DE LA MARE, Walter John (1873-1956). Series of twenty autograph letters signed, one autograph letter, and twenty-eight typewritten letters signed (several including autograph postscripts or continuations) to Dorothy Baker, The Old Park, Penn, and Twickenham, 19 March 1943 - 6 April 1956, most written on blue paper, one in pencil, approximately 46 pages, 8° in autograph and 38 pages, 8° typewritten (letter of 30 August 1947 incomplete, lacking last page). With 3 volumes inscribed by de la Mare to Baker: Crossings (London: Faber & Faber Limited, 1942), inscribed 'To Dorothy Baker , in memory of , a , Lecture , she , never ,heard. , March 1943'; Selected Poems (London: Faber & Faber Limited, 1954), inscribed 'For Dorothy , with love , W.J.'; A Beginning and Other Stories (London: Faber & Faber Limited, 1955), inscribed 'To Dorothy , with love from W.J. , October 1955'.
A SERIES OF CHARMING LETTERS TO A YOUNGER FRIEND, offering encouragement and friendly advice, referring to Miss Baker's adaptations of his work for radio, commenting on other writers, reminiscing and extending invitations to tea (once with Marie Stopes). The correspondence begins with a reply to a letter Miss Baker has written to the poet about her thesis (accompanying a copy of his Crossings: 'I am hoping too you have not chanced to see the book I am enclosing and am sending it because the original edition had a very limited sale and this is not only a new edition but contains Gwen Raverat's delightful woodcuts'), and follows her literary progress with enthusiasm.
'And three stories accepted -- that's very good going [...] I laugh to think of my advice about novel-writing. 'The Return' was a sort of attempt at a possible financial outcome -- hardly likely to prove a best-seller. The fact remains that the novel as a kind of book is the likeliest to amass a large fortune & to write what one most wants to, the best means -- even though the financial outcome is only an inch compared with an ell -- and, it may be, eventually the richest (!) -- of setting about it (I am leaving Hollywood out)'.
'Real small boys, outside and in, are very rare in fiction. Hardy could manage it, e.g. the boy in the 3rd class railway carriage; and so in his own way could Mark Twain. And Forrest Reid. And so have you. Your boy is as real as the soldiers, and as the little white cat'.
'Once on the Embankment I met Henry James; & once a corpse'.
For most of the period covered by the letters Miss Baker worked at the BBC. Her novel, The Street, set in the Black Country, was published in 1951. (52)