One Morganian wrote to me the other day suggesting that fund-raising for the Archive might be helped by the publication of some of CLM's works as e-books. And today, visiting the odd and supposedly "automatically generated" CLM Facebook page, I found that Gutenberg Books have in fact now published his first novel, hard-to-find The Gunroom, as a Free e-Book. This means it can be downloaded in various formats, including Kindle, without cost. An excellent initiative! The URL is here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/52591.
Morganians will be pleased to hear that we have been in touch with Susan Thomas, Head of Archives and Modern Manuscripts at the Weston Library (which Old Oxonians will remember as the “New Bodleian” on Broad St) about the material of the CM Archive.
Ms Thomas informs us that there are 300 boxes of material (!), that they have had a quick look at the contents, and that there is a great deal of work to be done before it will be ready for researchers’ access. Moreover, for this work to be done she estimates they will need £55,000 (about USD 70,000 or 60,000 Euros).
This, of course, gives us all furiously to think: it is hardly chickenfeed. I have put her in touch with a fundraiser of my acquaintance; and if anyone has any experience of modern “crowdfunding” that would be good to know. The Archive’s being in Bodley is already a great step; but if it remains in boxes or otherwise inaccessible for lack of proper care, preservation, sorting, cataloguing etc., its presence there will not be of use to scholars or the public.
A few months ago Roger Morgan, CM's son, came to a momentous decision. The former Librarian of the House of Lords, he had always treasured, maintained, protected, sorted and catalogued the enormous archive of his father's work -- not just the books and essays and all the papers pertaining thereto, but the countless theatre reviews and brief newspaper contributions, letters and miscellaneous items -- in his London house. Now, at 90, he felt it was time for this collection to move into a library where it would be professionally cared for and available to the public. So, after pondering various options, he decided that the most suitable place for the Morgan Archive was the Bodleian Library in the University of Oxford. The Bodleian has now received the material, and this blog will keep Morganians informed as to the stages of its organisation and eventual availability. We owe a vote of thanks to Roger Morgan for this generous gift to the Republic of Letters!
Many Morganians who have a copy of Eiluned Lewis' edition of his Selected Letters will remember a charming photograph of CM on a garden bench with his son Roger. Roger Morgan, former Librarian of the House of Lords, has just celebrated his 91st birthday, and those who love his father's work have a great debt to him, who has been the tireless and most efficient keeper of the CM Archive (see next post). We wish him a new year full of good health, good company and miscellaneous blessings.
Some of you may remember that a few months ago I attempted to attach a Forum to this website, so that discussions could be generated and pursued. Unfortunately, the experience showed me beyond a doubt the limits of my virtual capacity, and we had to give it up. And the Comments feature of this News blog-page is not ideal either, as it periodically attracts inedible hogsheads of spam from places like Indonesia. So here is the fallback suggestion: if you have things you'd like to discuss or see discussed, send your reactions to me at the Webmaster e-mail address on the home page, and I will try to put them on the "Discussion" page -- that way, a sort of a Forum can be maintained, with your faithful WebServant schlepping the buckets.
Tirelessly, our Melbourne friend labours on. He has now furnished us with a long essay on that complex novel, Sparkenbroke. (It will not have escaped Morganians that the title of the book, also that of the protagonist, is a variant of the title of Morgan's first play, The Flashing Stream.) For Nigel Jackson's text on the novel, see his page under DIscussion.
Morgan-lovers will be interested to see that our Melbourne friend Nigel Jackson has furnished us with a new essay on The Fountain. Readers will find it on his page in the "Discussions" section of the website. We should be very interested in any reactions readers may have, especially those who have read the novel. Although our efforts to add an interactive Forum to this website have not (yet?) borne fruit, the format of this page, with its possibility of adding Comments, is one way around the problem; you can also e-mail me at the email@example.com address, and I can then add your reactions either here or in the "Discussions" section itself.
Nigel informs us that he is planning to collect his essays into a book on CM's works, and we wish him insight and strength. Stay tuned.
As you can see, we have added a whole new page to the website. The occasion was the permission, received from the Morgan estate, to publish in its entirety a work with which not all Morganians are familiar: the 1935 essay Epitaph on George Moore. This seemed to call for its own space, like My Name is Legion, so it now has its own page just after the earlier work. Rereading it, I was struck by its directness, its charm, and the precision of its perceptiveness -- the latter notably in the discussion of Moore's style. We are grateful to have this small gem, and hope readers will enjoy it.
Tireless as always in our research, we have unearthed an interesting 1960 review of CM's posthumous A Writer and his World by the actor and literary scholar Robert Speaight, who made many fine poetry recordings and knew CM personally. You can find it in the Old News section.
We have just been informed by the auction house of Dominic Winter that the lot described in the previous post here has been withdrawn from the July 21 auction. Any lovers of Morgan's work should not, however, feel depressed about this because the collection has been sold by private treaty and will eventually go to the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Meanwhile, I remind enthusiasts that such websites as Abebooks or AddAll regularly have interesting copies of Morgan's works for sale at (for the time being) still-reasonable prices.
Roger Kuin, stumbling webmaster and lifelong admirer of Morgan's writing.