7. 21 July 1970 [AW]
Here's your typescript – duly marked in those places where I think a music example would be appropriate. If you can return it to me before 10th August, I shall be able to send it off to Paul Courtenay, with one or two other essays, to have the examples professionally drawn. Otherwise, it will be held over until September.
Far be it from me, dear Dragon, to prejudice you either way with Graham George. Nevertheless, you might find it useful if I tell you (in confidence) about the background to his book. He submitted it to Fabers about four years ago. Deryck Cooke read it, but expressed the reservation that it would require extensive revisions for publication. He declined a subsequent invitation to participate further. Meantime, John Thomson left Barrie & Rockliff and joined Fabers. He sent the book to me for a second opinion. Independently I arrived at the same conclusion as Deryck Cooke: namely, that George's musical theory of interlocking structures was important*, but that its mode of expression made the book impossible to read. John then asked me to come in as consultant editor and I agreed, perhaps rashly. I proposed some far-reaching modifications, not all of which were acted upon. The chief ones were that the book must have many more music examples and fewer maps of Clapham Junction, and that the book was far too long for what it had to say, and could be reduced to a pamphlet. Not unnaturally, nobody takes kindly to a suggestion that a book which has taken 15 years to write and runs to sixty or seventy thousand words should be condensed into a pamphlet. The result was a compromise. I could tell you precisely what features of the book embody my ideas and I could also show you a mound of correspondence to indicate the progress of the battle. I could - but I won't. It wouldn't be fair to George. The book now has to stand up on its own feet, or collapse under its own weight.
I'm glad, for his sake, that you are reviewing his book. At least, you'll make every effort to understand what he's driving at – which I am afraid is more than he'll be able to say of some of your fellow reviewers, who share neither your outlook nor your insight.
Kind regards, Yours sincerely,
* The theory, very briefly, teaches us that when a work starts in one key and subsequently ends in another, this apparently random connection is determined by a 'tonal interlock'. Thus, a work which starts in C major and ends (say) in E major might have a tonal centre of A flat major as its 'interlock'.