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A Day in Summer

At some time, perhaps in the 1980s, there was an exhibition of J.L. Carr's publications at the Public Library in Kettering. JLC created five white card files to illustrate the process of writing and publishing a novel using A Day in Summer as an example. My annotations on these files are shown in square braces [thus]; original text is shown in italics.

[File 1. Kettering Public Library reference: CA/12/019]

[Content. White card file with label and 4 photocopied pages held in place by two green treasury tags.]

[Label] You really can’t talk to anyone about the work, so you make notes and discuss it with yourself. It’s a sort of internal conversation that keeps going because all of this could be an immense amount of work which no-one but yourself might ever know about.

P1. [A sheet of small notes, many scribbled over. e.g.] Conversation on p69/70 needs rewriting.

P2. [Notes about characters.]

Build up Peplow into retiscent (sic) strong man.

Build up Ruskin as the Chorus, & build up his unpleasantness, his nosiness, his general unpleasantness, his grossness

Why did Cooney find Croser & the Uncle interesting?

Must watch out for early workd to draw it into the completed story.

P3.[More odd notes with drawings]

Poignant – they were the Lancashire Fusileers encamped ?? that coast waiting to be thrown into the balance at Caen

DO IT WITH A TYPEWRITER hammer it out!

P4. [4 columns in landscape on a piece of paper.

[At top:] Ruskin is imprisoned in his room, legless, above the square...

[Col 1] Peplow, [Col 2] Effie, [other columns empty].

[File 2. Kettering Public Library reference: CA/12/020]

[Content. White card folder with title label and 8 pages of different sizes, one blank, all photocopies of text in JLC’s handwriting held in place by two green treasury tags.]

[Label] A PAIR OF SCISSORS IS VITAL. When one version is finished, you cut out the satisfactory parts and transfer them to the next version. The parts left are then changed and rewritten and gummed into the next version. This folder contains debris which didn’t fall through the sieve.

P1-8. [Photocopies of text in Carr's handwriting, some very faint or hard to read]

[File 3. Kettering Public Library reference: CA/12/021]

[Content. White card folder with label and 7 photocopied sheets of different sizes held together with two green treasury tags.]

[Label] This contains a lot of the previous version and at least as much of the rewritten material. It has to be made legible enough for a professional typist to read. He lives in North Wales; I’ve never met him. I always give him a copy of the printed book.

P1. [A mixture of typed text and edits by hand.]

...before – even at school, even in The War. The Bank will think I’m ill. I ought to have had someone’s O.K.

“I wonder if you’d mind very much if I take Friday off?”

“I suppose not. Is someone ill? Is it urgent?”

“No – well it is and it isn’t. As a matter of fact I have to go off to a place in the country and short a man. They call it Great Minden.”

“Really! Great Minden! I used to have an aunt near there. If you wouldn’t consider it impertinent may I ask who – whom?”

“It’s the man who ran down my boy last Summer. He works for a fairground outfit and on Friday it will be at the Feast there. The Feast at Minden. So it would be very convenient – I hope you understand”.

“Perfectly! So we’ll see you again on Saturday? Monday?”

“Well – no. I’ve more or less decided it would be better for me to finish myself off too. In comfort – on the way back, all being well. It would by-pass the embarrassing formalities that usually follow – I see you understand”

He felt the odd giddy throbbing at his temples again and drew up sharply. This was how he felt when he first noticed them glancing covertly at him in the office, when the conversation over morning coffee dwindled, when his wife suddenly began to cry as they sat in the garden.

P2 & P3. [Blank except on back}

Draft 2. I typed this & then paid £3 to have a crit. [The rest of the text is missing.]

P4. [Photocopy of typed page of text of the novel with edits by hand. Transcribed, but not reproduced here]

P5. [Photocopy of typed page of text of the novel with edits by hand. Transcribed, but not reproduced here]

P6. [Photocopy of typed page of text of the novel with edits by hand. Transcribed, but not reproduced here]

P7. [Photocopy of typed page of text of the novel with edits by hand. Transcribed, but not reproduced here]

[File 4. Kettering Public Library reference: CA/12/022]

[Content. White card file with label and 8 pages held in place by two green treasury tags]

[Label] It is extraordinary how much business correspondence arises in the process. Barrie & Rockliffe now is Barrie & Jenkins and publish P.G. Wodehouse and the Flashman stories. The actual EDITOR, a young man called MICHAEL HIRST, now runs his own publishing company.

P1. [Photocopy of a letter from JLC, probably to the Librarian at Huron Public Library, South Dakota.]

P2. [Letter from JLC dated February 3rd to Mr Bunting, some of the text cut off to the right when it was photocopied. It describes the revision of the novel

‘.. and it’s about finished me.’

P3-8. [6 pages of a MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT made this third day of April 1963 between JLC etc]

Whereas the Author has delivered the manuscript of a novel at present entitled “A Summer’s Day” (hereinafter called ‘the work’) consisting of fifty-seven thousand words or thereabouts...

The publisher agrees to pay the Author on account and in anticipation of all sums due under this agreement the sum(s) of one hundred pounds, payable as half on signature hereof and half on publication of the work.

Home Sales: on the first 3,500 copies sold: 10% …. Royalties to be calculated on the British published price of each copy sold...

The Author shall be entitled to receive on publication six presentation copies of the first edition of the work, and shall have the right to purchase further copies for personal use on trade terms.

Option on next works. The publisher shall have the first refusal of (including the first opportunity to read and consider for publication) the Author’s next two works suitable for publication in volume form and the Author shall offer to the publisher for this purpose the same rights and territories as those covered by this Agreement.

[File 5. Kettering Public Library reference: CA/12/023]

[Content. White card file with label and 5 odd sized pages of letters, held in place by two green treasury tags

[Label] A novel engenders some CORRESPONDENCE. This is some of it.

P1. [1 page letter to Jim, signed Marion, a friend.]

P2-4. [3 page letter from Phoebe Latham, Book Publicity, 23 Cleaver Square, London SE 11, Sept 20th 1960, addressed to J. Clan (sic) Esq, 27 Mill dale Road, Kettering, Northants.

Dear Mr Clan, I have now read the MS of A DAY IN SUMMER with keen interest, and am much impressed with it...

[This indicates that JLC had sent an early draft of this book in 1960 to a Professional Reader, for a critique of the novel.]

P5. [1 blank page with a strip of paper at the base stuck on with the name Richard Ollard (the historian and biographer?). Perhaps the letter has gone missing.]