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Uncommon ALS by Author of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Signed by John Le Carré

Item: 20194
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CARRÉ, JOHN LE (DAVID CORNWELL). (b. 1931). British intelligence officer and author of some of the best-known works in the espionage genre. ALS. (“John le Carré”). 2pp. 4to. Penzance, October 6, 1995. On his personal stationery. To his friend and correspondent, Maine obstetrician Willard J. Morse Jr.

So much to thank you for! We are building a birdhouse in the form of a Cornish chimney/lighthouse (granite base, brick top where the smoke gets hot) and our sculptor, or builder, or whatever he is, bears a close relationship with your Chipper. Except that his strongest suit is not the booze, but an absolute silent, terribly angry wife, who sits & glowers in the van all the time he works. Thanks also for the Choate News & of course the photograph of the finished work – slightly Concorde-like in the thrust, but as my sculptor w[oul]d say, ‘a lot going on there, a lot going on!’ I just returned from Central America to gorgeous Autumn weather here, & as soon as I finish this I’m going out to look for mushrooms. Thanks for writing, & for all your news. Safire bores me, I don’t know why. It’s the way he scratches the surface so deeply, perhaps, and knows everything, all the time, with a kind of chirpy righteousness that makes us all small. I couldn’t read the book, though as always he sent it me. I don’t expect he c[ould] read mine either. In a way, I hope not! Best to you all…”

Photo of John Le Carre at his desk

John Le Carre

Born David Cornwell in Dorset, le Carré, as he would later be known, was abandoned by his mother at age 5 and raised by his father, Ronald “Ronnie” Cornwell, who was a known associate of English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, and frequently in debt; he was once imprisoned for insurance fraud. After attending public school and studying foreign languages in Switzerland, le Carré was recruited by the Intelligence Corps and interrogated defectors from East Germany. Following his studies at Oxford, he began work as a spy, first for MI5 and, later MI6.

His first work of fiction, featuring George Smiley, was published in 1961; his best known works are The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Tailor of Panama, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Constant Gardener.

American journalist William Safire (1929-2009) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for the New York Times as well as author of the popular syndicated column “On Language.” At the time of our letter, Safire was a vocal critic of President Clinton and his wife. He later advocated war with Iraq, which le Carré vehemently opposed, and perpetuated the already debunked myth that Iraqi intelligence had conspired with one of the 9/11 terrorists. In 2006, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Safire was the subject of FBI surveillance during the administration of President Nixon, for whom he had been a speechwriter.

Written on the recto and verso of le Carré’s personal stationery. Folded and very fine. Accompanied by the original envelope, a photocopy of Morse’s letter to le Carré and a letter from his secretary written to Morse while le Carré was traveling abroad.

Uncommon ALS by Author of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Signed by John Le Carré

$850 • item #20194

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