Saturday, June 04, 2005


The Ragged Trousered Authors

Guess what? Turns out that socialist writing doesn't pay!

I know, I know... who knew?

But it's not quite what you think. As today's Guardian reports:

Forty-five years ago, when British television dramatised Robert Tressell's classic novel of socialism The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Tressell's granddaughter Joan and her husband, Reg, were too poor to afford a TV set. Wellwishers had to buy them one so that they could watch.....Philanthropists has run through at least 111 editions since it was published in 1914, three years after Tressell's death. Eight stage adaptations have been made. Yet the family has received only the £25 originally paid to the author's daughter Kathleen by the publisher Grant Richards after he discovered that she kept the manuscript under her bed. Kathleen Noonan (Tressell's real surname) received no contract but signed a letter written by Richards which made her say: "You hand over all rights".

Well, at least she didn't submit it to a Twentysomething Contest....

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