ALS to James Payn, [Monday] 6 October 1884 177x112mm, folded sheet, watermarked BASKERVILLE, VELVET WOVE, fine.
The Public Face of Wilkie Collins.
My dear Payn
By far the best translator
yet met with is the Italian
On the other side,
to be thought of, either by you
I go back tomorrow to
|James Payn (1830-1898), novelist, journalist and editor who was a friend of Wilkie's. His By Proxy was published in 1878 in two volumes. He is seen here in a Punch cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne published in 1881. The caption reads 'When he writes a novel Payn takes a lot of trouble; and when novel readers want some books, they take a lot of Payn's.'
Payn’s Some Literary Recollections was published by Smith, Elder in 1884. There is in fact very little in the book about Wilkie – his reaction to a book of Payn’s occupies 10 lines on pp. 242-243 – or his brother Charles, about whom a couple of anecdotes are told on pp. 255-258.
Wilkie's Italian translator is almost certainly Lida Cerracchini who translated La Vesti Nere (The Black Robe) published in Milan by Fratelli Treves in 1882 and Cuore e Scienza (Heart and Science) published by Eduardo Souzogno also in Milan in 1884. The latter volume says it is traduzione autorizzata (Authorised translation).