|Newsletter No.6||8 May 2001|
Since January, the Society has gained a further eight members and we send a warm welcome to each and every one of them.
Javier Marias is a Spanish author, whose books have sold in excess of 3.5 million copies -mainly in Europe and Hispanic America -since his 1971 debut. He has been translated into some twenty languages. Look out for his novels -currently in print in English are: All Souls, A Heart So White, Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me and When I was Mortal.
Robin Willis lives with her husband in Norfolk, Va, and recently took a holiday in England (see Letter). Stimulated by both Burford and a re-reading of Moonfleet, she found us through Robert Wilson's excellent Internet site.
Peter Mead is the cousin of Thomas Alexander Meade Falkner, nephew of JMF. To be strictly accurate, his great-grandparents, on his father's side, were JMF's grandparents. He has a considerable amount of information on the Mead family, which he promises to make available to us in the future!
Celia Grover is the daughter of John and Ruth Falkner. John was the second son of Charles Falkner, JMF's brother. It is most encouraging to see two more members of the Falkner family tree joining our Society.
Antonio J. Iriarte is our second member from Spain, having been introduced to us by Javier Marias. I was able to send Antonio a copy of The Nebuly Coat, just as hard to find in Spain as elsewhere.
Bernard Jones is the author of the excellent monograph on JMF, published in 1984, in the Dorset Worthies series (No.l8). One can still purchase copies at the Museum in Dorchester, where there is a small display on JMF and, in particular, Moonfleet.
Barry Cross found us through readership of 'All Hallows', the Ghost Story Society's journal. He regards The Lost Stradivarius as "one of the very finest supernatural novels".
Richard Shepherd is Head Master of The Minster School, York. He writes: "As one who has worked all his life associated with cathedrals I have always enjoyed The Nebuly Coat. It is easy to tell that the writer knew what went on in these extraordinary institutions."
* * * * * *
Moonfleet to be filmed?
Tapestry Films Ltd.- a film company based in Toronto -contacted me in early February. They were interested in acquiring the film rights for Moonfleet, "in order to develop the work into a feature film". I was able to put them in touch with the Society of Authors and a follow-up e-mail said they had been in touch with the exact person who held the rights. Strangely, the company did not know of the Fritz Lang version, which came out in 1955 and starred Stewart Granger. Perhaps it was just as well.
BooksGlobal (Jefferson Busherman) has asked that members are made aware of his web site at www.booksglobal.com (email: BooksGlobal@hotmail.com tel.: 800-477-7578). This allows writers to "publish" their book on the site without the necessity of trying to gain the favour of a publisher or agent. The company also eliminates the expenses and dead-end streets involved with vanity publishing and the workload of self-publishing. They normally charge a nominal fee for listing a writer's book and a percentage of sales. So, over to you, budding JMFs.
Mark Valentine notes that a recently published work of reference, Shadows in the Attic: A Guide to British Supernatural Fiction 1820-1950. by Neil Wilson (The British Library, November 2000), has a standard biographical and bibliographical information about JMF , with this to say about The Lost Stradivarius:
"An imaginative plot, a finely paced atmosphere of growing menace and a wealth of background detail combine to make this short novel one of the nineteenth century's classic tales of the macabre. It is our loss that, despite his obvious ability and keen interest in supernatural fiction, Falkner did not write further works in the genre."The Nebuly Coat is also praised and the two short stories get mentioned.
"I had just received Moonfleet in the mail after ordering it online, when my husband and I departed from Norfolk, Va. for a holiday in the Cotswolds. We travelled to Burford and were fascinated by the church and its churchyard. I bought a book about the church and read it that night at Walton Hall, where we were staying. It seemed a strange coincidence that J. M. Falkner's name was in the book and that he was buried in the very churchyard we had been to that day. We went back to Burford next day and found his tomb and saw his name in the stained glass window. When we got back to Virginia I read Moonfleet again, as I had been wanting to since reading it many years before. It was as exciting as ever...to the very last page. I was happy to find this website [Robert Wilson's] and to read more about J. M. Falkner."The Tartarus Press has really come up trumps with its republication of The Lost Stradivarius. As a fanatical book collector, the 'feel' of a book is very important to me. This book is very well bound with nice, thick pages and a text that is pleasing on the eye. One bonus is Mark Valentine's thoughtful Introduction, with its felicitous turns of phrase and its light wearing of quite erudite points. Another is the salutary addition of two difficult-to-find JMF items - A Midsummer's Night Marriage  and Charalampia . If you do not have a copy, then I strongly urge one on you.
"If I have not sooner answered your long and important letter, it has not been for any want of reading, learning, marking and inwardly digesting it. That, I assure you, I have done: but till now, I have not found time to sit down to answer it, with any hope of being left to myself .."He goes on to discuss Saxton Noble being sent to the firm's London Office and, after four pages of densely packed argument, summarises:
"All these points have not escaped notice: but still your letter has put them in a clearer light, and marshalled them more forcibly than I had seen them before & I shall know how to make use of your suggestions when consideration of the matter comes up."JMF was ever the diplomat. Perhaps knowledge that Rendel and others were soon to be involved in discussing his salary was not irrelevant.
|Kenneth Hillier (April 1999)||]|
|Christopher Hawtree (April 1999)||]||Founder|
|Edward Wilson (April 1999)||]||Members|
|Victor Brown (April 1999)||]|
|Alan Bell (May 1999)||]|
Kenneth HillierGreenmantle, Main Street, King's Newton, Melbourne, Derbyshire DE73 1BX
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