Lot 167 of 256:
Original Manuscript of Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$96,000
Estimate:
$60,000 - $90,000

Title:
Sea of Cortez – Original Manuscript

Author:
Steinbeck, John

Place:
No place

Publisher:

Date:
c.1940-41

Description:
64 pp., handwritten by Steinbeck in ink, on disbound leaves from a logbook, comprising pp. 1-227 of the published edition of Sea of Cortez, ending at the top of page 227 with the sentence “And it is reasonable that this should be so, for active churning water makes not only a strong oxygen content but the constant movement of food and…” This is the narrative portion, written by Steinbeck, which comprised the first 277 pages of the book; the remainder of the 598 pages were the scientific portion by Ed Ricketts, and the index. The leaves measure 15¾x10½”. The original manuscript for the majority of the narrative portion of The Sea of Cortez, the collaboration of John Steinbeck and his close friend Ed Ricketts, a “Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research” in the Gulf of California. The top of the first leaf is inscribed and signed by Steinbeck: “For Ernie Martin, don’t read this, John Steinbeck, Xmas 1954.” Broadway producer Ernest H. Martin collaborated with Steinbeck on a number of projects and proposed projects, perhaps most notably the conversion of Cannery Row into a musical, Bear Flag Café, which became the novel Sweet Thursday and the musical Pipe Dream. Steinbeck gave Martin this manuscript towards the end of the Bear Flag project.

There are a number of minor differences with the published book, as well as several significant ones. One which seems to permeate the work is the conversion of the first person singular pronoun “I”, to the plural “We.” There are many paragraph marks ¶ in the manuscript, but these are not always adhered to in the book, and there are many paragraph separations added. There are a number of corrections and deletions within the manuscript. Most of the leaves had light pencil cross-outs or lines, undoubtedly indicating that the portion had been transcribed.

Among the “minor” differences with the published book, one may be found on p. 28 of the manuscript, corresponding to p. 82 of the book. In the manuscript: “Near by the sword fish played about. They seem to play in pure joy or exhibitionism. They leap clear of the water and come crashing down and sometimes they turn over in the air flashing in the sun shine.” In the book: “Near the moving boat swordfishes played about. They seemed to play in pure joy or exhibitionism. It is thought that they leap to clear themselves of parasites; they jump clear of the water and come crashing down, and sometimes they turn over in the air and flash in the sunshine.” Another example occurs on page 47 of the manuscript, and p.164 of the book. In the manuscript: “…The great fact is that they are there. One, seeing a school of fish lying quietly in the still water, all the heads in one direction, says, ‘It is remarkable that this is so.’ But it isn’t remarkable at all. We start from the wrong end. They lie that way and it is only remarkable because we cannot with our blunt tools carve out a human reason…” In the book, the passage reads: “…The great fact is that they are there. Seeing a school of fish lying quietly in still water, all the heads pointing in one direction, one says ‘It is unusual that this is so’ – but it isn’t unusual at all. We begin at the wrong end. They simply lie that way, and it is remarkable only because with our blunt tool we cannot carve out a human reason…”

Among the more significant differences: The Introduction to the book begins differently in the manuscript, reading “Why should patterns, observations, experience and generalization arrived at be set down with attempted veracity. Why is an expedition to Thibet undertake, or a sea bottom dredged…” Most of pp. 21-22 in the manuscript (which follow p.64, the end of Chapter 8, in the book) are not used in the book. This regards the activity of collecting. On p. 24 there is a large “asterisk” following the phrase “But we are better that those who consider the animals vulgar. And so we’ll let the book fall as it may.” Following this (which is equivalent to “But some later men found their methods vulgar” at the top of p.69 of the book) in the book is a passage on the naming of animals not in the manuscript. Most of pp. 21-22 in the manuscript (which follow p.64, the end of Chapter 8, in the book) is not used in the book. Most of this regards the activity of collecting. On p. 24 there is a large “asterisk” following the phrase “But we are better that those who consider the animals vulgar. And so we’ll let the book fall as it may.” Following this (which is equivalent to “But some later men found their methods vulgar” at the top of p.69 of the book) in the book is a passage on the naming of animals not in the manuscript. On page 43 the manuscript, corresponding to p.132 of the book, Steinbeck writes, “…70% of the total population leaving their remainders as government wards.” This is followed by an asterisk, with a connecting note in the upper margin “paper on teleology.” In the printed book there follows 19 pages of philosophical musings, not present in the manuscript, which goes on to the beginning of the next chapter. On page 48 of the manuscript (167 of the book), there is a paragraph not published in the book, following the passage about the ice-plant breaking down. The paragraph, about preserving collections, begins: “Our preservation and labeling had been in containers as small as possible, tubes and small jars, the labels of time, place and position written in India ink and placed inside the jar…” On p.51 of the manuscript, a passage on the sea otter refers to an expedition sent out by the California Academy of Science; this is modified in the book to a “learned institution,” and the academy is not mentioned. On p. 57 of the manuscript (p. 202 in the book), following the phrase “Back on board at about eleven-thirty we sailed for San Carlos Bay,” is a passage of 12 lines, discussing collecting and related topics, not present in the book. On p.62 of the manuscript, after the end of chapter 22 (p.217) in the book, is a 13-line passage of philosophical musings on natural selection not present in the book.


Lot Amendments

Condition:
Some minor soiling, etc., very good or better.


 
Item number:
183644
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