[ C. K. Jaeger ('Karel Jaeger'), fantasy writer. ] Unpublished typescripts of two fantasy novels, '"The Autobiography of a Flea" or A Kind of Memoir' and 'Letters from an Oyster Bed'.

C. K. Jaeger [ Cyril Karel Stuart Jaeger] (1912-2008), fantasy and children's writer under the name 'Karel Jaeger', friend and landlord of Fitzrovia writer Julian Maclaren-Ross (1912-1964)
Publication details: 
Both composed in Elmer, West Sussex, in 1955.
SKU: 17259

The colourful life of the 'deeply eccentric Bradford-born writer' Jaeger is the subject of a good obituary in the Scotsman, 2 October 2008. In his youth Jaeger was adopted by Lady Margaret Sackville, and moved in Edinburgh high society. While studying at Montpelier University he developed a close friendship with the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. While living in Bognor Regis he made the acquaintance of Julian Maclaren-Ross, with whom he sampled the wares of Fitzrovia. After the war he and Maclaren-Ross - whom he caricatured in his novel 'The Man in the Top Hat' (1949) - became door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen. The pair then turned to screenwriting, alongside the future director of 'Barbarella' Roger Vadim. Throughout the fifties - and whilst also working as a labourer and playing cricket for the Sussex second eleven - Jaeger produced several charming children's books under the name 'Karel Jaeger'. In 1958 he landed a job teaching French and cricket at a prep school in Chichester, and he and his wife moved into a cottage on the grounds. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in him and his work. The two items are in very good condition, on lightly-aged paper, in matching fake leather bindings (the first green and the second black) with gilt titling on the spines. Both have the pages typed on rectos only. ONE: 'Letters from an Oyster Bed.' [4] + 65pp., 4to. Title page reads: '"Letters From An Oyster Bed" | by | C. K. Jaeger'. At end of final page: 'Elmer Jan. Feb. 55.' Dedication on second page: 'Dedicated to the Boys | Jeremy | & | Christopher | Bangay | . | for | their | Encouragement.' Chapters on third page: 'The First Letter', 'The Man From Brighton', 'A Sensational Morning', 'Lord Ben', 'Disturbing News', 'The Mayor and Lord Benn [sic]', 'Smollett Sounds the Ocean', 'News from England', 'Skipper Cuttle' and 'The Oyster Bed'. Jaeger has been compared to Lewis Carroll, and the start of the novel gives a good indication of his style: 'The shattering news from Professor Knopp came quite unexpectedly. We were taking tea in the garden, a garden that was built high up on a hill overlooking the English Channel. The seashell paths around us shimmered in the sunlight. The sky was a lilac blue. Not a cloud to be seen anywhere. Across the Channel the French were waving to us and the Rock of Gibraltar peeped over the horizon. My nephew, Tan-Tan, was gathering Sea Lemons in the garden. Suddenly, from out of the lilac blue sky, a Seagull swooped upon us and landed on the tea-table. | "You Professor Dibley Dee?" | I sat up in surprise and looked over my spectacles at the Seagull[.] | "Yes. . . . ." I nodded. | "Thought it was. Couldn't mistake YOUR face with that long beard. Why don't you put a name or a number on your gate? I've wasted hours looking for you. Can't understand people wanting to build houses on hilltops. Thank goodness I've got wings. Letter for you."' TWO: ''"The Autobiography of a Flea" or A Kind of Memoir'. [4] + 61pp., 4to. Title page reads: '"THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FLEA" | or | A Kind of Memoir | by | C. K. Jaeger.' At end of final page: 'Elmer. | March - May. 1955'. Epigraph on second page conveys the surreal tone: 'The King and Queen of Portugander. Papa can be seen on His Majesty's cuff. Mama is on the hat. I wasn't born then.' The third page states that thhe book is dedicated to 'Catherine | Karel | Charlotte | Joanna | Sarah | and | Patsy | With the kind permission of | MACHO'. The fourth page lists the chapters ('Capitulos.') from 'The Palace where I was Born' to 'Mama's triumphant departure from the Palace'. Ownership inscription on front free endpaper: 'BROWN | 9, HASLET AVE | PRINCETON. NJ'.