April 23, 1949
It was wonderful to hear your voice on the telephone. You said that it made you want to write to me again, but you didn’t, so far—and I’m doing it, as usual.
Thanks for your letter. You were the only man in the world, except Frank, whose opinion was very important to me, so yours was the letter I was waiting for impatiently. It was wonderful that you recognized my style of writing in the picture. That’s why you’re the editor for me, and the only one, and will always remain that—because you are the only person who really understands my style and method of writing. I am glad that you saw all the problems involved in the adaptation and knew my reasons for the changes which I had to make, without changing the theme and essence of the story. It was a question of finding dramatic equivalents which would tell the same story as in the book, without sticking literally to every specific detail.
As I told you on the phone, we considered the possibility of having the judge at the trial comment on the question of “criminal intent,” but we were told by the lawyers we consulted that this would have been legally incorrect.
Nothing could make me happier than to hear you say that you are “more than ever eager to see the new Ayn Rand.” I love that expression. It’s more deeply true than just as a term in the publishing business. Ayn Rand, new or old, is her novels, and doesn’t want to be anything else. Well, the new Ayn Rand is growing wonderfully, and I am extremely happy with her. For a long time, Frank refused to agree with me that it is bigger in scope and scale than THE FOUNTAINHEAD—and he is the first person who hears every sequence as I write it. I read it to him from my longhand before I have it typed. Well, not long ago, he was so impressed with a sequence I read that he was literally shaking and he gave in and said it was bigger than THE FOUNTAINHEAD. By the way, he is a severe critic, and getting a compliment from him is like pulling a tooth. Wait till you
see the book. The chapters you have read have been rewritten and very much improved, and they are nothing anyway, compared to what follows. When I come to New York, I’ll bring everything written so far. No, I won’t have it finished yet, but I am approaching the end of Part I, which is the longer of the two. At present, the manuscript is 3 ½ inches thick and weighs 5 ¼ pounds—I have just measured it this minute. Don’t let it frighten you.
You ask: “If I should return to publishing in the fall, is there a possibility of your ever returning to me?” You know that only the restraint of a legal obligation—or your joining some publisher who’s impossible for me, such as Simon & Schuster—would prevent me from returning to you. If this is an asset to your reputation among publishers, please use it as such. You know what my commitment is in regard to the new novel. Bobbs-Merrill have the right of first submission on it, and I intend to play fair with them, but I am not at all sure that they will have the courage to offer me as much as I am objectively entitled to, and I will not sell the book for less than that. But please don’t join a house that has a lot of Pinks on its staff—because that would be asking for disaster for yourself and me, if I followed you. Also, I’d hate to go to any publisher who rejected THE FOUNTAINHEAD—but this point is open to discussion.
You know, of course, that I would love to see you return to publishing. I can’t attempt to give you advice about it, particularly from the financial angle involved, but I do know that you should return to publishing sooner or later, because you are being wasted in the movies. I grant you that most publishers aren’t much nowadays either, but that is precisely why you are needed in the profession. I think it is a question of your finding a position where you would really have a chance to do things your way, to publish the kind of books you like and to show the secondhanders in the business what a real editorial genius is. And I mean it, darling.
I am terribly impatient to see you this summer. Until then, best regards from both of us to both of you, and my love to you always,
P. S. Where is that photograph of you? I wanted it on my wall while I’m writing the new novel—and it looks like the whole novel will be finished before I get it.