Author Topic: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech  (Read 590 times)

Helen1037

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«Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« on: November 08, 2020, 10:33:00 PM »
I have a few questions about the original version of «Captain Hook at Eton».  I’m not a native speaker so I apologize for any mistakes.

Barrie initially intended to reveal Hook’s past in a work entitled «Jas Hook at Eton, or the Solitary», which he wrote in 1925. Apparently he wanted to have it published in “The Flying Carpet”, an anthology for children, but for some reason he eventually replaced it with another story. Barrie brought up this topic again only two years later in the form of a speech, having been inspired by his visit to Eton on the Fourth of June. I’m wondering if there are any differences between the original 1925 version of the story and the speech. At the very least, the premise must have been changed drastically since Barrie’s conversation with the Provost around which the narrative revolves didn’t happen until 1927. I also found a weird snippet from the 1925 manuscript on New York Public Library site. Here’s what the description of Barrie’s work included:

Note
Holograph.
"Several of the boys smoked, and James ... felt it his duty to carry the names to the Head, who first swiped them, and then, telling them who had peached, concluded ... 'Don't kick him in my presence'": leaf 6.

https://browse.nypl.org/iii/mobile/record/C__Rb10743165__SJas%20Hook%20at%20Eton__Orightresult__U__X6;jsessionid=DF4796F5E43DBE9AC83C7E4AD56D8C30?lang=eng&suite=mobile

I’m honestly so confused about this material. There is no such thing in the 1927 speech and the extract looks like it was ripped out of context. Is it just some mistake on the library’s site part, or is this fragment really present in the 1925 version? If it’s the latter, are there any other additional paragraphs that weren’t included in the 1927 speech? I don’t know what to make of it and there is no possible way I can get my hands on the holograph. I perused jmbarrie.co.uk in search of information related to the subject but I didn’t find anything (l could’ve missed it though). I would be grateful for any sort of clarification.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2020, 01:53:32 PM by Helen1037 »

Brutus

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2020, 09:44:03 PM »
I don't think this question has ever been discussed on this forum and wasn't aware the story could have changed between the intended publication in the anthology and the actual speech at Eton. It is quite possible since Barrie often revised and rewrote his plays and other works. There's no mention of this in Denis Mackail's biography, which is normally very detailed.

If the NY Library holds the early manuscript, I wonder if one could get a copy? It'd be interesting also to check whether the Beinecke holds a manuscript version of the speech. Would anyone know?

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2020, 10:50:39 PM »
The Beinecke does indeed hold the autograph manuscript of the 1925 story (https://archives.yale.edu/repositories/11/archival_objects/2178484), but I recall reading that it was problematic to share Yale’s materials online. I tried contacting staff in the Arents Collection of NYPL (rarebooks@nypl.org) as @AskNYPL on Twitter suggested. I haven’t received any responses yet. Maybe Mr. Birkin knows something about the story/speech in question?
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 10:52:37 PM by Helen1037 »

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2021, 02:29:27 PM »
Update: I got a response from NYPL staff, a librarian confirmed that the quote does appear in the 1925 version of the story. They also provided me with photos of the holograph and the typed transcription that accompanies it. Those photos contained only a small, cropped piece of the text in which the quote appears, but that was enough for confirmation. The snippet itself is rather curious, astounding even: it seems to be part of a fleshed-out story from Hook’s school days. Here’s the text from the typed transcription (the beginning of the first sentence and the end of the last one are chopped in the photo):

«...the morals of his fellows. He brings one terrible indictment against the Head. Several of the boys smoked (we are speaking of far back days), and James, in an uplifting of the spirit, to purge the house, felt it his duty to carry the names to the Head, who first swiped them, and then, telling them who had peached, concluded with the extraordinary words “Don’t kick him in my presence.” Some hours later James returned to the Head, pale and limping, to say finely, “I forgive you, sir”, and, on being asked why, replied “Because I feel, sir, that in the ordinary...”»

The handwritten version has a continuation of the last sentence, but I haven’t deciphered it completely yet (as you all know, Barrie’s handwriting can be unintelligible at times). What’s unique and surprising about this text is that it differs greatly from the contents of the speech Barrie gave in 1927. The speech merely lists some facts when it comes to Hook’s life at Eton, whereas here we have an expanded anecdote with James actually getting to speak. From what I gather, Hook told on smoking boys, which caused them to be flogged, then he was beaten up by them for revenge, and then he came to the Headmaster to have a talk. If any of you wish to see the scans, you may contact me via email (2013arina@gmail.com), I’ll send them over to you.

As for the full version of the story, I’ve been told that it is theoretically possible to obtain a digitized copy for $150, but there’s no guarantee that the scans will actually be delivered. I’ve already placed an order for the scans and am currently waiting for curatorial approval (the documents’s copyright status should be reviewed).
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 06:15:17 PM by Helen1037 »

Brutus

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2021, 03:41:31 PM »
Well done for researching and pursuing this and how fascinating. I'd love to see - and I'm sure others would too - so you could send them to my email here jmbarrie1860@gmail.com. Andrew and I have been transcribing more letters from JMB these last weeks, so we might be able to help with deciphering your extract. We could also upload your scans on the database if you're OK with that.

As far as copyright is concerned, since all Barrie's works are in the public domain in the EU, technically the document from NYPL should be also - unless they're looking at it from the US point of view.

Thanks again! Great work.

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2021, 06:48:51 PM »
I’ve forwarded the message with the scans to you. Please let me know if you received the email.

Brutus

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2021, 11:08:26 AM »
I did, thanks - and have now replied.

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2021, 11:09:40 PM »
I made it. I received the cherished scans from NYPL library and now hold a photo-copy of the valuable manuscript, the contents of which are a gold mine of new fascinating information about Hook. The overall plot of the story is similar to the one that appears in the 1927 speech, but there are countless curious and important details elaborating on James’s character and boyhood as well as on his last visit to Eton. In my opinion, the initial version did a far better job in developing Hook’s bio and stirring readers’ emotions. It’s such a pity that it eventually got shortened and simplified and never saw print. Here’s an extensive list of significant details which don’t appear in the speech:

- After James had taken out some books from the university library, he obliterated the arms of the college from one of them with a knife and inserted “James Hook, his book’’.
- He left Balliol hurriedly, but the narrator hasn’t been able to determine the reason due to “the page in the books of the college which must have recorded the happening having been torn out”.
- “Hook was captain of the cricket XI of his house, and this entailed his writing, in a tome kept for the purpose, and preserved through the ages, a chronicle of his captaincy and a salutation to his successes. Such a manuscript in his own writing would now of course be of high value, but I have carefully examined the volume and Hook’s year is missing. On the other hand, I found him referred to twice by his predecessor, who says of one match: «J. Hook’s blob is what might happen to anyone, but he must learn to restrain himself when given out l.b.w.», and in another page, the boyish tribute: «this was the game in which J.Hook did the dirty.»” It seems that James was prone to unfair methods since youth.
- James edited the Eton Chronicle, but the official proof has gone.
- Hook’s contemporaries “recall a lad, not over cleanly, inclined to snivel and to twist the arms of delicate juniors untruthful and a glutton”.
- He prayed for victory in games, which was considered ungentlemanly by his opponents.
- When many Eton pupils sent the narrator their own photographs, he had a thought that “James might have come to a more reputable if less striking end had he been entered for some other school, a view that is shared by his aunt, from whom I got the dainty little picture of her nephew that accompanies this artice”. If only this story had been published as planned, we could’ve taken a look at a picture of young Hook... Honestly, it’s painful to realize how much potential was wasted.
- James’s aunt lived in an ivy-clad cottage near Gomshall and has occupied the position of schoolmistress for some time.
- She conducted the narrator “to the latticed, lavender-smelling chamber which had been James’s bedroom during his Eton holidays”. The room had the colors Hook had won at school nailed upon the walls, and the following description is almost identical to the 1927 one.
- The next paragraph is one of the most interesting and captivating passages of the story. The aunt showed some of James’s school letters. “To know oneself is notoriously difficult and perhaps the youthful James failed to do so. One gathers from these little outpourings that the reasons he got no prizes were (1) Mi’ tutor's deplorable spite against him, (2) that he was devoting so much futile endeavor to correcting the morals of his fellows. He brings one terrible indictment against the Нead. Several of the boys smoked (we are speaking of far back days), and James, in an uplifting of the spirit, to purge the house, felt it his duty to сarry the names to the Неad, who first swiped them, and then, telling them who had peached, concluded with the extraordinary words "Don't kick him in my presence."  Some hours later James returned to the Head, pale and limping, to say finely, "I forgive you, sir," and, on being asked why, replied "Because I feel, sir, that in the ordinary course of nature you cannot be long spared to us,” whereupon the unaccountable man, instead of being touched, again swiped”.  I’m a bit confused as to what James was trying to say and why the Headmaster flogged him, so I would be grateful if someone explained it to me.
- Hook’s aunt increased his sock money, and he gave the treats he had bought to “skinnier youths”.
- He never had any friends.
- At some point in time James held a clerkship in the city and attempted to fight robbers, albeit unsuccessfully (it’s very ironic, considering the fact that he later became a notorious criminal himself).
- Mr.Jasper (it’s “Jasper”, not “Jasparin” in this version) photographed James as soon as he saw him sitting on the Pop Wall, and the reproduction was supposed to accompany the story (yet another potential illustration we were deprived of).
- Mr.Jasper cried after witnessing James denounce his proud connection with Eton College and slink away. I’ve already mentioned it before, but the 1925 version is much more touching and emotional than its 1927 counterpart.
- Hook lingered in front of his tutor’s house and was gazing at his own room for a long time.
- The pirate destroyed all accessible evidence of his affiliation with Eton, not just the records in the Eton Society books. This is implied but never explicitly stated in the speech.
- James’s last greeting on the Fourth of June was the following: “Gratissumus Almae Matris filius magistro inform alumnis omnibus avete hoc IVto Iunii die ex Moluccis Iacobus Hook Floreat Etona”.
- His precious stones were lost in a “wretched completion among the crew of his successor about who could throw farthest”
- Among other possessions he kept a spoon with the arms of Balliol College, Oxford, on it, which probably means Oxford was at least somewhat important to him
- The phrase “O mine enemy” was recurrent in his logbook, and he had “an idee fixe that this person [Peter] and his associates could at will turn themselves into motes If dust dancing in the sun”.
- Hook wrote a letter to his aunt asking her to find out whether the Governing Body would accept his legacy, and, if, not, to keep it herself.
- “There never was any woman in his life, indeed it may be said with confidence that Jas Hook was universally loathed by both sexes”.

As you can see, nearly all of these nuances and additional passages are of importance and fill in some blank slates in the story of James’s life. They also liven up the narrative and add depth to James’s character, not to mention give food for thought. It’s worth noting that Barrie’s conversation with the Provost doesn’t appear at any point, consequently, there are no reflections on the dichotomy between good and great, and the Eton ghost is not present. Besides, Hook’s fear of water isn’t mentioned, and Barrie doesn’t  touch on the topic of Hook’s academic success.

I believe I covered the 1925 version exhaustively, and I’ve already sent the scans to jmbarrie1860@gmail.com, although I’m not sure if the message went through, so please let me know if it didn’t.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 02:40:31 PM by Helen1037 »

Brutus

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2021, 09:43:42 AM »
Fantastic, well done - and thank you for sharing! I have received the scans also, thanks.
It's also nice you didn't have to pay for these. Do you think we could share them on this database, with the appropriate credits?

Brilliant work.

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2021, 12:57:41 PM »
I’ll have to consult NYPL staff first and ask for permission. I’m concerned about potential copyright issues, so don’t upload the scans just yet, please.

What is the best way to formulate my request? Is there any specific information about your database that I should mention in my letter?

Brutus

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2021, 02:11:00 PM »
No worries, I won't do anything yet without the go-ahead. The copyright question is confusing for this piece,  since JM Barrie's works are in the public domain worldwide, except in the US for works published after 1923 which benefit from the Copyright Extension Term Act of 1988 (giving them an extended term of 95 years from year of publication). So, Captain Hook at Eton is public domain in the UK but as it was published in the 1930s, in the US it technically comes under the Extension Act regulations. However, as this piece is not the published piece but an earlier draft, I am not sure what would apply here...

I would suggest you request permission for posting them on this website as a useful tool for anyone interested in finding out more about Barrie and Peter Pan, on the understanding that proper credit would be given to them. The scans would be low resolution with a watermark, to avoid anyone just helping themselves for their own commercial purposes. Any requests for hi-res scans would be directed to the library.

Anyway, if the library says No, that's fine, we won't post anything but just redirect enquiries to them.

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2021, 05:27:17 PM »
Well, even if the library refuses, ordinary users will at least have some idea of the contents of the scans.

By the way, what do you make of Hook’s interaction with the Headmaster? This part wasn’t very clear to me.

Brutus

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 11:53:22 AM »
I'm a bit unclear about it as well. The headmaster obviously didn't take kindly to Hook forgiving him for landing him in trouble with the other boys - and commiserating about his eventual death - and felt it was patronising coming from a pupil, so punished him for that. A bit of Barrie's whimsy...

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 04:22:08 PM »
This interpretation makes a lot of sense. It’s interesting to see young James treat the Head so condescendingly, and this episode proves that the boy was temperamental indeed. Thank you for your response.

Helen1037

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Re: «Jas Hook at Eton» 1925 manuscript version vs 1927 speech
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2021, 11:34:31 AM »
I also have the manuscript from Beinecke Library now. The text is completely handwritten, there’s no typescript, which means I’ll have to try and decipher Barrie’s squiggles somehow. I deem it important to transcribe these writings at least partially, because some of the passages differ from the contents of the NYPL version. It seems that the Yale manuscript is the earliest outline, while the story held in NYPL is the final draft which was supposed to be published in the anthology. I have just begun to decipher the text, but I can already see that the anecdote of Hook’s flogging was completely altered: in the earlier version he had a confrontation with his tutor, not with the headmaster. When James told his tutor that he had forgiven him, the beak threw open his window and cried to the boys who had kicked Hook, “Kick him again”. I wasn’t able to understand what happened next (due to the handwriting), but I was slightly shocked by that part alone. Another difference I noticed concerned the books Jas borrowed from the university library: they were “of a philosophical nature and mostly of the ? (the word is definitely not “Lake”) School”.

Anyway, I’ve sent the scans to you, so you may take a look at them. If you wish to preserve them, I suggest you download and save the documents, as the files kept in Hightail are going to expire next month.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 03:39:19 PM by Helen1037 »