[Mayne Reid, Irish novelist on American themes.] Autograph Letter Signed to 'J. Froebel' [Julius Fröbel] regarding arrangements for the translation, editing and publication of his book 'Aus Amerika'.

Mayne Reid [Thomas Mayne Reid] (1818-1883), Irish novelist who lived for long periods in America and wrote on American themes [Julius Fröbel [Froebel] (1805-1893), German geologist and traveller]
Publication details: 
23 November [1858]; Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.
SKU: 22797

8pp, 12mo. On two bifoliums. In good condition, lightly aged. Folded twice. Signed 'Mayne Reid', and written from the sprawling 'Rancho' which he built at Gerrards Cross, in imitation of a Mexican hacienda. The recipient is named by Reid as 'J. Froebel', i.e. Julius Froebel, and the subject is arrangements for the translation translation of his book 'Aus Amerika' (Leipzig, 1857), which would be published in London by Richard Bentley in 1859 under the title 'Seven Years' Travel in Central America, Northern Mexico, and the Far West of the United States'. Reid is credited in the translation, but he here offers his assistance, going into great detail over arrangements for publication. He begins by stating that he considers Froebel's plan regarding publication to be 'the best that can be followed': 'Possessed of such data, as you propose to furnish, I think it will be possible to ascertain the amount wh a publisher would pay', after which 'it would be time to consider whether it would be worth your while to translate, or mine to edit the book'. He points out that, as he does not know Froebel's (German) language, 'the labour required to make a copy of the work (and I should not only have this to do, but reduce it to our idiom however well translated) would be quite as great as if I translated it from the original'. Were the book in French or Spanish he could translate it himself. He would 'much prefer editing a work from its original language than editing a translation. The labour required would field me in the ordinary way of my writing several hundred pounds, and as we cannot expect to get any such sum for a translation, it follows that my motive would not be from any idea of pecuniary profit.' The truth is that 'the motive that stirred me to speak of such a matter is that I felt regret that a book of such merit (as Mr [Finter?] describes yours to be) should go begging for a publisher.' Reid would prefer to find him a publisher 'without using my name', and should then 'take no share in the gains', but should this not be possible he will be happy to edit the book 'and then of course would expect to share in the remuneration'. He asks for 'a brief analysis of its contents, and a word or two about the pictures'. He discuses arrangements for the sending of the manuscript, and repeats that 'it would be necessary for me to translate the translation before endorsing it with my name. As to altering the spirit or matter of your work, I should never dream of such a thing.' One of the finest books he has lately encountered is 'a new book on Mexico by M. Sartorius. It has been reduced into English by some stupid fellow who did not comprehend the English idiom. The result is that a most valuable book is rendered not only absolutely incorrect but in many places absolutely unintelligible. Only those who have resided in Mexico, can comprehend my [?] of it.' The book 'professes to be edited by Dr Gaspey whoever he may be. Dr Gaspey shd be grilled for botching so excellent a piece of workmanship as M. Sartorius has given to the German world.'