Llewellyn, Richard: How Green Was My Valley
(researched by Alison Twiss)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Published by Michael Joseph Ltd. At 26 Bloomsbury St., London, W.C. 1 England In 1939
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First Edition is in cloth. "toned opaque-wove paper made by John Dickinson".
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
327 leaves, pp. [1-6] 7-19 20-31 32-40 41-51 52-76 77-93 94-126 127-138 139-146 147-156 157-166 167-178 179-194 195-211 212-238 239-271 272-296 297-315 316-323 324-339 340-356 357-369 370-386 387-428 429-440 441-444 445-477 478-488 489-498 499-517 518-528 529-535 536-551 552-557 558-566 567-571 572-583 584-597 598-606 607-622 623-633 634-651 [652-654]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
This book is neither edited nor introduced.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
This book is not illustrated.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The book is "in Walbaum type, twelve point, leaded on a toned opaque-wove paper made by John Dickinson, and bound by James Burn." The leaves appear to be yellowed and slightly worn at the edges, but otherwise it is in very good condition. The print is relatively large and legible and there appears to be no siginifacant smearing to obscure any of the words.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper used is holding up very well over time. The leaves have yellowed, but remain in tact. Leafing through the pages, the edges feel soft to the touch and the faces feel smooth and slightly rough, as though there is a little something extra in the actual paper used to ensure durability.
11 Description of binding(s)
Has been rebound by library.
12 Transcription of title page
RICHARD LLEWELLYN [rule] / How Green was my Valley / [small mermaid facing away from us about to stab herself in the head]/ MICHAEL JOSEPH LTD. / 26 Bloomsbury st., London, W.C. 1 Title page verso transcription: FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1939 / Set and printed in Great Britain by William Brendon & Son, / Ltd., at the Mayflower Press, Plymouth, in Walbaum type, / twelve point, leaded, on a toned opaque-wove paper made by / John Dickinson, and bounded by James Burn.
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
The Department of Manuscripts and Records National Library of Wales Aberystyth Ceredigion SY23 3 BU.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Publication info: [S.l.] : Reprint Society by arrangement with Michael Joseph, 1941 1900 Physical description: 447 p. ; 19 cm. Source: Worldcat.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
1939, Michael Joseph, Ltd. London. (1940, Macmillan, New York.) Sources: Worldcat First Edition.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
London, Thirlby, 1939 New York : Macmillan, [Book club ed.]1940, 1961 London : Reader's Digest Association, 1997 1939 London : Penguin Books, 1991 Scarborough, Ont. : New American Library of Canada, 1968 London : New English library, 1986 Edition: 1st Scribner Paperback Fiction ed. Publication info: New York : Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1997 Bath, England :Boston : Chivers Audio Books ;Distributed in the United States by G.K. Hall Audio Publishers, 1992 London : New English Library, 1979 New York : The Macmillan company, 1956 1940 London : Michael Joseph Ltd., 1939 Publication info: [S.l.] : Reprint Society by arrangement with Michael Joseph, 1941 1900 Publication info: Prince Frederick, Md. : Recorded Books, 1994 Physical description: 14 sound cassettes (21 hrs.) : analog General note: "Unabridged." Garden City, New York : International Collectors Library, 1940 Toronto :London : Ryerson PressJoseph, Ltd., 1940 Edition: Ulverscroft large print ed. Publication info: F. A. Thorpe, 1965 Landsborough Publications, 1958 Penguin Books, 1951 Publication info: Bath, England :Boston : Chivers Audio Books ;Distributed in the United States by G.K. Hall Audio Publishers, 1991 Physical description: 12 sound cassettes (16 hrs., 15 min.) : analog, Dolby processed. General note: "Chivers Audio Books"--Container. General note: Complete & unabridged. Edition: A Laurel ed. Publication info: [New York : Dell Publishing Co., 1976 1967 Edition: A Laurel ed. Publication info: [New York : Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1976 1967 Physical description: 447 p. ; 18 cm. General note: "A Dell book." General note: Braille. Hempstead, N.Y. : Helen Keller Braille Library. New York : Pocket Books, 1940 Edition: [New ed.]. Publication info: [London] : Hodder & Stoughton, 1984 1939 Edition: 1st Collier Books ed. Publication info: New York : Collier Books, Macmillan Pub. Co., 1992 1940 London : Joseph, 1939 Edition: New ed. Publication info: London : New English Library, 1977 New York : Editions for the Armed Services, 1944 1940 Edition: [2nd Laurel ed.] Publication info: New York, N.Y. : Dell, 1988 1940 [n.p.] Macmillan, 1945 Edition: 4th ed. Publication info: London : New English Library, 1975 Mattituck, N.Y. : Aeonian Press, 1967 Garden City, N.Y. : International Collectors Library, ? 1970 1979 Mattituck, N.Y. : Aeonian Press, 1985 uuuu Edition: 1st Macmillan Hudson River ed. Publication info: New York : Macmillan, 1986 1940 New York, Macmillan, 1953 New York : Macmillan, 1962 1940 New York, The Macmillan Company, 1973 1940 London : M. Joseph, 1949 New York : Macmillan , 1943 Edition: [Book club ed.] Publication info: New York : Macmillan, 1940 New York, The Macmillan Company, 1942 New York : Dell Publishing, 1967 New York, Macmillan, 1949 1947 Publication info: 1979 Edition: Large print ed. Publication info: Leicester, [Eng.] : Ulverscroft, 1971 1939 Edition: A Laurel Edition. Publication info: [New York, Dell Publishing Co., Inc. 1976 1967 New York : Collier Books, 1966 Edition: Unabridged school ed. Publication info: New York : Macmillan, 1964 [New York, Dell Publishing Co., Inc. 1940 Publication info: Ulverscroft, [Leicester, Eng., F. A. Thorpe, 1939 Physical description: 2 v. Publication info: [s.l.] : Twentieth Century-Fox, 1941 Physical description: 169 leaves ; 28 cm. General note: "2nd revised final." General note: PUBLICATION TYPE: Book New York, Macmillan, 1964 New York, The Macmillan company, 1940 London, M. Joseph Ltd. 1939 Source: Worldcat
6 Last date in print?
Febraury, 2000. (Publication date July 1997, active record). Source: Books in Print.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
1940, 176,280 copies sold (through bookstores) Sources: 80 Years of Bestsellers, Hackett.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Article in Publisher's Weekly, 1940. Source: Publisher's Weekly, Index, 1940.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1999 1941 Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1999 1941 Dramatic highlights from How green was my valley by Richard Llewellyn. Publication info: Released by Living Literature 1969 Beverly Hills, Calif. : Fox Video, 1997 Bath, England :Boston : Chivers Audio Books ;Distributed in the United States by G.K. Hall Audio Publishers, 1992 Publication info: Prince Frederick, Md. : Recorded Books, 1994 Physical description: 14 sound cassettes (21 hrs.) : analog General note: "Unabridged." Publication info: Bath, England :Boston : Chivers Audio Books ;Distributed in the United States by G.K. Hall Audio Publishers, 1991 Physical description: 12 sound cassettes (16 hrs., 15 min.) : analog, Dolby processed. General note: "Chivers Audio Books"--Container. General note: Complete & unabridged. Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1993 1941 New York, NY : CBS Fox Video, 1990 Author: Dunne, Philip, 1908- Title: How green was my valley : the screenplay for the Darryl F. Zanuck film production directed by John Ford Edition: 1st ed. Publication info: Santa Barbara : Santa Teresa Press, 1990 Publication info: [United States? : s.n., ? 1970 1979 Physical description: 1 sound cassette (54 min.) : analog. General note: Dramatized. General note: PUBLICATION TYPE: Recording Title: How green was my valley : screenplay : revised final Publication info: 1940 Title: "How green was my valley" : continuity and dialogue taken from the screen. Publication info: 1941 Physical description: [ca. 175 leaves], bound ; 28 cm. General note: "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Richard Llewellyn's How green was my valley ... screen play by Philip Dunne ... produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, directed by John Ford ..." (leaf [1]-[2]) Author: Dunne, Philip, 1908- Title: How green was my valley Screenplay Publication info: 1984 Publication info: Mpls. [i.e. Minneapolis] MN : Metacom, 1983 1977 Physical description: 1 sound cassette. Davenport, Iowa : Blackhawk Sound :Distributed by Blackhawk Films, ? 1900 1983 Physical description: 1 sound cassette : 1 7/8 ips, 2-track, mono. Physical description: 8 sound cassettes : 15/16 ips, 2 track, mono. General note: Karl Marsh, narrator. General note: Recorded at the Branford Audio-Book Production Unit for the Connecticut State Library, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 1979. Text originally published: New York : Macmillan, 1940. Publication info: [s.l. : s.n.],DAK Industries) 1977 Physical description: 1 sound cassette (ca. 55 min.) : 1 7/8 ips, mono. Title: Dramatic highlights from How green was my valley. Publication info: Physical description: 1 cassette. 2-track. mono. Publication info: Farmington Hills, Mich. : Magnetic Video Corp., 1977 1941 Physical description: 1 cassette, 118 min. : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. General note: Beta 2. Source: Worldcat
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Title: Qu'elle etait verte ma vallee ! Publication info: Paris : Phebus, 1998 Physical description: 556 p. ; 21 cm. General note: PUBLICATION TYPE: Book Personal author: Vulliemin, Berthe Trad. Author: Teng-fei-li-fu. Title: Fei tsui ku Publication info: Shang-hai : Tso chia shu wu, 1949 Physical description: 2, 190 p. ; 19 cm. General note: Ying wen shu ming: How green was my valley. Title: Waga tani wa midori nariki. Publication info: Tokyo : Mikasashobo, 1951 Physical description: 273 p. ; 19 cm. General note: PUBLICATION TYPE: Book Title: Waga tani wa midori nariki. Publication info: Tokyo : Mikasashobo, 1951 Title: Bolo raz zelene udolie-- : roman Publication info: Liptovsky Mikulas : Tranoscius, 1946 Title: Com'era verde la mia vallata : romanzo Publication info: [Verona] : A. Mondadori, 1947 Title: So grun war mein Tal : Roman Publication info: Stuttgart : Diana, 1955 1950 Title: Qu'elle etait verte ma vallee! Publication info: [Paris] : Livre de Poche, 1972 Title: Hova lettel, draga volgyunk? Publication info: Budapest : Kozmosz, 1987 Title: Que verde era mi valle Publication info: Barcelona : EDHASA, 1980 Title: So grun war mein Tal : Roman Publication info: Zurich : Buchergilde Gutenberg, 1959 Title: Jag minns min grona dal Publication info: Stockholm : Bonners Folkbibliotek, 1953 Title: Com'era verde la mia vallata Publication info: [Verona] : A. Mondadori, 1958 1945 Title: So grun war mein Tal : Roman Publication info: Zurich : Humanitas Verlag Zurich, 1950 Title: Grnn varstu, dalur Publication info: [Reykjavik] : Helgafell, 1949 Source: Worldcat
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
Tetralogy: 1) How Green was my Valley, M. Joseph, 1939, Macmillan, 1940. 2) Up, into the Singing Mountain, Doubleday, 1960. 3) Down Where the moon is Small, Doubleday, 1966. 4) Green, Green My Valley Now, Doubleday, 1975. Source: http://www.galenet.com
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Richard Dafydd Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd, or Richard Llewellyn as he would later be called, was born in St. Davids', Pembrokeshire, Wales on either the 8th or the 10th of December in 1906. The novelist/playwrite/journalist/scriptwriter was born to his mother, Sarah Anne, and his father, William Thomas Llewellyn Lloyd, who was a hotelier at the time. Richard, a Roman Catholic, would grow up working in his father's hotels, starting at the Claridge's Hotel in London at the age of sixteen. This was following his education in Britain, a standard one of the times. He then continued to progress in the hotel industry, moving on to more exotic locales, such as Italy. In 1924, Richard enlisted in the British Army. He was stationed in India and Hong Kong for seven years, until 1931. But this was not the end of his military career. In 1940 he signed up to fight in World War II. He became a member of the Welsh Guards and served until 1946, another six years of military service. During this time he achieved the rank of captain. After his time in the armed forces, he moved to Dublin, Ireland. He lived there until November 30th, 1983 when he died of a heart attack in his "home town". But from the late 1920's until the time of his death, Richard Llewellyn was writing. While he was still in the military, he started work on his most famous novel, How Green was my Valley. It took him twelve years to write, and some time researching in the coal fields of south Wales. The book was an immediate success, selling over 50,000 copies in Great Britain in the first four months of its publication and over 100,000 in the United States (where it was published one year later). Llewellyn's first agent was Michael Joseph of Michael Joseph, Ltd., which was located in the heart of London and he was 33 years old at the time of publication. In addition to serving in the armed forces, working in the hotels and coal mines, Llewellyn also worked as a reporter for Cinema Express (starting in 1930). He became interested in the theater and film industry and went on to write many film scripts and a few plays. He even directed an award winning movie about steel making. In the late 1940's, he moved temporarily to the United States where he spent most of his time lecturing and writing for MGM. It was here that he met his first wife, Nora Theresa Sonsteby. He married her in 1952 but it did not work out and, after sixteen years of marriage, he ended up divorcing her in 1968. He then moved back to Ireland where he met his second wife, Susan Frances Heinmann, an editor. He married her on March 24th, 1974 and they remained wed until his death in 1983. Richard Llewellyn's papers are located in the National Library of Wales and include a variety of works including correspondence and never published or produced drafts. He is most remembered for his work How Green was my Valley, but almost every year since that novel he managed to produce at least one, sometimes two, works per year.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Richard Llewellyn's How Green was my Valley was well received both initially, and well after its initial publication. In its first year in print in the United States, it sold 176,280 copies without the help of book club sales. In 1941, a year after its initial publication in the United States, it was named "Bookseller's Favorite Fiction" (Publisher's Weekly, v. 139, p.837). Llewellyn was not present to accept the award, but did so over the phone from England. This shows the general public's affinity for this kind of writing. The book is a story about a family in the coal mines of Wales and this was appealing for many reasons, not the least of which would be the author's writing style. His style was probably as strong as it was due to the fact that he worked and re-worked the novel itself for 12 years before trying to publish it. But the book was well received by both the public and critics. "Critically, Llewellyn received glowing tributes, while John Ford's film of the novel won the Oscar for best film in 1941. In terms of popularity and critical acclaim, the novel remains Llewellyn's masterpiece, and, considered as literature, it marks a degree of success that he has never quite achieved since." (Dictionary of Literary Biography, p.325). The critics kind reviews also contributed to more people buying the book that year than The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Good reviews not only give the novel more publicity than it had originally, but they also give it a solid reputation. These are contributing factors to the positive and welcoming reception that this novel received in its American debut.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Richard Llewellyn's How Green was my Valley was well received both initially, and well after its initial publication. In its first year in print in the United States, it sold 176,280 copies without the help of book club sales. In 1941, a year after its initial publication in the United States, it was named "Bookseller's Favorite Fiction" (Publisher's Weekly, v. 139, p.837). Llewellyn was not present to accept the award, but did so over the phone from England. This shows the general public's affinity for this kind of writing. The book is a story about a family in the coal mines of Wales and this was appealing for many reasons, not the least of which would be the author's writing style. His style was probably as strong as it was due to the fact that he worked and re-worked the novel itself for 12 years before trying to publish it. But the book was well received by both the public and critics. "Critically, Llewellyn received glowing tributes, while John Ford's film of the novel won the Oscar for best film in 1941. In terms of popularity and critical acclaim, the novel remains Llewellyn's masterpiece, and, considered as literature, it marks a degree of success that he has never quite achieved since." (Dictionary of Literary Biography, p.325). The critics kind reviews also contributed to more people buying the book that year than The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Good reviews not only give the novel more publicity than it had originally, but they also give it a solid reputation. These are contributing factors to the positive and welcoming reception that this novel received in its American debut.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Richard Llewellyn is not your typical best-selling author. He spent 12 years writing How Green was my Valley during which he was enrolled in the armed services and researched the life of an average coal miner in the field by actually living and working in a coal mining town in Wales. He traveled to India and Hong Kong while in the service, but ended up moving to Dublin after the publication on his novel. Perhaps it was the painstaking effort that he put into the actually writing and research, perhaps it was the audience's preparedness, or perhaps it was just a good story. For whatever reason, this book became a bestseller. Many bestsellers appear to be the result of either a well known author or sufficient advertising. The existence of book clubs also helps the sales of certain books (the Oprah Effect). Sleepers, books that become popular via word of mouth, are type of bestseller too. But this book was none of these. This book came out of the blue. There was no preliminary advertising and there was no author named Richard Llewellyn until this book was published. And it was an immediate success. Not only was it an instant blockbuster in England, but when it was published in the United States the following year, it did incredibly well, if not better than it had done in the UK. It is not alone in this phenomenon. Also falling into this category (blockbusters by first time authors) are such books as Peyton Place, Semi-tough, The Other, and Auntie Mame. While the exact situations in which these books were published is not the same, they are all from first time authors and all made the bestsellers list. While Llewellyn's book is not riddled with double meanings and does not have a trick ending, it is a very well written story that was thoroughly researched before being meticulously woven together. Combined with a receptive audience this made for a bestseller. This particular book gained fame and popularity shortly after it was released and is now termed a classic because of this, although a contributing factor could have been that a film version of the novel was produced that same year. The recipe for his success can be deciphered by looking at a few aspects of this novel comparing them to others that also have these same aspects. The three elements that are present in this and a few other bestsellers are the existence of genre stereotypes, the first time author phenomenon, and the researching aspect of writing a successful novel. In content and writing style, this novel can easily be compared to Sons and Lovers and Angela's Ashes. Llewellyn's book is about a young man's journey to adulthood while living in the coal fields in Wales. Similarly, D. H. Lawrence wrote about another young man's growth to a mature young man in his novel Sons and Lovers. The similarities between these books is very apparent in more than one way. In both, the hero finds himself in a working class neighborhood that is run on the coal trade. In both, the families are complete with a mother, father, and a few siblings and both are situated in the English country. The difference between the exact situations is that in the case of Huw in How Green was my Valley and the case of Paul Morel in Sons and Lovers is that Huw does not realize the quality of life he has with a loving family and enough food for everyone, whereas Paul is actually in a bad situation that he must rise above. This is apparent in the end of both novels where Huw ends up looking back with sorrow at his losses and Paul is left looking towards the light of London, leaving his life-time of indentured servitude to his family behind him and looking ahead to his bright future on the horizon. Angela's Ashes is also a story about a young man growing up. It takes place in the same general area of the world, but not the same country. It ensues in the lanes of Limerick, Ireland. But the aspects of camaraderie with one's classmates, first loves, and other obstacles familiar to growing up in England and Ireland are present. There are more differences between this novel and Llewellyn's than there are between Lawrence's novel and Llewellyn's. These lie in the fact that they take place in different countries, different settings (country versus urban), and have different outcomes. In the end of McCourt's novel, Frank is looking forward to a promised land of attainable wealth and prosperity. The last scene is that of the young man riding into New York harbor with high hopes of a solid future. The last sentence in How Green was my Valley is "How green was my Valley, then, and the Valley of them that have gone." (p.651). In this sense, Huw is looking back, not forward. There is a sense of loss rather than a sense of triumph and gain. This can partially be attributable to the fact that he has actually lost someone, but the difference highlighted here is that of positive, progressive outlook versus sorrowful, reminiscent outlook. Also contributing to the novel's popularity was the production of a film version the same year it was published in the United States. The film was produced by John Ford and won the Oscar that year for "best film" (1941). The phenomenon of a film creating a larger audience for a book makes sense. People always say that the book is better than the film and, because of this, many people want to either read the book before watching the film, or read it afterward to see what the differences are. For whatever reason, the publication of a novel in another media almost always contributes to the popularity and, in turn, the increased sales of a novel because of the increased access to it. Another phenomenon that should be investigated when trying to figure out what makes this and other books a bestseller is that of the first time authors. This was Llewellyn's first novel. He researched it by working in the coal fields in Wales between the time he spent in the armed service. It took him twelve years to write and, after having written this, he proceeded to write, on average, two novels per year. None of these subsequent novels received nearly as much attention as his first one did, not even the three sequels he put out, Up, into the Singing Mountain, Down Where the moon is Small, and Green, Green My Valley Now. Similarly, Peyton Place had a sequel that did not fare as well as the first book. Another similarity between the two is that Peyton Place was made into a television series and a movie, both contributing factors to the success of the novel. Differences between the two lie in the issues dealt with in each one. Llewellyn does not push the social values of the time, while Grace Metalious definitely does. She uses sex and scandal abundantly in her novel while Llewellyn incorporates more romance than sex, perhaps another factor that contributed to the overwhelming success of her novel due to an audience that was more prepared. The audience's preparedness can be attributed to the fact that over fifteen years had elapsed between the publication of Llewellyn's novel and hers. If Metalious had tried to get her book published in 1940, it would not have happened because even seventeen years after How Green was my Valley, it was still tremendously controversial. Controversy has always attracted people. It is human nature to be curious about taboo subjects, otherwise, the field of Anthropology would not exist because that, I have found over the past four years, is a discipline centered around taboos and controversy. Semi-tough is another example of a first time author having great success in his first appearance. Dan Jenkins, a writer for Sports Illustrated, produced this book in 1972. Like Llewellyn's book, it was published around war-time, but the subject matter is very different. The fact that both were incredibly successful could have something to do with the wars. World War II had just recently started when Llewellyn published his book. That Americans would need more violence than was occurring in Europe does not seem likely. It has been said that, during a war, people like to read about happier, lighter subjects. This could be one of the reasons why Llewellyn's book, about a family in the coal fields, was so well received at the time. Americans knew that we had to intervene in the war, and did so on behalf of their country. There were no protests comparable to those that ensued upon America's entry into Vietnam. Jenkins' book was published in the middle of the Vietnam War controversy. It involves a lot of vulgarity, profanity, sex, and violence, but despite the fact that we were involved in the war and the book was not a lighter read, it did very well. This could be because the attitudes at this time were markedly different than those during the second World War. There was tremendous social upheaval in the form of protests and draft dodging that was all over the news. It might have been that because of this reaction to the war, the public was looking for a different kind of outlet that came in the form of this particular book. This book was also made into a television series and a movie which have been identified as contributing factors to the sales of a novel. Another strikingly different book that made the bestseller list is Thomas Tryon's The Other. While both he and Llewellyn were involved in the film industry at one time in their lives, Tryon's novel grew out of his involvement and Llewellyn's involvement grew out of his novels. Screenplays were the force that tied them into both the world of literature and the world of film. Unlike How Green was my Valley, Patrick Dennis' Auntie Mame was advertised before it came into print. Publisher's Weekly promoted it in its "buyer's forecast" in 1955 in the January 1st edition, and subsequently when it was published and released to the public. Perhaps he did this because he had been working in the advertising industry for the previous ten years and had seen how promotion helped sales so much. This heavy advertising inevitably boosted sales so, while this might have been Dennis' first novel, it was different in that it was promoted before it came into print. Llewellyn did not advertise his novel. It had already been successful in England the previous year (1939), and although not advertised in the US, it became an immediate bestseller. He did not have any experience in the advertising world, although he would have been exposed to it through his working the field of journalism. Another shocking difference between the two novels is that Dennis wrote his book in ninety days. Three months of writing is a lot less than twelve years. Although he actually wrote the book in three months, he had been planning it for a few years before that. And then he tried to get the work published for five years before Vanguard stepped forward. Llewellyn did not have trouble finding his initial publisher in London, Michael Joseph, Ltd.. That was the first publisher he gave the manuscript to and they accepted it with minimal changes to be made. Dennis had to go through fifteen publishers before he could find one that would publish his work. Like most of the bestsellers we have seen so far, this one was made into a film and redone twenty years later in an updated film version of the first one. These contributed to the novel's ongoing success and also to the fact that the novel is still in print today. Researching what you are writing about is incredibly important to the success of a novel as well. If an author does not appear to know what he is talking about, the work will, most likely, not do very well. Llewellyn spent years doing research for his first novel. He went and lived in a small mining town in Wales where he got to know the local coal miners, their thoughts, beliefs, and customs. He also experienced, first-hand, what it was like to toil away, under the crust of the earth all day long; what it was like to miss daylight completely and be breathing the soot-filled air for hours on end. Through the various descriptive passages and word choice, the reader truly believes that his characters are real and the life they live is believable. Such meticulous research is also apparent in Semi-tough. In Jenkins' novel, he writes about a fictitious football player who ends up going to the superbowl. He wasn't a football player himself, but he did work in the field as a writer for Sports Illustrated and eventually became a senior writer and an editor. He did this over the course of 22 years and, during that time, he picked up a pretty good idea of what it would be like to be an actual player. The difference between the research that he did and the research that Llewellyn did is that he did not play the game himself. So while he probably did get a pretty good feel for what it would be like, he was not writing from his own personal experience. Llewellyn, from his years in the coal mines, had an insider's perspective on the life of a miner. Either way, they both achieved a level of writing that made the readers truly believe what they were reading and this contributed to the success of both of the books. There are many reasons a novel becomes a bestseller including the mere fact that the book is well written and tells an interesting, believable story. This is the case of How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn. He meticulously researched and wrote this work over the course of twelve years. There were no book clubs and there was no pre-publication advertising of the novel. It was an immediate blockbuster by an unknown author. It did not have the shock value of Peyton Place or Semi-tough, nor did it have the endless plugging that Auntie Mame did. It was simply a case of a receptive, war-time audience and well written, believable and touching story of a family in the coal fields of Wales.
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