A NOTE ON THE BUCCANEERS

THE remarkable novel here submitted to the public is neither complete nor finished in all its parts. There are some parts so characteristically achieved that I am confident Mrs. Wharton would never have retouched them. Others again are evidently either provisional or at most just blocked in; and this is as you would expect, for the novel had been growing in her mind for a number of years before she ever wrote a word of it. After it was actually begun she laid it aside, sometimes for long periods, in consequence of illness or chance interruptions and when at last she returned to it strength failed her to set down what her unimpaired inspiration and skill continued to supply. Thus the problem presented to her literary executor to whom she had explicitly given discretion to publish or withhold any of her inedited writing was an extremely embarrassing one. Clearly The Buccaneers comprised some work as good as any she had ever done and some that she would never have allowed to appear as it stood. I had read most of what is given here, but only piecemeal and at intervals of time, and therefore when after her death the manuscript and the annexed responsibility came to me, my first care was to read it straight through and to beg three of her friends, to whom she had also been in the habit of showing her work while it was in progress, to do the same. We reached our conclusion independently and it was unanimous in favour of publication. I could not, however, accept the responsibility entailed without making clear in deference to the memory of one of the most fastidious literary artists of our time and to her numerous critical and discriminating readers my reasons for doing so. It was not

-360-

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The Buccaneers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Book I 1
  • II 15
  • III 24
  • IV 37
  • V 47
  • VI 62
  • VII 75
  • Book II 93
  • VIII 95
  • IX 106
  • X 119
  • XI 130
  • XII 142
  • XIII 155
  • XIV 167
  • XV 177
  • XVI 188
  • XVII 211
  • XVIII 229
  • Book III 237
  • XX 249
  • XXI 264
  • XXII 275
  • XXIII 288
  • XXIV 297
  • XXV 308
  • XXVI 322
  • XXVII 332
  • XXIX 351
  • A Note on the Buccaneers 360
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