The first letter, on Hogarth Press stationery, reads in full: "Dr Martin Freud, Flat 654 Mount Royal Marble Arch, W.1. 21 July, 1938. Dear Dr Martin Freud, FREUD: Moses. I have been able to discuss the matter with Dr Ernest Jones and other members of the Institute. We are all naturally very anxious to publish your fathers' next book if that can be arranged satisfactorily to you. We can now make an offer to you that we publish the book in conjunction with the Institute, though the first edition, at any rate, would not be published in the Psycho-analytical Library. We would pay an advance of £450 on account of royalties, the royalties being 15% on the first 2500 copies and 20% on all copies sold above that number. I can presume that you would deal with the American rights yourself, though we can, if you like, deal with them on the usual 10% commission basis. I may say that W W Norton have written to me enquiring about this book. If you agree to this proposal, could you give me any idea when the book may be ready? With kind regards to yourself and to your father. Yours sincerely [signed] Leonard Woolf." The second letter, dated two weeks later on August 4 and also signed, notes that "I enclose a cheque for £450, being advance on account of royalties due to your father on account of the above book." The third signed letter, dated August 17, notes "I am extremely sorry not to be able to comply with your request about the Canadian rights. Canada is a part of the British Empire and not of the U.S.A. and the Canadian rights do not therefore form part of the U.S.A. rights. We never sign an agreement excluding Canadian rights and we should get into great trouble with our Canadian agent if we did so, for he has the right to sell in Canada all books published by us. Knopf knows this perfectly well."
Expected fold lines. Fine condition.