Academic journal article The Conradian : the Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.)

Conrad and the Garlands: An Unpublished Letter of 1922

Academic journal article The Conradian : the Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.)

Conrad and the Garlands: An Unpublished Letter of 1922

Article excerpt

ON 29 JULY 1 922, the Conrads received a visit from (Hannibal) Hamlin Garland, a successful American writer, now mainly remembered as a regionalist, who had begun a tour of England the previous month to gather material for his popular speaking tours.1 Twenty-five years earlier, Garland had been introduced to Conrad's work by Stephen Crane, and it was partly with the intention of gaining firsthand information about the latter's private life, which had become the subject of a quarrel between rival biographers, that he sought out Conrad.

With Garland at this meeting, the first of several between the two authors, who became friendly with one another, was his eldest daughter, Mary Isabel (1 903-88) .2 A "recitationist" and actress, she evidently charmed her hosts. "We are hoping soon to hear of your daughter's success," Jessie Conrad subsequendy wrote to Garland (cited in Knowles and Stape 2006: 78).

A month after her visit to Oswalds, Conrad sent Mary Isabel a signed photograph of himself by Malcolm Arbuthnot. Separated from the photograph, which is preserved in the Hamlin Garland Collection at the Doheny Memorial Library of the University of Southern California, Conrad's accompanying letter was first announced for sale by Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc., of Short Hills, New Jersey, for $,1250, and then subsequendy advertised in May 2008 on the on-line auction house eBay, where it was purchased for $1,400 by Rick Gekoski, Bookseller, London, for a private collector.

The letter is printed here following the conventions of The Collected letters of Joseph Conrad:

To Mary Isabel Garland

Text MS Private; Unpublished

[letterhead: Oswalds]

20.8.22.

Dear Miss Garland. …

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