The Spouse in the House

  • Malcolm Bradbury


Now and again I get a letter in my mail which is a perfect pleasure to answer, and one of these arrived just the other day. There is no need to explain its subject. That should be perfectly clear from the reply I have been drafting, and will probably send — if, that is, my wife approves it:

Dear Miss (?) X,

Many thanks for your letter, which I read with very great interest—not something that I say about all the letters I get these days. Many of these come from people who want to become writers—a very humane and worthy desire, of course, but one which now seems to be reaching epidemic proportions, and I fear we shall all soon be crushed under a mountain of paper unless something is done about it. There are times when I wake in the blackness of the night and think that what we need is not more books but fewer of them. I have even turned towards the view that the reason wicked publishers reject so many manuscripts is that they are right. Of course I do try in all cases to be as helpful as possible, but quite often my heart is not completely in it. In any event there is no shortage of handbooks and creative writing courses to help with the matter. You will see now why I am grateful for your enquiry, which is quite different—and on a topic about which there are, as far as I know, no handbooks or courses at all. For you do not ask me how to become a writer, but how to become a Writer’s Wife—a much more interesting question.


Monogamous Marriage North American Literature Booker Prize Ideal Writer Literary Biographer 
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© Malcolm Bradbury Estate 2004

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  • Malcolm Bradbury

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