The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 13851
Date: 1 December [1898][1]
Author: William Heinemann[2]
Place: London
Recipient: James Nicol Dunn[3]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published
Document Type: PL[4]


Sir, -

The following letter which I have received from Mr. Whistler explains itself. I have naturally at once consented to Mr. Whistler's suggestion, and have relinquished my title to the publication of "The Baronet and the Butterfly,[5]" which will be issued under his personal supervision in Paris. -

Yours, &c.,

Wm. Heinemann.

21, Bedford-street,

Dec. 1.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  1 December [1898]
Year dated from the publication date of the newspaper (see below).

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

3.  James Nicol Dunn
James Nicol Dunn (1856-1919), editor of the Morning Post from 1897-1905 [more].

4.  PL
This letter was published in the Morning Post, 2 December 1898 along with JW's letter to Heinemann, [18 November 1898], #09159. An editorial in the Morning Post commented on the letters, as follows: 'The letter from Mr. Whistler to Mr. Heinemann, who was to have been the publisher of "The Baronet and the Butterfly," and the note from Mr. Heinemann accompanying it, which we publish in another column, will surely make the angels weep. For here you have a great artist and witty writer evidently distracted at the thought that he should seem to be lifting his pen even in jest against his publisher. And you have the spectacle of the publisher, impassive as the Sphinx, relinquishing without a sigh what might have been his to a foreign strand, where those who love our land are not so many as we should like. Mr. Whistler's love of France we take for granted, but all the World admires Mr. Whistler; and though we grieve that to this country will not be the honour of first welcoming the artist's latest literary effort, yet France is as good a stepmother as Great Britain to a child of wit. It is pleasant to reflect that a business which in less capable hands might have led to an awkward issue, has by Mr. Whistler's acknowledged deftness as a letter writer and Mr. Heinemann's superb gift of silence become an object of pleasant contemplation. The moral of it all we should be the last to attempt to explain. The bosom of the rose is not more guiltless of moral conundrums than the letters of Mr. Whistler. He writes with an artist's love of twisting the dainty phrases, as a pretty woman in a wayward moment will even make faces at herself in the mirror. And so it is not easy to be quite sure whether Mr. Whistler is changing the venue out of an empowering sense of gratitude - or shall we say generosity? - to France, or because of "American impatience" to see the book of him whose name is her greatest achievement in Art. But what does it matter? "The Baronet and the Butterfly" will see the light first in Paris, but we still have with us "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies."'

5.  The Baronet and the Butterfly,
This letter concerns preparations for the publication of Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24] in 1898-99. The book is JW's account of his quarrel with Eden over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), a portrait of Eden's wife. JW became agitated when extracts and an incorrect title page appeared prematurely as publicity for an American edition of the book (see #13199) and he changed the first place of publication from London to Paris. JW and Heinemann staged this event through their letters to the press.