FORESTER, Cecil Scott, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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FORESTER, Cecil Scott (1899-1966). Pseudonym of Cecil Lewis Troughton Smith, novelist.
Series of 8 Autograph Letters Signed to Winifred Lydia Loraine, wife of Robert Loraine, flying ace and actor, in all 11 pages 4to (piece excised from one) with 5 envelopes. Written from East Dulwich, Agaccio, Corsica and Folkestone and dated 13 September 1929 to 25 March 1930.

The corresondence centers on Forester's attempt to write a play for Robert Loraine. He began the project full of enthusiasm ('I must tell you (I can't wait) that I think I have hit on a winner - a real one, I think. Queer, but the right stuff I think.'). The play was called V907, traced the destruction of a naval vessel, had an all-male cast and was never produced.

Forester enlists the assistance of Winifred, describing the plot and asking her opinion. When she does give her opinion, however, he is less than receptive.

'... Your sugggestions are exciting and stimulating, but I can't use them. Mainly that is because my type of mind baulks uncontrollably at following up other people's creative suggestions (why don't you write your play yourself? you ought to) & partly because my brand of political thought is a bit too odd to be generally acceptable. I simply can't do it. ...'
The period during which these letters were written coincided with the birth of Forester's first son, John (who later wrote a 'very short' biography of his father). The family were nomads at the best of times, spending their time in England staying with a series of friends. Very shortly after the birth of John, they decamped to Corsica, where the play was written. The island enchanted him, though the natives did not. An outbreak of scarlet fever sent Forester into a frenzy of worry and the work suffered.

'... Corsica was a heavenly place with a hellish population - while we were there the interest never slackened, what with making perfect fools of ourselves writing plays & coping with scarlet fever epidemics (I have never been so sick with fright as then, until all chance of Kit or the baby catching it evaporated) ...'
A small snapshot of Forester, sitting at a table under a tree in Corsica is included.

Despite the fact that V97 was never on the boards, Forester wrote a dramatic version of his successful crime novel Payment Deferred which was produced on Broadway in 1931 and made into a film starring Charles Laughton in 1932.
[No: 26016]


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