Friday, 9 October 2009

shot dead by a revolver concealed in the binding

Holly Gramazio of Severalbees.com sent us this wonderful passage from Christopher Isherwood's "Lions and Shadows":


"We discussed all this at great length, but I don't think we had ever any serious intention of literally sitting down to write the book. Quite apart from mere laziness, it hardly seemed necessary: indeed, it would have spoilt all our pleasure. As long as "Mortmere" remained unwritten, its alternative possibilities were infinite; we could continue, every evening, to improvise fresh situations, different climaxes. We preferred to stick to the Hynd and Starn stories, and to make utterly fantastic plans for the edition-de-luxe: it was to be illustrated, we said, with real oil paintings, brasses, carvings in ivory or wood; fireworks would explode to emphasize important points in the narrative; a tiny gramophone sewn into the cover would accompany the descriptive passages with emotional airs; all the dialogue would be actually spoken; the different pages would smell appropriately, according to their subject-matter, of grave-clothes, manure, delicious food, burning hair, chloroform or expensive scent.
All copies would be distributed free. Our friends would find attached to the last page, a pocket containing banknotes and jewels; our enemies, on reaching the end of the book, would be shot dead by a revolver concealed in the binding."

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