[C. L. Graves and Punch editor E. V. Knox.] Autograph Letter Signed from 'C L. G.' to 'Evoe', discussing in detail questions relating to his planned history of Punch, with long autograph 'Notes on your Memorandum'.

C. L. Graves [Charles Larcom Graves (1856-1944), assistant-editor of Punch and the Spectator, uncle of poet Robert Graves [E. V. Knox [Edmund George Valpy Knox] (1881-1971, 'Evoe'), editor of Punch]
Publication details: 
Letter on letterhead of Kent Lodge, Westgate-on-Sea, Thanet. 30 May 1938. Memorandum undated.
SKU: 23233

For information on Graves see the generous obituary of him in The Times, 18 April 1944. Both items in fair condition, lightly aged and worn, with minor staining from paperclip to first leaf of letter. The work was not published, and although Graves states in Item One that the greater part of the text is 'in the hands of my typist', there is no record of its survival, or of the thousand related documents he states were sent to him by M. H. Spielmann. ONE: ALS from 'C L. G.' to 'Dear Evoe'. 4pp., landscape 8vo. Having sent Knox a typescript of the first part of his book, Graves begins on the subject of Knox's memorandum, saying that he is 'sending in a separate envelope my notes on your questions and very helpful suggestions arising out of the first instalment'. He explains that he has been asked 'to undertake the book' by 'Phil', who 'made it clear that it should consist of only one volume' With reference to M. H. Spielmann's 'History of Punch', Graves reports that 'Phil' found that 'Spielmann's idea of incorporating in the work his own volume in a revised form was quite impracticable. Speilmann acquiesced and very handsomely handed over his book to be condensed in the introductory part of the new book, subject of course to due acknowledgment.' Spielmann has sent Graves 'an enormous quantity of material, which he has collected since his history of Punch was published in 1895, for a second edition of it. These have been arriving at intervals during the last few months and I calculate that they run to at least a 1000 documents, letters, newspaper cuttings, articles &c'. Having felt 'bound to go through them', Graves is 'at last emerging from the wilderness, having made extracts from and notes on the very small proportion that was of any real value.' The correspondence includes 'some letters from Burnand Furniss and that old bore Arthur-à-Beckett', but is 'mostly of an intimate and controversial character & quite unsuitable'. He praises Spielmann's 'instudstry ( 'No contributor to Punch however insignificant has escaped his notice'), but considers that, being a literary critic, he 'leaves much to be desired, giving as an example his 'admiration for Clement Scott's verses(!)'. Graves also feels that Spielmann's 'loyalty to his race has not unnaturally affected his judgment in dealing with Punch's attitude towards Jews'. Graves has nevertheless found 'a small residuum of interesting new matter, notably about Charles Keene ad his relation with Edward FitzGerald, and letters from Ansty Guthrie on his authors'.These matters have a bearing on Graves's 'primary preoccupation': 'the condensation of the work into one volume of normal size'. The book 'ought not to run to much more than 100,000 words', but 'drastic revision will be necessary', as he has 'already written nearly that on the period down to 1920', 'it is really a rather appalling job, but if my health remains as good as at present, I do not despair of bringing the record more or less up to date by the end of the year.' At Graves's age (81 or 82) 'one can't look far ahead'. He explains his 'scheme': 'to treat the progress of Punch in sections. The first deals with the Jerroldian régime – democratic and humanitarian, the second with Punch's gradual move to the Right, while remaining a Reformer and an advocate of non-intervention. The third covers the long duel between Gladstone and Dizzy, Dizzy's imperial policy and his decline. The fourth covers the Victorian climax, culminating in the pageantry of the Jubilee of 1887, and the fifth treats of the passing of the Old Order and events which led up to the Great War.' He has written a shorter section on 'Punch in War Time, and there remains the Epilogue, or whatever it shall be called, on the aftermath of the Versailles Conference'. Each section 'opens with a review of High Politics as they are dealt with by Punch, and contains chapters on the other activities and interests, manners, fashions, art and sport &c.' He concludes the letter with a justification of his 'method', despite its 'drawbacks'. He hopes to 'send in the sections down to the end of the War by the end of the month; they are now in the hands of my typist'. TWO: 5pp, 8vo. Headed 'Notes on your Memorandum. | When you have found time to read them, would you kindly return them, as there are some passages that I may possibly want to refer to.' A closely-written draft, with deletions and emendations. Graves responds to comments by Knox on the first 87pp. of typescript of the work, with subjects including: Mark Lemon; the first Almanac; the Mark Twain dinner; Punch's attitude to 'Dizzy' ('Punch did not love Jews, but he was never an anti-Semite. Spielmann misrepresents him in this matter, and disregards Punch's consistent support, in its final stages, of the Jewish Disabilities Removal Bill.'); Punch a London paper; the Prince Consort; attacks on Foreign Sovereigns; the change of opinion in the Jerrold family; Thackeray and his political opinions; Leech's picture of “The Great Social Evil”. There is also a long section headed: 'General Question of Punch's attitude to Popes, Roman Catholicism and Ritualism.'