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"Should Well-known Authors 'Farm Out' Fiction?" The Author 14.5 (Feb. 1, 1904) p. 138.

SHOULD WELL-KNOWN WRITERS "FARM-OUT" FICTION?

SIR, — In your December number appears a contribution from "Proxy" entitled, "Should well-known writers ‘farm out’ fiction?" in which he attempts to justify popular authors in palming off, as their own original work, novels and tales written by "ghosts" in their employ.  "Proxy" supports his theory that such an act is perfectly justifiable by the argument "whether Blank himself actually writes the books or whether he employs someone to write them for him is really of no great consequence so far as the reader is concerned."

To the grocer who takes half-a-crown across the counter, it is of no great consequence whether the coin has been stolen or honestly earned, but pocket-picking is a felony nevertheless.

By the way, I find in this article an allusion to "poor Gilbert's inimitable humour."  I am much obliged to the author for his sympathetic reference to me, but why "poor"?  If he means that I am in embarrassed circumstances, I have much pleasure in assuring him that I still contrive to keep my head above water. If he is under the impression that I am a helpless invalid, it gratifies me to inform him that I am in robust health. If he supposes me to be disembodied, I am pleased to say that I am not even an author's ghost.

Yours faithfully,

W.S. GILBERT.



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