A Second Walter Greenwood? Edward A. Hibbitt, Salford novelist

On 17th February 1937, the Daily Herald published an article headed ‘Authors of the People’. A sub-heading underneath a photograph of Greenwood said: ‘Meeting Walter Greenwood re-awakened an old urge to write.’ The piece was by the prominent journalist Hannen Swaffer, who had reviewed very positively the play version of Love on the Dole, and often wrote about Greenwood’s work through the thirties and forties. (1) The article is based on an interview by Swaffer with an emerging Salford working-class novelist called Edward A Hibbitt. Hibbitt’s first novel, The Brittlesnaps, was to be published the next day by the publisher Duckworth. Swaffer tells the story of Hibbitt’s journey to authorship, including through a significant amount of direct quotation of Hibbitt himself:

[Hibbitt] started writing seriously because of a chance meeting with a credit draper’s canvasser. ‘I’m having a book published’, said the canvasser, almost slavering with excitement.
‘I knew he’d been trying hard for a long time’, Hibbitt tells me, ‘scribbling his notes on wall-paper and cramming wrapping paper with microscopic writing. He expected to make about £30 from his first book.’
‘But it happened that the man was Walter Greenwood and the book was Love on the Dole’.
Greenwood and Hibbitt lived near each other in Salford and … ‘It was meeting Greenwood that re-awakened that urge [to write]. I was selling vacuum cleaners at the time’. Then on the ‘dole’ he began to write … ‘Greenwood was kind enough to read my efforts. He was famous by that time … I rewrote the novel. Anyway, rewritten it was accepted within a fortnight. … There is only one way for working-class literature to get the public it deserves, and that is for working men and women to demand it from their libraries. If only the public knew it would get far more enjoyment from reading about its own class than from vicariously living a parasitical life on the Riviera, it might help writers like myself earn a living. I want this not only for myself but for those others who are struggling for the expression of something they believe to be vital.’
‘There must be thousands of them, unheard of, working and hoping that one day they’ll break through. I know what they suffer and Greenwood knows. There ought to be a patronage of working-class artists. Someday I believe there will be’. (p.8)

This is a substantial interview with a newly published working-class author, and might have had various functions from Swaffer’s point of view. It keeps Greenwood in public view as a now established working-class author, it gives Hibbitt a publicity boost by linking his story to Greenwood’s, and it allows Swaffer to disseminate Hibbitt’s reflections on the difficulties of being a writer of working-class origin, and of changes in reading habits which could help address some of these obstacles. The article also captures an otherwise unknown snapshot – Greenwood in his last days as a ‘credit drapers canvasser’ and exhilarated by the acceptance of Love on the Dole by Jonathan Cape. (2) As the article says, Hibbitt himself had a similar living-on-commission job, selling vacuum cleaners (though not I take it in Hanky Park where these would hardly be seen as affordable?). Greenwood’s own escape from Hanky Park through publication is also repeated for Hibbitt when, after some advice from Greenwood and Duckworth, his novel of working-class life is also published. Hibbitt feels sure that there could be a greater market for working-class writing if working people themselves could see that it was more relevant to them than the fantasies of upper-class life which he (with a somewhat broad brush) sees as making up popular fiction. But working-people need to get their books from public libraries, so they need to help establish a demand there. ‘Patronage of working-class artists’ would help. That was certainly true. We know that even after Cape had accepted Love on the Dole, money did not follow quickly and that the novelists Graham Greene and Naomi Mitchison both helped Greenwood to access funds more immediately. (3)

To the best of their ability Swaffer and Greenwood are acting as patrons to Hibbitt, but the novelist clearly has in mind something more systematic, perhaps with an essential element of financial support. Swaffer briefly praises The Brittlesnaps, writing that, ‘[it] hasn’t a word of propaganda … it is working-class life, as Hibbitt sees it.’ The novel was quite widely reviewed, and Hibbitt also published a second novel, again with Duckworth, in the following year, Lowtown (1938). There was then a measure of success. Nevertheless, there were significant differences from Greenwood’s life-story, despite his and Swaffer’s best efforts on Hibbitt’s behalf. In particular, the interest in Hibbitt’s work was on a smaller scale and less sustained (though Lowtown was also reviewed). I can find no trace of Hibbitt nor of further novels after 1938.

While Hibbitt should be read in his own right, it does seem worth looking at his work in the light of Love on the Dole’s success too to compare how he represents Salford in the Depression and how he might have engaged readers, and to consider why his success might have been less marked. The reviews give us some specific (if specialised) readers’ experiences of his novels to begin with. The Illustrated London News thought Hibbitt’s first novel commendable:

The Brittlesnaps … concentrates on the working-class families that are tipped over into destitution when times are bad. He relegates the exploiters to the background and applies himself to an intimate story of people who live insecurely and, when they lose their jobs in the depression, suffer both material and spiritual calamity. He gives us the reckless courage of young couples who marry on an uncertainty; the heroism of the poor; the desperation of an old worn-out woman. He has tried out an original method in writing this book; and brought it off. It is a noteworthy first novel. (10/4/1937, p.46). (4)

Much here could also have been said pretty exactly of Love on the Dole, which was also about working people who could just manage in better times, but had no margin for survival if the economy worsened, and was also a novel which avoided blaming other sections of the social hierarchy for this situation, thus damping down possible alienation of some middle-class readers by avoiding explicit politicisation. The identification of ‘an original method’ was not often something said about Greenwood’s novel, perhaps because a ‘direct’ authenticity and truth to reality were usually seen as its main features. I will come back to this unexplained observation about the formal features of Hibbitt’s novel, which are addressed in more detail in some other reviews.

The Birmingham Daily Gazette also liked the novel:

This novel is an examination into the private lives of fairly representative people in the lower half of the social stratum. In the case of the Brittlesnap family, it is a minute examination of the circumstances of a luckless father, harassed mother, and their two grown-up sons. Incidentally, it throws into strong relief the problem – pretty common, no doubt – of the son whose marriage is delayed by filial duty to contribute to his parents’ support. That is a point of which the Means Test takes no account, but Mr Hibbitt shows how it may embitter the outlook of any couple concerned.

In addition to the Brittlesnaps, the fortunes are followed of Mr Pecksmith, Mr Upfast and Mr Onslow – each with his own particular difficulties to face. The author’s method of turning from one to another heightens the effect of ‘looking in’ for the reader; and the collected newspaper headlines, or film publicity superlatives, or refrains of theme-songs at the end of the chapters supply a sort of running commentary on the indifference of the world outside to these private lives (17/3/1937, p.10).

This is a very good account of the novel, with some more formal analysis. It is indeed set in a lower social stratum, its central focus being on a family who are, like Greenwood’s Hardcastles, ‘respectable’ in normal times. Mr Brittlesnap has been a qualified engineer (like Larry Meath), but is now unemployed. Mrs Brittlesnap is a very capable manager of her household, even under financial stress. All is sustainable if not ideal while the two sons, Harry and Herbert, are working (the first is a plumber, the second a book-keeper). However, once Herbert is also unemployed, the family can only just manage with Harry’s earnings and Mr Brittlesnap and Herbert’s dole. Benefit rules and the Means Test, however, lead after a period to both father and one son being denied any more dole payments (as happens to Harry Hardcastle too). Harry Brittlesnap therefore cannot marry his fiancée Alice at present. Under these conditions he must choose between her and family, as the review notes. This main story is indeed intercut (in a somewhat cinematic mode) by the stories of other characters from a similar social level in the main, who try to find their own paths through the economic crisis of the first half of the thirties. The other characters are significantly all male, so that employment and unemployment are clearly (and quite typically for the time) seen by the novel as direct experiences wholly in the masculine sphere. The intercutting technique, together with the apparently ‘found’ texts from popular mass culture at the ends of most chapters, is surely the ‘original method’ alluded to by the Illustrated London News (these techniques may show the influence of similar devices used by the American novelist, John Dos Passos, in novels such as Manhattan Transfer, 1925). Both techniques are forms of modernist innovation, moving away a little from the conventions of realism, though overall Hibbitt’s novel stays within those familiar literary codes. The review makes the acute point that the intercutting and the internalised narration somehow makes more intense the reader’s sense of seeing from these characters’ perspectives and experiences. The use in the novel of what look like found or real texts include examples such as these:

LOW WAGES FORCE MINERS ON RELIEF. EXPLOSION VICTIM DIES. INSTITUTING SHORTER WORKING WEEK. MOTHER AND SON KILLED. MORE PAY DEMAND. PENNILESS WOMAN’S SUICIDE. COAL PROFIT OF OVER £1,800,000. FLOODS IN CHINA. COTTON FIRMER. (5)

AN EMOTIONAL TRIUMPH THAT TUGS! AT THE HEART STRINGS! BRILLIANT IN CONCEPTION! STAGGERING IN PRODUCTION! THE GREATEST DRAMATIC ACTING EVER SEEN ON THE SCREEN! (p.126)

BABY, DON’T YA CARE ANY MORE?
Don’t ya love me like ya did before,
Say what’s come over you?
BABY, DON’T YA CARE ANY MORE?
Gee, honey, won’t ya tell me that ya love me?
Won’t ya give me just one little kiss?
Why, you’re as cold as the stars above me!
BABY, DON’T YA CARE ANY MORE? (p. 136) (6)

These represent (and are typical) of the three types of ‘collected’ text identified by the review, which sees them as showing the indifference of the public world to the characters’ individual (and indeed sharply individualised) lives. I think this is part of the effect, but I note, too, the stereotypical language and banality of all three types. In addition, the newspaper headlines seem to show a violent, chaotic, and disorganised world where the murder of an individual, suicide, large natural disasters, trade prices and profits declared are registered as all of equal value and significance, or insignificance. Perhaps in the end the only value of these headlines is that they are all news, a form of ephemeral entertainment, quickly consumed and discarded, not catching anything like the full truth, and therefore like both the songs and the film puffs. Like the intercutting (see novel’s contents below), these intertexts reinforce the reality of the intense individual experiences in the novel – they too are typical and every-day, they may also be predictable and stereotypical, and they are in a sense mass-produced by economic and social circumstance, yet they feel by contrast as if they are lived personal experiences, not commercial fictions.

The Brittlesnaps content

 

Two further reviews similarly recognised virtues in The Brittlesnaps though both saw it as important more for ‘authenticity’ than for literary merit (Love on the Dole was similarly often praised for authenticity, though its literary technique was usually seen as effective, if not innovative). The Western Mail reviewer, Herbert M. Dowling, thought the novel ‘constructed by a conventional formula’, but also that it was ‘impressive by its gripping literalness, its real knowledge of the economic conditions it describes’: ‘Constructive unity’ comes from the characters all being in the ‘grip of the same economic circumstances’ (18/2/1937, p. 11). The Aberdeen Press and Journal review is headed ‘Ordinary People’ and while it thinks the writing ‘pedestrian’, it too praises authenticity, seeing the novel’s value as in its ‘sincerity’ rather than in its ‘art’, and recording nevertheless that the reviewer’s attention was held by the story of the characters’ ‘commonplace lives’ (unsigned, 24/2/1937, p.3).

On the whole, Lowtown was less well-regarded when it came out a year later. The sub-title was ‘The Story of a Working-class Provincial’ and told of the economic stresses of Albert Palmer, but also of his sexual and religious development and experiments (the two are generally in tension whether he is in his Methodist, Roman Catholic or Unitarian phases). He finally arrives at an atheist and socialist position, a more liberated sexuality, economic security and a happy relationship (in short, a conventional happy ending). The Illustrated London News was polite but mainly lukewarm:

[Hibbitt] ‘knows everything about Lowtown and the Palmer family, everything about Albert and his ambitions, his failures, his love-affairs, the development of his soul; and every word he writes about them is true gospel. This study of a working-class youth is rather flat at moments, but it is never depressing; it holds one by a kind of nobility.’ (12/11/1938, p.44)

The Western Mail was completely unconvinced. The novel is ‘ill-written’, sounds as if it is a ‘translation from the Russian’ and its long exploration of Albert Palmer’s religious experience is ‘callow’ (as is Albert himself). (16/11/1938, p. 6). The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer was equally unimpressed: ‘Albert is not a very interesting figure’; ‘Mr Hibbitt announces [Albert’s] change of views, he does not show them taking place’ (26/10.1938, p.6).

Lowtown Title page

 

I think these are creditable reviews with a number of entirely valid criticisms. The prose-style and especially Albert and his family’s speech patterns are bizarre – I thought they were meant to be Belgian (not sure why, rather than Russian) refugees for at least the first two chapters because their stiff and unidiomatic language does indeed give the impression of representing awkward translation into English and gives them no detectable British class-identity, despite the promise of the sub-title. It is indeed notable, that unlike Greenwood, Hibbitt makes very little use of dialect in the representation of his characters’ speech in either of his novels – the majority are represented as speaking a fairly standard English (Albert’s family apart). This does seem to miss an opportunity to place Hibbitt’s characters more precisely in Salford. The development of Albert’s views is rather long-winded and the structure of the novel is rambling and repetitive, unlike the clear structure and rhythm of The Brittlesnaps. However, the seriousness with which the novel takes religious belief and engagement is notable and in sharp contrast to the lack of interest in religion in Greenwood’s work.

Of course, novelists have failures as well as successes, and the main purpose of this article is not to dismiss Hibbitt’s technique (his formal and thematic choices as a working-class writer are of considerable interest), but to think about why he was in the end not exactly a second Greenwood. I agree with the contemporary reviewers that The Brittlesnaps is the better of the two novels – it is lively, engaging and moving, with a tight structure and some effective innovative features which shows with economy of means how utterly trapped by poverty are working-class people in cities like Salford once the British economy had ground to a halt after 1929. It has strong similarities to Love on the Dole thematically, while also taking some different stylistic and structural decisions.

One similarity is the use of ‘meaningful’ or allegorical names, drawing both on Dickens and older traditions. Greenwood’s Hardcastle family probably derive their name (if little else) from the country-gentry Hardcastle family in Oliver Goldsmith’s play She Stoops to Conquer (1773), while his bookie Sam Grundy’s name refers ironically to Mrs Grundy – an archetype of propriety also originally created for an eighteenth-century play (Thomas Speed’s much less well-remembered Speed the Plough, 1798). Indeed, nearly all Greenwood’s names sound meaningful, though often, like Dickens’s names, suggestively so rather than as obvious personifications – think of Mrs Scodger, Mrs Dorbel, Mrs Jikes, Mrs Nattle and Mrs Bull, for example. Hibbitt’s use of names is often more strictly allegorical, and while Pecksmith (recalling Mr Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit, 1844) and perhaps Brittlesnap do sound Dickensian, the other characters Mr Upfast and Mr Onslow sound more like Bunyan characters (indeed the Western Mail saw the novel as being as ‘potent in symbolic suggestion as The Pilgrims Progress’). The Brittlesnaps are very easily broken: like the Hardcastles, they have little chance to save and therefore no financial resilience. Mr Upfast is desperate to climb the social ladder (as in fact is Mr Pecksmith who rather duplicates Mr Upfast) and will take any risk to do so, while Mr Onslow is a cautious planner for his future (but then he has some money, is securely employed, and some prospects of promotion).

Differences from Love on the Dole include the fact that while we leave the Hardcastles at the end of their story very much in the middle of an inescapable and unacceptable social injustice (Sam Grundy’s corrupt power and his exploitation of Sally are the only way out of poverty for the Hardcastles), Hibbitt is more inclined to wrap up firmly some at least of his characters’ stories so that the novel does not altogether end with a call for action, but with internal resolutions. So, while there are some desperate outcomes, the novel also provides some happy endings. Mrs Brittlesnap, after becoming ill, has a mental collapse, no longer recognises anyone in her family, and retreats into a private universe of unceasing silent monologue with herself (which may be a form of escape for her). Fortunately, Harry and Alice have in the end married despite the pressure to support his parents and brother, have taken out a mortgage on a modern house and are doing well. They take in Mrs Brittlesnap and care for her: after a lifetime of responsibility she now, at least, has no consciousness of care or anxiety. Both Herbert and Mr Brittlesnap find jobs: Herbert makes great efforts to survive as a newspaper canvasser, while Mr Brittlesnap to his amazement after long jobless years gets a job in an engineering works. However, here the later date of Hibbitt’s novel as compared to Greenwood’s shows: as another amazed re-employed man says, ‘It’s armaments … wot’s done it’ (p. 265). Mr Pecksmith and Mr Upfast are each in deep trouble (including being involved with dishonest activities), but both are trying to extricate themselves for the sake of a ‘good woman’. Mr Onslow has with enormous caution courted and married Doris who works in the same office, and they have bought a house together (the novel seems to see their tepid and business-like relationship as likely to succeed). Indeed, the novel’s happy ending is focussed on the Onslows – a worrying conclusion since they are the characters who start with some money and have the least claim to a working-class identity: there is an unfortunate final implication that thrift and middle-class living patterns are the universal way to success and contentment. This is in strong contrast to Greenwood’s commitment to the unhappy ending of his novel, which made the point that current poor working-class conditions were inhuman and intolerable. He repeatedly refused permission – and large fees – for the story to be rewritten into a happy ending for a film version (which would presumably have involved Larry Meath surviving to marry Sally and their joint defeat of Sam Grundy’s designs). (7)

Why in the end was Hibbitt less celebrated and less successful than Greenwood? This kind of question (as my colleagues in the Reading 1900-1950 Reading Group have often discussed Reading Group blog) is never easy to answer. One answer might be that, as suggested above, his first novel, though it has interesting features, does not finally ask so sharply the kind of urgent question which Greenwood’s did (and that is even more true of Hibbit’s second novel). Another might be that by 1937, Hibbitt was too late on the scene: Love on the Dole had got there first, along with successful novels such as Walter Brierley’s Means Test Man (London: Methuen: 1935). Apart from the picking-up towards the end of Hibbitt’s novel of the ‘good news’ (in employment terms) of re-armament, it perhaps does not add a new angle on the miserable experience of unemployment. And then of course there was no play version of The Brittlesnaps. Greenwood’s novel was a distinct success in its own right, but the play certainly expanded its audience enormously, and thereafter Greenwood and his succession of new novels and plays were rarely out of the news.

Perhaps, in one respect, the way I have told Hibbitt’s story slightly distorts things. It looks from what I have said so far as if he wrote one really rather interesting and artistically creditable novel and then a disappointing second novel. Actually, Swaffer’s article is very clear that while unemployed / underemployed, Hibbitt wrote two novels, presumably The Brittlesnaps and Lowtown, so the sequence may not be what it seems. It might well be that they were written concurrently in which case it may be more a matter of Hibbitt experimenting with different kinds of novel at the same time rather than losing his way as he went on. While The Brittlesnaps has some more experimental features, I think Lowtown might, despite its clear realism, be influenced thematically by James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1922), with its related exploration of sexual and religious experience from early childhood onwards (it was available, if not perhaps easily so, in the Cape edition of 1924). Greenwood clearly provided some advice as did Duckworth’s readers, but Hibbitt was very much self-taught and had to find his own pathways in very difficult conditions, as part of his interview with Swaffer which I have not yet quoted makes explicit. It is clear how hard it was, how determined Hibbitt was, and how much Greenwood’s support meant to him:

‘You’ll get there’ [Greenwood] told Hibbitt. That was enough. Hibbitt began to study aesthetics, criticism and French. He read Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, Jane Austen and Scott, and all the criticisms of their books he could find in the libraries Then he wrote critical essay of 5.000 words on a novel by each writer. ‘This was training’ he says. ‘I felt I was getting somewhere. I gave up smoking and wrote another novel’ …Then he tells of writing even on Christmas Day, of weeks of neuralgia, of having nine teeth out. By this time, he had a case full of books in English and French, all bought for less than the price of a decent pair of trousers. ‘I came across an old French-Italian grammar, and I learned Italian from the French. I discovered Dante.’

This auto-didactic course in literature is rigorous but quite mixed, including classic novelists while actually not mentioning anything more modern (which may undermine my guesses at possible influences).

This is not quite the same literary background as Greenwood’s, which was acquired more gradually. As he recalls in his memoir, There was a Time (1967), his mother came from a socialist and trade-union background in which a certain range of reading was very much valued, and indeed the young Walter had to habitually recite by heart a poem to his mother before he could go out to play: ‘before you go gallivanting have you learned the Wordsworth poem?’ (p.80). Honoured guests at his mother’s house are introduced to the family culture. Someone they first meet as a Labour canvasser is invited into the house, and [Mother] ‘to prove that he was in the presence of the converted, opened our bookcase and showed him her father’s treasures’ (p.172). The canvasser, James Moleyns, becomes a friend, and shows the young Walter his wedding photo on his mantel, ‘flanked either side by pictures of Robert Burns, Bernard Shaw, Wagner, Lenin and Keir Hardie’ (p. 173). Walter notes that James’ ‘collection of Bernard Shaw’s works was the paperback edition’ and he is duly lent The Perfect Wagnerite (p.173). On Christmas Eve, 1929, Walter loses his brief typing-job at a (sham) firm whose owners do a bunk without paying him the three weeks’ wages they owe. Nevertheless, it is notable that despite the family’s insufficient income, his mother gives him for Christmas, ‘three slim books, Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest in Messrs Dent’s Temple Shakespeare edition’ and told him to ‘get those in your noddle’. (pp.199, 201). As we have already noted, Greenwood draws on names from classic texts (the Hardcastles), and clearly also knows his Gaskell (Mrs Cranford with her desperate married poverty is surely an ironic reference to the more genteel unmarried poverty of Gaskell’s Cranford (1851-3 serial, 1853 book).

Of course, a good knowledge of literature does not necessarily make you a good writer, but it may help, and perhaps in the end Greenwood had a more secure literary background, as well of course as the very necessary luck of finding (not without struggle) the right publisher at just the right time. Nevertheless, both The Brittlesnaps and Lowtown are well-worth reading as forgotten working-class novels of unemployment, poverty and precarity, and as two different approaches to writing those experiences. I am pleased to have read both novels after Hannen Swaffer drew my attention to them, and to have had the chance to recover some of the story of an interesting working-class novelist from Salford, whom Greenwood and Swaffer did their best to help. (8)

The main problem for the prospective reader may be getting hold of copies of Hibbitt’s novels, which are not easily available, probably because they only went into one edition. I bought my copies about eight years ago and I think they were then the only ones available online (and without dust-wrappers – I’d love to know how they were marketed). Currently, there is only one copy of The Brittlesnaps for sale online (a Tauchnitz European edition, undated). (9) Swaffer’s article refers to a third novel Hibbitt is writing. I would love to know what it was about, what genre or style it adopted, and what became of Hibbitt after 1938.
Note 1. In the Daily Herald, 1/2/1935, p.16.
Note 2. This is no doubt Hibbitt’s dramatic reconstruction and stresses a sense of similarities between himself and Greenwood, but there may have been just such an exchange on one particular meeting. I would like to think so. A ‘credit draper’s canvasser’ tried to sell clothes on credit to those working families who could (usually) not afford to buy new clothes any other way, and the credit arrangement of course cost them more than paying upfront. As is explained in the novel of Love on Dole: ‘The clothes had to be made to last a twelvemonth, the procurement of which explained the presence of the Good Samaritan Clothing Club collectors in Hanky Park every Saturday noon. Two shillings a week for fifty-two weeks equals one new suit’ (Penguin 1992, p.76). Greenwood seems to have had this dreadful job for a period after his dole was stopped and while waiting to hear about his novel. In his post-war book, Lancashire, he gives a detailed account presumably from his own experience of all the tricks the ‘clubmen’ used to get people to buy and to collect the debt, on which their own meagre commission depended (Robert Hale, 1951, pp. 16-18). The whole of chapter 41 of There Was a Time is also devoted to an account of this occupation (see pp. 232-238). Mr Hardcastle in the novel does not want to get into such debt, but, in the end, it is the only way Harry can obtain a suit (novel, p.90).
Note 3. See Chris Hopkins, Walter Greenwood’s Love on the Dole – Novel, Play, Film, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2018, pp. 192-3, 203-4, 206. See also Christopher Hilliard’s discussion of relationships between working-class writers and (some) publishers in ‘Producers by Hand and By Brain: Working-Class Writers and Left-Wing Publishers in 1930s Britain’ in The Journal of Modern History, 78, March 2006, pp.37-64
Note 4. One might regard this as a rather brief review, but in fact it is quite thorough given that the anonymous reviewer deals with twelve new novels in their two-page article headed ‘Notes for the Novel Reader – Fiction of the Month’.
Note 5. All references are to the first edition of 1937 (London: Duckworth). This quotation is from p.89.
Note 6. I am unsure if these are real ‘found’ texts or not. I have searched online for a number of the song lyrics, but not yet found sources for any.
Note 7 Greenwood wrote in a letter to the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, (27/2/1940, p.6) that ‘Over the past seven years I have declined all offers for the film rights of Love on the Dole because none of the many film companies who wanted to buy would guarantee an unadulterated version.’ It was a position reported a number of times by the press.
Note 8. As so often, the British Library Newspaper Archive was key to finding such a treasure.
Note 9. Tauchnitz from 1841 until 1941 published English-language editions of British novels for use outside British copyright domains only (this was because the company respected international copyright before it was widely accepted and gained permission from the relevant authors and publishers). Hibbitt must surely have been pleased to see The Brittlesnaps in a Tauchnitz edition. See Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tauchnitz_publishers and an informative web-page written by a collector of Tauchnitz editions: https://www.tauchnitzeditions.com/ .