Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Booster - October 1937

The Booster 2.8 was published in October 1938. The magazine was available--amongst other places--at Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co bookshop in Paris. The editing team had sold its own subscriptions after the release of the September issue; Lawrence Durrell had spread the word during a trip to England a few weeks after. This was a good thing, as some of the original advertisers were already backing away from the new literary format.

The Table Of Contents for the October issue is available on Jim Hayne's website [which is back online]. An image of the cover can be seen on my August 24th posting.

Page 1 - An announcement for the publication of Anais Nin's diaries. I don't think these diaries were actually printed until 1966. Maybe some Nin fans can correct me here.

Page 5 - Editorial. I don't have a copy of this magazine, and have been unable to find out the content of this particular editorial.

Page 7 - Nukarpiartekak (Greenland saga). This particular story got The Booster in hot water with their publishers, The American Golf And Country Club. It was originally a legend from Greenland, which had been brought to European attention by the Danish explorer Gustav Holm in 1884. According to Ian McNiven's Durrell biography, the English version of this story was found in a book of Greenland tales by Durrell; according to Mary Dearborn's Miller biography, the story had been lifted from another magazine.

Lawrence Durrell: A Biography (MacNiven) describes the tale like this: "an aged Eskimo disappears entirely into the vagina of a young woman. The only subsequent evidence of his existence is the small skeleton she passes into the snow next morning" (p. 180). Sensitivities were offended, a disclaimer was printed in the next issue, and advertisers jumped ship.

Page 8 - In The Theatre by Gerald Durrell. Lawrence's younger brother Gerald, age 11 (and living in Corfu with his parents) wrote this morbid poem about an operating theatre.

Page 9 - Sportlight by Charles Norden. Lawrence Durrell writing abour Sport under his alias.

Page 16 - Autour de la Missive a Betty by Alfred Perles. I can find nothing about this piece. I'm becoming fascinated by the overshadowed Perles. You can expect to see much about him in the next month.

Page 18 - A Boost For The Black Book by Henry Miller. Miller writes promotional material about Durrell's novel, which would be printed in Paris the following year.

Page 19 - The Black Book (Coda To Nancy) by Lawrence Durrell. An excerpt from the end of his book. Durrell had been inspired to write The Black Book after reading Miller's Tropic Of Cancer. He sent Henry a manuscript for it in March 1937; Henry was impressed. This mutual admiration led to Durrell's visit to Villa Seurat in August 1937, and the great friendship that followed. Nancy was Durrell's wife.

Page 24 - The Man with the Heart in the Highlands by William Saroyan. Durrell had solicited this from Saroyan, who was not otherwise involved with The Booster (even though he's listed as Literary Editor). This story, about an old man who plays a trumpet for food, appeared in a collection of stories called Inhale And Exhale in 1936. It was later re-worked as a play called My Heart's In The Highlands in 1939; Saroyan won a Pulitzer Prize that same year.

Page 31 - American Golf And Country Club News

Page 37 - Prose poem by Anonyme. No idea.

Page 38 - I Am A Wild Park by Henry Miller. Henry writes about his youth. Much of this was incorporated into Tropic Of Capricorn, which he was working on at the time:
"Even if I must become a wild and natural park inhabited only by idle
dreamers I must not stop to rest here in the ordered fatuity of responsible, adult life." (Tropic Of Capricorn, p. 145)

Page 42 - Lettre Poetique by Le Huitain. No idea. "Huitain" means octet. Maybe eight of them worked on this together.

Page 43 - Fall And Winter Fashions by Henry Miller, 'Earl Of Salvage.' Having been a tailor, Miller knew a thing or two about men's clothes. This piece was apparently re-printed in Henry Miller Miscellanea (edited by Bern Porter in 1945). Henry may have added the 'Earl' joke-title in reference to Durrell's friend, Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk. Henry had offended the Count's royal pretensions in a letter, causing Count Geoffrey to retract a piece he'd submitted for this issue. (Lawrence Durrell: A Biography by Ian MacNiven, p.171).

Page 48 - Subscription blank (1 year in France: 50 fr. 1 year anywhere else: 75 fr.)

Page 49 - Notes on new contributors.

Page 50 - Nightmare by Mulk Raj Anand. Durrell had known Anand since his years in London. During his recent trip to the U.K., he'd solicited this poem from Anand, an Indian writer. Incidentally, Anand died one year ago this month.

Insert - Letter From Egypt via Washington D.C. by Mohamed Ali Sarwat. Miller writes under this pseudonym. This 4-page, unbound leaflet is available for sale for $300 from Goldwasser Books. I couldn't find any other information regarding the content.

Finally, there's an ad in here for several books to be released as 'Booster Broadsides'. The Booster Broadsides will be looked at some other time.

9 Comments:

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I am a fan of Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell. I am from Mexico but since I started to read both genius I learned what the real modern literature/strong/magma/poetic/ was made by Miller and Durrell I have followed/read/studied their work for the last 35 years of my life. Actually I am reading, once again, the Miller-Durrell Letters 1935-1980. I have just passed the Miller's quote of your page. Beautiful. Diego Moreno

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