Details
The Magic Christian manuscript
Terry Southern
[SOUTHERN, Terry (1924-1995). The Magic Christian. Autograph and typed manuscripts, 1959-60.]

Approx. 250 pages in total, average 295 x 215mm. Housed in acetate folders in custom chemises in two red half morocco boxes.

The original manuscripts for The Magic Christian, comprising (1) the original working draft, approx. 150 pages plus typed title-page, including both autograph and typed sections, heavily revised in blue and black ink, with possibly a few pages of the printed text not represented; (2) the setting copy, approximately 85 pages, double-spaced, paginated 11-95 (complete), with some light autograph authorial revisions and extensive editorial corrections and directions to the printer in blue pencil; and (3) a group of 21 pages containing text not used in the book, approx. 20 autograph and typed pages with heavy autograph revisions.

"The Magic Christian is a short conte in which Guy Grand, a 'fabulous' billionaire, sets out to prove that every one has his price and will perform any exploit, however scatalogical or malodorous, if you have enough money to pay for it" (The Penguin Companion to American Literature, 1971, p. 237). In one of the more biting episodes Grand buries money under a gigantic pile of manure soaked with blood and urine, advertises "Free Dollars," and stands back to watch the fun. The black-humorist Southern's first book was Candy (Paris, 1955), a parody of Candide and of pornographic and salacious writing in general; this was followed by Flash and Filigree (1958), The Magic Christian (1959), and Red Dirt Marijuana (1967), a book of essays/articles reprinted with the blurb "Before there was Hunter S. Thompson, there was Terry Southern." He also collaborated on the film script for Dr. Strangelove (1963), and on the screenplay for the movie of The Magic Christian (1970), starring Ringo Starr, Peter Sellars, et al.

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