DAHL, ROALD

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DAHL, ROALD - 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Author Writes to Playboy Magazine Executive Editor
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DAHL, ROALD - 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Author Writes to Playboy Magazine Executive Editor

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DAHL, ROALD. (1916-1990). British author best known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. ALS. (“Roald Dahl”). 1p. Tall 4to. New York, October 14 [1955]. To American writer and Playboy Executive Editor RAY RUSSELL (1924-1999).

 

“Sorry not to have answered your letter before, but I’ve been away in England. I’ve told my agent about your inquiry (Ana Watkins, 77 Park Ave. N.Y.) and she said she’d be happy to try to help you if you’d like to get in touch with her direct…”

 

Although best known for his works for children, Dahl enjoyed a distinguished and adventurous career as an oil executive in Africa, World War II fighting ace, and assistant air attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., during which time he also provided intelligence to MI6. His first published story, Shot Down Over Libya, appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1942, and his first children’s book, The Gremlins, was based on a Royal Airforce legend. Beginning with that work, Dahl discovered the genre that would make him famous, publishing such popular works as James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryand Fantastic Mr Fox.

 

However, Dahl was also successful as a writer of macabre and adult stories, usually with a surprise ending. “The writing relies on wicked twists: the sickly infant, saved, who grows up to be Adolf Hitler; the visitor to a taxidermist’s bed-and-breakfast who discovers, too late, the taste of bitter almonds in his tea,” (“Roald Dahl’s Twisted, Overlooked Stories for Adults,” The New Yorker, Ulin). The 51 stories, three of which earned him Edgar Awards, were published in Colliers, Harpers, The New Yorker, Esquire, andPlayboy. Among Dahl’s stories published by Playboy are “Genesis and Catastrophe: A True Story,” in 1959, “The Visitor,” “The Last Act,” “The Great Switcheroo,” and “The Surgeon.” His final collection of short stories was “‘Switch Bitch,’ four longer stories of sexual indiscretion, first published in Playboy,” (ibid.). Throughout these stories, “there are running themes of vice and eroticism and as well as the darker cruel exploits and moralistic comeuppance that are familiar from his kids novels. “The Great Switcheroo” is a tale of wife swapping for a one-off darkened sex session between neighbouring couples without the wives knowing. Chocolate manufacturing or oversized peaches this ain’t, but then again these stories were designed for an adolescent male audience in a pre-politically correct age where casual misogyny went more unnoticed than now,” (The Roald Dahl Who Wasn’t for Kids,” The Guardian, Huq).

 

Russell was a prolific writer of horror and science fiction stories, novels and screenplays, whose best known work is the short story “Sardonicus,” published in Playboy in 1961.

 

Penned in black ink on yellow, lined legal paper. Folded with a few tears in the upper margin and some uneven age toning. Another hand has identified Dahl’s name beneath his signature. In fine condition. Accompanied by a carbon of Russell’s initial letter which describes Playboy as “a rapidly-growing magazine for the urban man” for which “we feel your work is very well suited.” Also included is the December 1959 issue of Playboy featuring one of Dahl’s stories. Dahl is a surprisingly uncommon autograph.

 


This autograph will be auctioned live on May 23, 2018. For more information and to place your bid click the "BID NOW!" button above.
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