Item #40143 Typed Letter Signed to Fred Hunter, dated December 10th (1963). Ian Hamilton FINLAY.
Typed Letter Signed to Fred Hunter, dated December 10th (1963).


Typed Letter Signed to Fred Hunter, dated December 10th (1963).

Single sheet of yellow paper, typed on both sides, headed 24 Fettes Row, Edinburgh. Approx. 900 words.

Content includes Finlay’s response to a recent letter from Fred Hunter, with references to the Edinburgh bookseller, Cyril Barrow; Cid Corman’s collection, “For Instance”; his own forthcoming publications, including P.O.T.H. (“I love POTH etc so much”); a mention of his projected poetry collection, “Whistling In The Dark”, unpublished “because of lack of money” (see item #136); and ends with a polite request for financial support for Finlay and Jessie McGuffie’s planned edition of Edwin Morgan’s translation of Hungarian poet Attila Jószef (this failed to appear, also due to lack of funds).

Alec Finlay has written that “letters were [Finlay’s] favourite emblem of friendship”, and the passages in which he reveals his emotional frailty are especially revealing, particularly his anticipation of McGuffie’s imminent departure to America to marry Dick Sheeler, an early collaborator (though he is not mentioned by name): “I am getting on ok, BUT, am very worried about the almost-immediate future, as Jessie is going to USA to marry this sailor. She would rather marry me, but I find that difficult, and this damn sailor with his romantic simplicity, which will probably only last long enough, as such simplicity tends to, to create a miserable complexity for EVERYONE, has bust-up the statis quo (spelling?)…”.

Finlay continues with a reference to his agoraphobia (“my nervous trouble”), a condition which had plagued him since the break-up of his first marriage and for which he had received psychiatric treatment, including LSD therapy: “So, how (on account of my nervous trouble, and the physical confusion it causes often, and the way it makes shopping impossible, etc) I’ll survive after Christmas, when Jessie goes, I don’t know… It is very worrying. And very worrying about the Wild Hawthorn, too, as I'’l be in even worse financial trouble, then.” He signs off with the promise that “Next time you are here you must see my toys…”, and, in blue ink, “your friend, Ian”.

Short ink marginal note in Fred Hunter’s hand, and two small sections encircled in pencil. Old central horizontal and vertical mailing folds, o/w Very Good plus.