Gilbert's Letter to The Times of 11 April 1882
Issue 30478, pg. 9 col B


Dramatic Copyright


Sir,--In The Times of to-day Mrs. Litton-Robertson writes as follows:--

"On the other hand, Mr. W.S. Gilbert dramatizes for me a version of Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations." From a public point of view Mr. Gilbert adapts a successful play; and I would here remark that Mr. Gilbert was not attacked by the critics of the day as a pirate and a robber for adapting Charles Dickens's story; but that directly Mr. Hamilton, a young and unknown writer, ventures to adapt Ouida's novel "Moths" a torrent of abuse is poured out."

The cases are not exactly parallel. Before I commenced to adapt "Great Expectations" I applied for, and obtained, the express permission of Mr. Charles Dickens, jun. If Mr. Hamilton had obtained "Ouida's" permission to dramatize "Moths," the critics would have had nothing to say against his course of action.

I have adapted only one other novel--"Ought We to Visit Her?" In this case I purchased the right of adaptation from Mrs. Edwardes, whose name appeared on the playbill as part-author of the play.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Savoy Theatre, April 8

W.S. GILBERT

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