To Fred Dickenson [Letter 175]

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Date(s) of creation

November 29, 1945


Fred Dickenson


November 29, 1945

Dear Mr. Dickenson:

Well, here are your final chapters—with my compliments and thanks. You’ve done a swell job on an incredibly difficult undertaking—so pin a little medal on yourself from at least one grateful author.

The last chapters were very good—I’ve made no changes in the choice of incidents, only in some of the details. The courtroom chapter (28) is practically untouched, but I retyped it along with the rest, since you probably need the extra copies.

Would you do me a favor and watch one small detail for me? In Roark’s speech (second page of chapter 28) there is an important sentence: “Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.” In your copy it was typed as: “setting men free from men,” which blasts the whole meaning of the sentence to pieces. That’s a very natural typographical error that can easily occur. Would you make a note of it and check the proofs to be sure that the typesetter doesn’t make the same error and that the sentence appears correctly? The first word must be “man” and the second “men.” It’s one of those small but crucial things where one letter can break an author’s heart. I love that sentence.

Would you ask Mr. Godwin to use, for the last illustration, the last sentence of our copy?[*] That is—just the figure of Roark against the sky. I would like so much to see it ended that way.

Thank you for the completed proofs of the first week, which I have just received. The drawings are fine—and I was very pleased with the looks of the whole thing as set up. Please do send me further proofs as they come out—I’m looking forward to seeing them with real pleasure.

With my best regards and thanks,



*Frank Godwin (1889–1959), was a well-known illustrator and comic strip artist who did illustrations for editions of many classic novels.