[Herbert van Thal and J. C. Trewin discuss the possibility of a book on the murderer Eugene Aram.] Typed Letter Signed from van Thal, with copy of Typed Letter from Trewin, on theatrical matters, with two-age treatment of Trewin's proposed book.

J. C. Trewin [John Courtenay Trewin] (1908-1990), author and journalist; Herbert van Thal [Bertie Maurice van Thal] (1904-1983), author, publisher, agent and anthologist; Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London
Publication details: 
Both letters from London, March 1978. Van Thal's letter on letterhead of the publishers Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
SKU: 21356

ONE: Typed Letter Signed from 'Bertie' (i.e. Herbert van Thal) to 'John' (i.e. J. C. Trewin). 15 March 1978. On letterhead of the London publishers Weidenfeld & Nicolson. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. The letter reads: 'My dear John, Alas, they do not think that they would be able to sell this Eugene Aram idea here, without the backing of a television programme or a film to back it up. But Orbis recently asked me if I had any ideas, and I have sent it on to them. Will let you know what they have to say. I must say it is a fascinating subject.' Six-line autograph postscript, in which he states that he has heard from 'A[llen] & U[nwin]' who are 'still pursuing an American publisher […] I always thought Aickman good – but he doesn't sell! Incidentally my last book of ghost stories (Constable) was ignored by the [press?]. I have noted what you say about publishers & theatre books!' TWO: Carbon Typed Copy of Letter, with out signature or name of addressee, but clearly the letter from Trewin to which van Thal is replying in Item One. Dated 9 March 1978. 2pp, 4to. In good condition, lightly aged. Headed '5PT'. Begins: 'You see I'm keeping on keeping on . . . | At my age I'm a bit bothered whether it's a good thing to “diversify” (is that the word?) I have written about the theatre for such a long time and there are attractive theatre subjects. But I'm never sure – again you know far better than I do – how much theatre publishers will take. One sees fascinating bloomers.' He relates an anecdote about Beatrice Mayor. Before asking, about Item Three below: 'Do you think the enclosed idea is, possibly, any good? (I'm still being greedy.) It is one of those things that has pursued me across the years; surprisingly, no one has done it for a very long time.' He discusses the topic briefly before continuing: 'But, as in everything, you are the arbiter. It would take a year or 15 months to do this as there would be various things to collect and places to visit.' He believes the subject to be 'worthwhile' and an 'overlooked story'. He asks about a proposal involving the publishers Allen and Unwin, and praises the ghost stories of Robert Aickman: 'what an extraordinary imagination!' In a postscript he asks about any jobs in publishing reading theatre books for 'facts, dates, names? This is something for which I still have a good memory'. THREE: Carbon Typescript of treatment of book Trewin is working on, accompanying Item Two above. Headed with Trewin's name, Hampstead address and telephone number, and the 'Working title: | ST ROBERT'S CAVE: | The Tale of Eugene Aram | or | A HAUNTED MAN: | The Tale of Eugene Aram'. 2pp, 4to. In good condition, lightly aged. Ends: There have been several apologists for Aram; they have found it hard to reconcile the devoted scholar with the murderer. It is the tale of a desperately haunted man. At his trial he said: “That any person after a temperate use of life, a series of thinking and acting regularly, and without one single deviation from sobriety, should plunge into the very depth of profligacy, precipitatively and at once, is altogether improbable and unprecedented . . .”'.