LE CARRE, JOHN

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LE CARRE, JOHN - Autograph Letter Signed, Discussing Politics and Upcoming Film Adaptations of his Books
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LE CARRE, JOHN - Autograph Letter Signed, Discussing Politics and Upcoming Film Adaptations of his Books

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“My Uncle Bradley (I daren’t call him Brad, we haven’t been introduced) Pitt, is supposed to be producing ‘The Night Manager’ for the spring too.”

 

CARRÉ, JOHN LE (DAVID CORNWELL). (b. 1931). British intelligence officer and author who has penned some of the best-known works of the espionage genre. ALS. (“David”). 4pp. 4to. Penzance, August 20, 2010. On his personal stationery to his friend Willard J. Morse Jr., an obstetrician from Maine.

 

“A bit in haste. The news from here no better. The Etonians have taken back the ship with the help of some B-list inexperienced liberals who will evaporate in their own hot air before long, leaving the shop to a ragbag of ivy league Tories, born-again PR men, sexists, anti-Europeans, nostalgists and eco-ostriches. And hooray, we’re free, the country’s broke & we’ll all have to go back out to work or die in the street, which will do us good after the excess of the previous wastrel government that was for the people, by the people, except it was run by one bad Scottish piglet (Blair) and on unhappy Scottish hog (Brown), who emptied the piggy bank for the people while they were about it. Oh, & Iraq & Afghanistan… Of my own news: extraordinary in its own way. Age is always a surprise. In Oct I enter my 80th year. In Oct, also, Gary Oldman & Colin Firth & a bunch of thesp celebs star in a motion picture remake of Tinker Tailor, starting on my birthday, directed by a Swede in a hat called Tomas Alfredson (‘Let the Right One in’). My new book – I’ll try to remember to send you a copy – is out here mid-Sep, the US mid-Oct. It’s already been scripted by Hossein Amini, We’re casting the director now, hope to be filming by Spring. ‘A Most Wanted Man’ will be directed by Anton Corbijn, a Dutchman with no hat, also in the Spring d.v., and we hope – iffy – ‘The Mission Song’ will go then too. Meanwhile my Uncle Bradley (I daren’t call him Brad, we haven’t been introduced) Pitt, is supposed to be producing ‘The Night Manager’ for the spring too. And I, thank heaven, will be away from all of it, writing the Ur-novel that calls loudly from the thickets. So life is not dull. Hitchens was/is a truly odious little twerp, but his canonization advances with – poor chap – his cancer. I’ve always kept him high on my hit list, but I gave him full marks for being waterboarded to find out whether it hurt, & no marks for much else. What our teachers used to call lmf -- low moral fibre, or shit. Good to hear from you. Watch this space. Best…”

 

Born David Cornwell in Dorset, le Carré, as he would later be known, was abandoned by his mother at age 5 and raised by his father, who was frequently in debt, imprisoned once for insurance fraud, and a known associate of English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. After attending public school and studying foreign languages in Switzerland, le Carré was recruited by the Intelligence Corps and interrogated defectors from East Germany. Following his studies at Oxford, he began work as a spy, first for MI5 and, later, MI6.

 

Le Carré’s best-known works are The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Tailor of Panama, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, andThe Constant Gardener. English actors Gary Oldman (b. 1958) and Colin Firth (b. 1960) starred in the 2011 film adaptation of his novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, directed by Tomas Alfredson (b. 1965), best known for his 2008 Swedish romantic horror film Let the Right One In. The “new book” mentioned in our letter is likely Our Kind of Traitor, published in 2010 and adapted by Iranian-British screenwriter and director Hossein Amini (b. 1966) in 2016 and directed by Susanna White. His 2008 novel A Most Wanted Man was made into a film by Dutch director Anton Corbijn (b. 1955) in 2014 and starred Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, and Robin Wright. Although the producer of The Constant Gardener announced his interest in producing le Carré’s 2006 novel The Mission Song, it has not yet been filmed. However, his 1993 novel The Night Manager was made into a 2016 miniseries by American actor Brad Pitt’s (b. 1963) production company Plan B. The “Ur-novel” (“ur” meaning “proto” or “primitive”)he mentions is possibly the 2013 book A Delicate Truth, which is one of his most autobiographical works.

 

Tony Blair (b. 1953) is an Edinburgh-born Labour Party politician who served as Britain’s prime minister from 1997 to 2007. Under his leadership, Britain joined the U.S.-led coalition in invading Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Blair was succeeded as prime minister by Gordon Brown (b. 1951) who took office two months before le Carré penned our disgruntled letter. Under  Blair, Brown was the longest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer, and is criticized for increasing income taxes relative to inflation instead of earnings which resulted in fiscal drag. Our letter also refers to Eton, the elite public school with a reputation as a breeding ground for Conservative or Tory prime ministers, cabinet ministers and members of parliament.

 

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a controversial Anglo-American journalist whose columns appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, London Review of Books, Slate, and Vanity Fair. A self-described Democratic Socialist and antitheist, he was a strong supporter of the Iraq War but characterized the practice of waterboarding, to which he voluntarily subjected himself in 2008 for a Vanity Fair piece, as torture. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2010 and died the following year.

 

Folded with the original envelope as well as copies of Morse’s letters to le Carré. In excellent condition.


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