36 East 36th St.
New York, 16, N. Y.
December 23, 1952.
Mr. J. H. Gipson
The Caxton Printers, Ltd.
Dear Mr. Gipson:
Thank you for the advertising material on ANTHEM which you sent me. I am enclosing copies of it, which I have revised and retyped, and am also returning your original copies, so that you may see what particular changes I have made.
I have attempted to follow the form of the original material, but to stress the positive theme of Individualism, rather than the negative aspect of an [exposé] of the Collectivist State. This last might give readers the impression that ANTHEM is merely another sordid story on the order of Orwell’s 1984 (which, incidentally, was written many years after ANTHEM had been published in England).
As you will note, the second and the fifth pages of your copy contain approximately the same material, the second being marked “Circular Copy” and the fifth “Jacket Copy.” I have rewritten this material and marked it for both types of copy, not being certain for which it was intended. Personally, I would like to see it used for both. I am not certain whether the space on the back jacket will permit you to use both this copy and the biographical note about me—but, if so, then I would prefer that you use the copy about the story and omit the copy about me. I have always felt that information about the story is more important than information about the author (though I do thank you most sincerely for the last line of your biographical note).
I have rewritten the copy about the story because I felt that it was both too detailed and too confused, and that it suggested the tone of a non-fiction political treatise. I can’t say that I blame the young man who wrote it, however—it was a terribly difficult job to do, even for me.
You will note that I have included in this copy a brief mention of the publishing history of ANTHEM. I consider it most essential that we do not mislead the public and do not give the impression that ANTHEM is a new novel by me, written later than THE FOUNTAINHEAD. It is essential that all our publicity mention the fact that this is a new edition, not a new work.
In this connection, we should entitle the foreword by Leonard E. Read as follows: “PUBLISHER’S FOREWORD TO THE PAMPHLETEERS’ EDITION OF ANTHEM.” This will clarify the content of the two forewords, and help to keep the book’s history straight.
As a small publicity suggestion, I would not feature the description “tender and terrific” out of the context of Ruth Alexander’s review. It is good and impressive in the review, but not right when given without quotes (ANTHEM is anything but tender).
Under separate cover, I am returning the sketch of the jacket design. It is excellent and I like it very much for its dignified simplicity. The only suggestion I would make here is that the color yellow tends to give the lettering a faded, “yellowed” look. A pale green or blue-green would be infinitely better. Yellow and black is a bad combination, it suggests lifelessness.
Please excuse my delay in attending to the publicity copy. I will not hold you up on the galley proofs, when the time comes—I do not mind making corrections, but it was the rewriting that was difficult for me right now, as I am in the midst of the last chapters of my new novel and it was hard to switch my mind from one story to the other (this is an apology, not a complaint).
Thank you very much for the excerpts which you sent me from Ruth Alexander’s column on ANTHEM and from the INDIA INTERNATIONAL review. If this does not entail too much trouble, could I ask your publicity department to send me the full texts of both? I would be curious to read them.
With my best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year,
P. S. Will you give me a rain check on my opinion of Mr. Garrett’s monographs, as mentioned in your letter of
October 17? I have read the first of them, but will not be able to read the two others until after I finish my new novel—and the job of expressing a political judgment is more serious to me and has to be worded more carefully than the job of writing a legal document, a task which I am totally unable to do at present. If it is not too late by the time I am free again, I will be glad to do it.