The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08025
Date: [23 June 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: ALS[3]


LE   189 


33. Rue de Tournon. Paris.

My dear Publisher! -

Now I am entrusting to you the collection of gems, that my notion is would bring money as well as fame. - Of course you know these things, and I may be quite wrong - In any case I will have done my part in giving you the first bloom of my inspiration

The book to be a Bijou - in elegance and size -

And first let me tell you what Mallarmé[5] has not himself made clear to you -

These are all Addresses[6] that he has actually sent forth (for years past) upon letters, no one of which ever failed to be delivered - The Postal authorities even therefore you see had no difficulty in understanding this mystical Mallarmé! -

Now don't you think that it [p. 2] would be a very[7] chic in you who are supposed to be always after the newest thing, to bring out this little gem in London?!

It would be the fashion - and now you see what I meant by Oscar's[8] stealing it if he only could come upon it! Don't you see all the envelopes covered with Oscars doggerel going through the Post? So mind not a word! -

Now think it over - It would be a great success in May Fair - where it would be the fin de Siècle thing to have it on all tables - Not necessary to be a French publisher for you to put it there, any more than it would be necessary for the people to be French Scholars who must have it there! -

I must be awfully mistaken if this is not a great find! - Don't you see that here you have the invention itself which will make a môde - and it is doubly dainty being in French - and it is, also, and this is most important, correct[9] - for it is the work of the most dainty of French Poets - Mallarmé -

Therefore it would be good taste - and not doubtful as might be the mere rhymes of some cockney unknown Cockney in English -

Think what a pretty book - say for the season - Christmas or autumn whenever it is -

With an arrangement to recall the Envelope! - and think what pretty things might be made out of the stamps[10]! -

Well we would all help and I think I have given you a plum! -

This must go -

[butterfly signature]

All right about Belfond[11], he has put up my printing press for the etchings in new Studio -

Mind[12] you write me a line tomorrow that [I] may get it on Sunday morning, as I shall be anxious about safe arrival of little book -

Another element of success is the interest in many of the distinguished names of those to whom the letters are addressed - de Goncourt[13] - Verlaine[14] - Valéry[15] - Coppée[16] etc

Mind you I have promised for you that if you do not see your way to its production no[17] one but yourself shall see the book, that you will remain absolutely silent upon the matter, and that you will return the book directly to me -

This document is protected by copyright.


William Heinemann. Esq.
21. Bedford Street
Covent Garden
[postmarks x 5:] PARIS-6 R. DE VAUGIRARD / 23 / JUIN / 92


1.  [23 June 1892]
Dated from postmark.

2.  William Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more].

3.  ALS
See Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28]. Written in purple ink.

4.  '[1892?]'
Added in another hand.

5.  Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

6.  Addresses
Mallarmé had written the addresses in the form of Quatrains; see JW's letter to Heinemann, #10785.

7.  very
'very' is double underlined.

8.  Oscar's
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

9.  correct
'correct' is double underlined.

10.  stamps
JW designed a stamp for the cover of Mallarmé's projected Récreations Postales, Cupid letting a bird out of a cage (M.1341).

11.  Belfond
Henri Belfond (fl. 1891-1894), lithographic printer [more]: he printed lithographs for JW but is not kmown to have been closely involved in his etching.

12.  Mind
'mind ... Coppée etc' was written in the left margin of p. 2, and the remainder in the margin of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.

13.  Goncourt
Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896), writer [more], and Jules de Goncourt (1830-1870), writer [more].

14.  Verlaine
Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), poet and amateur designer[more].

15.  Valéry
Paul Ambroise Valéry (1871-1945), Symbolist poet, critic and essayist [more].

16.  Coppée
François Coppée (1842-1908), poet [more].

17.  no
Double underlined.