To Jean Wick [Letter 8]

Item Reference Code: 077_12A_011_001

Date(s) of creation

June 19, 1934


Jean Wick


1750 North Serrano Avenue,
Hollywood, California.

June 19, 1934.

Dear Miss Wick,

Mr. Morris has received a letter from Mr. Mencken [H. L. Mencken, editor of American Mercury magazine] in regard to my book “AIRTIGHT”. I am quoting from this letter: “I agree with you thoroughly that it is a really excellent piece of work, and I see no reason whatever why it shouldn’t find a publisher readily. The only objection to it, of course, is the fact that it is anti-Communist in tone. Most of the American publishers who print Russian stuff lean toward the Trotskys. However, that is an objection that is certainly not insuperable.”

In view of this, Mrs. Morris has suggested that we try to submit the novel to Dutton, for they have just published a non-fiction book entitled “Escape from the Soviets”, which is violently anti-Soviet and, from what I hear, a great bestseller. Evidently, Dutton are not pro-Communist and I am very happy to know that neither is the American public, and therefore an anti-Soviet book has a chance of success.

In his letter, Mr. Mencken has offered to send the book to any other publisher we name, if Knopf have not taken it, and Mrs. Morris has written to him, suggesting Dutton. If it is convenient for you, you may get in touch with him about this.

I have been waiting to hear about Knopf’s decision and, if they have rejected the book, I will appreciate it if you would let me know the reasons they gave.

I realize that we have to take into consideration the publishers’ political views when submitting the book. But, if Mr. Mencken is right and the political angle is the only one that stands in the way of a sale, I certainly refuse to believe that America has nothing but Communist-minded publishers. I will appreciate it if you will let me know the reactions to the book from this angle.

If it is not imposing on your time, and I realize that you are very busy, I would also appreciate a few lines about your opinion of the second half and the book as a whole, for I have not heard it yet and I am quite naturally interested to know it.

With best personal wishes,

Sincerely yours,