Item 28 - Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan, with draft letter by R. C. Trevelyan to [Otto] Kyllmann

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TRER/20/28

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Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan, with draft letter by R. C. Trevelyan to [Otto] Kyllmann

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  • [1916?] (Creation)

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34 Percy Street, Liverpool. - Does not often have both leisure and a 'lucid mind' these days; is too tired at the end of the day [after munitions work] and is ever more respectful of Germany as 'only a very great nation could have so managed the affairs of Europe' as to get him out of bed at 6.30 every morning. Managed to give his attention to the agreement [proposed by Constables for the publication of "An Annual of New Poetry] on Sunday; Bob seems to agree with him on the main points. He and the others have 'no right' to ask Bob to act as their representative, but it would be 'an enormous convenience in every way' if he did; Bob must decide only on personal grounds and not consider the rest of them, as he has 'better work than niggling with publishers'. Promises not to sue him if he does act as go-between. Is sure the contract 'must not be signed as it stands' and needs to be 'radically' altered; the problems may be due to 'barefaced swindling, or... unbusiness-like stupidity' and since they are dealing with a publisher 'either is probable', but the root is that the contract does not make any allowances for the 'special nature of the publication' as an annual magazine containing material that is to be republished in future. Might be wise to consult the Society of Authors; is a member himself and could do this for Bob. Bob should get advice from Gordon [Bottomley] and J[ohn] Drinkwater as they are 'clear headed people', while Wilfrid [Gibson] is also good at dealing with publishers; otherwise, does not think it necessary to share the contract around once it is 'fairly settled', since the poets already know the sorts of terms they are getting. Does not feel that a contract between Bob and the other poets is necessary. The first thing to do is to get the contract amended to give the publishers a 'licence to publish our poems in this form for a certain period' which then expires and returns all rights to the authors automatically. Returns Bob's "Remarks" [20/59?], in case he wishes to send them to someone else; has pencilled some suggestions on the contract and adds further comments in the letter, numbered by relevant point in the contract: these include rights of quotation; what would happen if an "Annual" poem appeared in [Marsh's] "Georgian Poetry"; proportion of profits paid to the poets; authors' copies; sections of the contract which should be altered or omitted. He and his family hope the Trevelyans are all well; they themselves are 'fairly so - or fairly so-so'. Grateful for the intervention, 'so promptly & efficaciously', with the Italian Red Cross on behalf of [John Yates of Blackburn, see 1/67? In this case the intervention probably by Bob's brother George].

[Draft letter by R. C. Trevelyan in pencil on the back of the first two sheets]. Trevelyan tells [Otto] Kyllmann that Mr [Michael] Sadler has asked him to write to Kyllmann in future regarding the "Annual". Discussion of the draft contract with Constables: the division of profits should be returned to the original 60% for the poets; Mr Sadler now agrees that the contributors should have the right to republish after, say, a year, but says that Constables should be free to reprint the "Annual" for as long as they wish, which the poets object to; payments should also be made sooner than suggested.

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1/67: letter, 18 Mar [1916] from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan, asking how to contact Trevelyan's brother George to contribute to the Red Cross operation in Italy, on behalf of John Yates of Blackburn.

20/59: Remarks by R. C. Trevelyan on the draft agreement; annotated with comments by Abercrombie and returned with the present letter.

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Draft letter by R. C. Trevelyan in pencil to [Otto] Kyllmann of Constables on the back of the first two sheets.

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