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2021年10月17日 (日)

T. S. Eliot vs. George Orwell (2)

 出版社取締役(director) T.S.エリオットが、作家ジョージ・オーウェルの原稿を没にした口上を書いておくことにしました。

 以下、英文全て Faber & Faber: The Untold Story からの引用です。Director T.S.Eliot から George Orwell への「没」の通知は、2ラウンドに及びます。斜字体は、本書著者 Toby Faber のコメントです。


S. Eliot to Eric Blair (George Orwell), 19 February 1932

I am sorry to have kept your manuscript. We did find it of very great interest, but I regret to say that it does not appear to me possible as a publishing venture. It is decidedly too short, and particularly for a book of such length it seems to me too loosely constructed, as the French and English episodes fall into two parts with very little to connect them.

T.S. Eliot turned down Down and Out in Paris and London (Victor Gollancz eventually published it in 1933) and thereby lost the chance to take on George Orwell at the beginning of his career. He was to get another opportunity.

S. Eliot to George Orwell Esq., 13 July 1944

I know that you wanted a quick decision about Animal Farm; but the minimum is two directors' opinions, and that can't be done under a week. But for the importance of speed, I should have asked the Chairman to look at it as well. But the other director is in agreement with me on the main points. We agree that it is a distinguished piece of writing; that the fable is very skilfully handled, and that the narrative keeps one's interest on its own plane - and that is something very few authors have achieved since Gulliver.

On the other hand, we have no conviction (and I am sure none of the other directors would have) that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time. [...]

I am very sorry, because whoever publishes this, will naturally have the opportunity of publishing your future work: and I have a regard for your work, because it is good writing of fundamental integrity.

It is that last paragraph that particularly strikes me: in turning down Animal Farm - essentially because it was being rude about our Soviet allies - Eliot was also turning down the unwritten 1984.

※1ちなみに、引用書カバーイラストの人物たちは、1名(創立者の Geoffrey Faber)を除き全員、Faberの著者たちです。
円卓の後ろに立っているのは、Geoffrey Faber(left), T.S. Eliot(right), 時計回り、手前左(front left)から順に、
Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Kazuo Ishiguro, P.D. James, William Golding, Sylvia Plath, Samuel Beckett、そしてMorgan(cat)
裏表紙(back cover)に、生涯目立つことを嫌った、Philip Larkin


※2 上記日本語訳(DeepLの助力をお借りしました)。


S. エリオットは、『Down and Out in Paris and London』を断ったことで(最終的にはヴィクター・ゴランツが1933年に出版)、キャリアの初期にジョージ・オーウェルを相手にする機会を失ってしまった。しかし、彼は次の機会を得ることになる。






※See T. S. Eliot vs. George Orwell (1): 本に溺れたい


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