Stewart, Mary: This Rough Magic
(researched by Angie Stille)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Mary Stewart. This Rough Magic. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1964. Copyright: Mary Stewart Parellel First Editions: Mary Stewart. This Rough Magic. New York: M. S. Mill [distributed by Morrow], 1964.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First American and British Edition published in Hardcover
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
144 leaves [1-6] 7-284 [285][3]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
No editor or introduction. Dedicated to John Attenborough. An Author's Note thanking Mr. Michael Halikiopoulos, Director of Corfu Tourist Center and Mr. Antony Alpers, author of Book of Dolphins.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
No Illustrations
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?)
Book Dimensions: 203mm by 132mm Text Dimensions: 156mm by 100mm Type Size: 80R The text, margins, and spacing make this book very readable. Each chapter is numbered but without a title. The first two words of each chapter are in upper case.
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 is a creamy, off white color; smooth, matte texture with a straight edge. The paper is holding up nicely because of its thicker texture.
11 Description of binding(s)
The first edition is bound in medium green board with white endnotes that are unillustrated. There is gold leaf on spine for author and publisher's insignia with non-gilt red stamping for title and the top edge is stained red. The dust jacket is colorful and illustrated. [see cover art image] There is nothing on the front or back cover. Transcription of Spine: MARY|STEWART|THIS|ROUGH|MAGIC|[publisher's logo]
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: THIS|ROUGH MAGIC|by|MARY STEWART|HODDER AND STOUGHTON Verso: The characters in this story are entirely | imaginary and have no relation to any | living person | Copyright 1964 by Mary Stewart | First printed 1964 | Printed and bound in Great Britian for | Hodder & Stoughton Limited, St. Paul's | House, Warwick Lane, London EC4 | by Cox & Wyman Limited, London | Fakenham and Reading
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
National Library of Scotland
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Each chapter begins with a quote from Shakespeare's The Tempest. For Example: Chapter Four He is drown'd Whom thus we stray to find, and the sea mocks Our frustrate search on land: well, let him go. III. 3.
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
This Rough Magic. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1966. This Rough Magic. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2005. No other American editions by M.S. Mill Co, except first. Alternative Cover Art in Supplementary Source: National Union Catalog, British Catalog, and Publisher's Weekly
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?
There were approximately 90,000 copies in 2 printings of the American first edition. There are four printings noted in the listings on abebooks.com. Source: Publisher's Weekly (vol. 186, p. 126) www.abebooks.com (April 25, 2006)
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
London, Companion Book Club, 1964. Greenwich, Conn : Fawcett, 1964 or 1965. Gutersloh : Bertelsman, 1964 and 1975. Hki : Gummerus, 1965, 1980, and 1990. New York : Ballantine, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1987. Sevenoaks : Coronet, 1985. Taibei : Huang guan chu ban she, 1990. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1991 and 2000. Chivers Press, 1993 or 1994. New York : HarperCollins, 2004. Large Print Books: New York : F. Watts, 1964. Leicester [Eng.] : Ulverscroft Large Print Books, Limited, Jan. 1971. Leicester : F.A. Thorpe, 1971. Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 1992. Bath [England] : Chivers Press, 1992 or 1993. Source: Books in Print (online), WorldCat
6 Last date in print?
Still in print in 2006 Source: WorldCat
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
8 weeks after printing, sold 2,000 copies per week. Source: Publisher's Weekly In her biography in Biography Reference Bank, she is said to have 4 million readers for This Rough Magic by 1967.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
No Information Available
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
There were various types of ads in the New York Times promoting This Rough Magic. The most common was the same picturesque scene of a mansion on a hillside. Above it the text reads, "MARY|STEWART|author of The Moon-Spinners,|sets a sophisticated|20th-century thriller at the|enchanted site of The Tempest|THIS ROUGH MAGIC|$4.95, now at your bookstore|Mill-Morrow". (For Sample Advertisements, see Question #10 and Supplementary Materials)
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A210191060302120823.jpg
11 Other promotion
There were two other ways that This Rough Magic was promoted: through an article and through ads for book clubs and publishers. Morrow and The Library Guild were two such ads that promoted a wide range of books with The Rough Magic as one of them. More often than not, This Rough Magic was displayed in the picture. There was an article in the New York Times about spy and mystery novels that spent quite a bit of time talking about Mary Stewart and specifically This Rough Magic. There was even a picture of Stewart at her home.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Audiocassette: Boston, MA : G.K. Hall Audio Publishers, 1988. Bath [England] : Chivers Book Sales Ltd., 1988. BBC Audiobooks America, 1993. Source: Books in Print (online) and WorldCat
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
There were three translations: Finnish, German, and Chinese Tapaaminen Korfussa : jannitysromaani. Jyvaskla : Gummerus, 1965 and 1990. Tapaaminen Korfussa : jannitysromaani. Hki : Uusi kirjakerho, 1980. Delphin uber schwarzem Grund : Roman. Gutersloh : Bertelsmann, 1964. Delphin uber schwarzem Grund : Roman. Munchen : W. Hyne, 1975. Mo dao jinh hun. Taibei : Huang guan chu ban she, 1990.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Mary Stewart's books, This Rough Magic included, were some of the last books to be serialized in newspapers. This Rough Magic is serialized in the Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) Chicago, Ill.:Nov 8-25, 1964 and can be found in Proquest historical newspapers. I also attached the first day of serialization in the supplementary materials.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
For a general overview of Mary Stewart's life, please see the entry on The Last Enchantment in this database. At first glance, Mary Stewart is your stereotypical English housewife. Stewart "calls herself ?an ordinary housewife' with ?a house and a husband and a garden and a cat to love and look after'" (qtd. in the Biography Reference Bank). She gardens, she studies natural history, and keeps house for her husband. However, her novels have been published in sixteen different languages; though her earlier novels were published in the late 1950's, almost all of her books are still in print in 2006; and almost every single book she published made the bestseller list in either the UK or the US. She has earned the Crime Writers Association Silver Dagger (1961), the Frederick Niven Award (1971), the Scottish Arts Council Award (1975) and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (1968). In fact, This Rough Magic earned her the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award, (1964). This Rough Magic is classified as one of her later books, but still when she was focusing on mystery/thriller books. Her later novels focus on Arthurian legends revolving around Merlin. Critics consider these novels as higher quality than her mystery/thriller stories. However, an interesting theme emerges on closer study of these early mystery-romances. She uses her masters level education in literature in all of her stories. In each of her novels, there is some reference to or basis in canonical fiction such as Jane Eyre and Shakespeare. Shakespeare's The Tempest plays a solid and necessary role in the story, setting, characterization and themes of This Rough Magic. Another aspect of Stewart's life that became integral in her novels is her background and travel experiences. She grew up in Northern England near many of the historical Roman ruins. Living near these monuments allowed her to paint her Arthurian novels in a realistic, accessible manner. In 1955, she flew to Greece and then returned many times later. She also visited France, Austria, and Lebanon, which became the setting for some of her earlier novels. Stewart's hobbies include gardening, nature walking, painting, and theater. Painting and theater is a common motif in her novels. In This Rough Magic, the protagonist, Lucy Waring is a failed actress from London vacationing at her sister's villa in Corfu, Greece. She has a run-in with a famous theater actor, Julian Gale, who has a magnificent rose garden. His son, Max, is a rather famous composer with a side job. And finally, Godfrey Manning, a neighbor, is a renowned photographer. It becomes increasingly apparent that Stewart includes her hobbies and interests into her novels which in turn gives it a richer and more believable feel. Mary Stewart's life may not be as interesting as Hemmingway's or Jackie Collins', but it is more real and approachable. It lends these qualities to her books and especially her characters. Being able to believe in a character or setting helps suspend the disbelief in an improbable murder mystery or an Arthurian legend. Sources: Mary Stewart. Friedman, Lenemaja. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990. Twentieth Century Romance and Gothic Writers. London: Macmillian, 1982. Contemporary Authors Online. Thomson Gale, 2005 (Biography Resource Center). World Authors 1950-1970. H.W. Wilson, 1975 (Wilson Web Biography Reference Bank).
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
One of the remarkable features of the bestsellers list in the mid sixties in both the United States and the United Kingdom was that many of them were either spy or mystery related. Robert R. Kirsch remarks in his book review, "The stars may be auspicious for good mysteries this summer." Many reviewers and journalists remark at the wide-spread popularity of the genre and its effect on the industry. In fact, in Lewis Nichols' New York Times column, "In and Out of Books," he notes that "three or four mysteries on London's best seller list?call attention to the fact that Britain's literary tastes seemed to be changing from Thackeray and Dickens to whodunits" and "of the 10 books on the [U.S.] fiction list, four are out-and-out spy and/or mysteries." In this article he specifically lists This Rough Magic as one of the four. Another New York Times column, "When will the spy go back into the cold?" by Anthony Boucher, explores the spy-mystery genre, but specifically addresses a new emerging genre that he dubs "gothica" (June 6, 1965). He notes the differences between the masculine spy novel and gothica as an "intensely feminine novel of private terror and romance." As This Rough Magic can attest to, he finds that gothica romances are "curiously neglected by critics." He observes This Rough Magic's credibility saying, "Mary Stewart's Edgar scroll-winning ?This Rough Magic' from last year, [has] been as persistent on the bestselling list as Deighton or Fleming" and raves that "it would take a suspiciously over-male he-man to resist the charm and narrative vigor of Mary Stewart's adventure stories." Reviewer's unanimously agree that Stewart's This Rough Magic is a well written, fast-paced, page-turner. Stewart's works are not canon-quality fiction, but they don't pretend to be and what she does turn out, reviewers agree, is quality popular fiction. In the Chicago Tribune, Vivian Mort raves about This Rough Magic saying that the characters are "captivating and so is the entire tale of murder, intrigue, and romance. As always, Mary Stewart uses well selected details of back-ground to further the story, and for a lagniappe there's a diverting theory expounded that Corfu was the magic isle of Shakespeare's ?The Tempest'." This is a typical review of the novel marking the detailed but necessary background of both the setting and the additional literary references, in this case to ?The Tempest'. Kirsch remarks that the setting has "that wonderful sense of setting for which Miss Stewart is noted" and that "Perhaps the best effect is an exploitation of Shakespeare's ?The Tempest,' which provides a counterpoint to the threat and peril of the story." A typical review that touches similar qualities of Stewart's writing can be found The North America Review by Mary Byerly: Mary Stewart spins a good yarn, and this one is no exception, magically woven as it is from such diverse elements as the contemporary London theater and the intelligence of dolphins; the benevolence of Corfu's patron, St. Spiridion, and the political climate of Albania. Shakespeare's The Tempest is skillfully blended into both setting and plot, while vivid description, suspense, and lively tempo, with just the right touch of romance, are combined to provide the kind of excellence entertainment Miss Stewart's readers have come to expect. (Vol.2 No.1, Spring 1965) Finally, making This Rough Magic a true favorite of some of the toughest critics (i.e. Librarians) was the ALA's endorsement of it for high school readers (Chicago Tribune, Feb 28 1965.) In another report from the Los Angeles Times, "The Book Report: Recommended for Teens" lists with reviews many of the books chosen by the ALA's Committee on Significant Adult Books for Young People. For This Rough Magic, they state that it is "a great suspense novel?(Incidentally, Mary Stewart's books are a discovery for readers of all ages.)" This Rough Magic was praised by readers and critics alike as an overall good time waiting to be picked up and read. Sources: Kirsch, Robert, R. "The Book Report: Newest Adventure of Judge Dee Draws Praise." Los Angeles Times 12 August 1964: D3. Kirsch, Robert, R. "The Book Report: Recommended for Teens." Los Angeles Times 9 May 1965: C10. Mort, Vivian. "Crime on My Hands." Chicago Tribune 9 August 1964: K11. Chicago Tribune. "Untitled." 28 February 1965: K15. Nichols, Lewis. "In and Out of Books." New York Times 7 February 1965: BR8. Boucher, Anthony. "When Will the Spy Go Back into the Cold?" New York Times 6 June 1965: BR4. Byerly, Mary. "Lucy in Corfu." The North American Review, Vol. 2, no.1, Spring 1965.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
One of the remarkable features of the bestsellers list in the mid sixties in both the United States and the United Kingdom was that many of them were either spy or mystery related. Robert R. Kirsch remarks in his book review, "The stars may be auspicious for good mysteries this summer." Many reviewers and journalists remark at the wide-spread popularity of the genre and its effect on the industry. In fact, in Lewis Nichols' New York Times column, "In and Out of Books," he notes that "three or four mysteries on London's best seller list?call attention to the fact that Britain's literary tastes seemed to be changing from Thackeray and Dickens to whodunits" and "of the 10 books on the [U.S.] fiction list, four are out-and-out spy and/or mysteries." In this article he specifically lists This Rough Magic as one of the four. Another New York Times column, "When will the spy go back into the cold?" by Anthony Boucher, explores the spy-mystery genre, but specifically addresses a new emerging genre that he dubs "gothica" (June 6, 1965). He notes the differences between the masculine spy novel and gothica as an "intensely feminine novel of private terror and romance." As This Rough Magic can attest to, he finds that gothica romances are "curiously neglected by critics." He observes This Rough Magic's credibility saying, "Mary Stewart's Edgar scroll-winning ?This Rough Magic' from last year, [has] been as persistent on the bestselling list as Deighton or Fleming" and raves that "it would take a suspiciously over-male he-man to resist the charm and narrative vigor of Mary Stewart's adventure stories." Reviewer's unanimously agree that Stewart's This Rough Magic is a well written, fast-paced, page-turner. Stewart's works are not canon-quality fiction, but they don't pretend to be and what she does turn out, reviewers agree, is quality popular fiction. In the Chicago Tribune, Vivian Mort raves about This Rough Magic saying that the characters are "captivating and so is the entire tale of murder, intrigue, and romance. As always, Mary Stewart uses well selected details of back-ground to further the story, and for a lagniappe there's a diverting theory expounded that Corfu was the magic isle of Shakespeare's ?The Tempest'." This is a typical review of the novel marking the detailed but necessary background of both the setting and the additional literary references, in this case to ?The Tempest'. Kirsch remarks that the setting has "that wonderful sense of setting for which Miss Stewart is noted" and that "Perhaps the best effect is an exploitation of Shakespeare's ?The Tempest,' which provides a counterpoint to the threat and peril of the story." A typical review that touches similar qualities of Stewart's writing can be found The North America Review by Mary Byerly: Mary Stewart spins a good yarn, and this one is no exception, magically woven as it is from such diverse elements as the contemporary London theater and the intelligence of dolphins; the benevolence of Corfu's patron, St. Spiridion, and the political climate of Albania. Shakespeare's The Tempest is skillfully blended into both setting and plot, while vivid description, suspense, and lively tempo, with just the right touch of romance, are combined to provide the kind of excellence entertainment Miss Stewart's readers have come to expect. (Vol.2 No.1, Spring 1965) Finally, making This Rough Magic a true favorite of some of the toughest critics (i.e. Librarians) was the ALA's endorsement of it for high school readers (Chicago Tribune, Feb 28 1965.) In another report from the Los Angeles Times, "The Book Report: Recommended for Teens" lists with reviews many of the books chosen by the ALA's Committee on Significant Adult Books for Young People. For This Rough Magic, they state that it is "a great suspense novel?(Incidentally, Mary Stewart's books are a discovery for readers of all ages.)" This Rough Magic was praised by readers and critics alike as an overall good time waiting to be picked up and read. Sources: Kirsch, Robert, R. "The Book Report: Newest Adventure of Judge Dee Draws Praise." Los Angeles Times 12 August 1964: D3. Kirsch, Robert, R. "The Book Report: Recommended for Teens." Los Angeles Times 9 May 1965: C10. Mort, Vivian. "Crime on My Hands." Chicago Tribune 9 August 1964: K11. Chicago Tribune. "Untitled." 28 February 1965: K15. Nichols, Lewis. "In and Out of Books." New York Times 7 February 1965: BR8. Boucher, Anthony. "When Will the Spy Go Back into the Cold?" New York Times 6 June 1965: BR4. Byerly, Mary. "Lucy in Corfu." The North American Review, Vol. 2, no.1, Spring 1965.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
At first glance, it would seem that Mary Stewart is a characteristic genre writer and that This Rough Magic was simply another mystery-romance that sold just as well as many of her other novels. After investigating a little deeper, it becomes apparent that Stewart's story is not quite so simple. Currently in 2006, it seems there are a few expectations for most of the books on the bestselling lists. The website "Rave Reviews: an exhibition on American popular fiction" comments that, "A shift in the book industry in the 1960s paved the way for the "blockbuster" novel. Literary agents, representing authors, started negotiating with publishers for works that had yet to be written, paying writers large monetary advances for multi-book contracts. Over time, this practice has resulted in focusing attention on a small circle of authors whose popularity and sales can justify the investment. Today, publishers promote and market both the author and the story, often well before words have been finalized on the page." After taking this class and studying components of bestsellers, we also see that many bestsellers relate to current affairs and incorporate elements of current cultural trends that have captured American audiences. After inspecting This Rough Magic for these qualities, I realized that this book is in fact more interesting than I at first thought. Though Mary Stewart seems to be a part of that small circle of authors, she and this novel do not follow these expectations even for the time in which it was written. Each of the aforementioned aspects of typical bestsellers will be explored in the following essay. Stewart's books previous to This Rough Magic were successful enough to allow her to retire from teaching and to pursue writing. Yet, no matter how popular Stewart becomes at any point in her life and specifically during This Rough Magic's release, she sustains a commitment to keeping her life and persona private. When searching for biographical information that was more intimate than basic and usually public life events, it became increasingly difficult. Even in interviews with Stewart, she rarely made any comments beyond the scope of her works. Therefore, the publishers were never able to use any aspect of her personal life to sell her books, including This Rough Magic. There was however, the ability to promote the book through the author. In the ads for This Rough Magic it was common to see that the most prominent words were "Mary Stewart" with a reference to an earlier successful work, The Moon-Spinners [see supplementary materials]. This shows that the name Mary Stewart did have the capacity to sell, based on her pervious successful novels. Another common piece of the bestseller's formula is marketing. However, This Rough Magic was not highly publicized or marketed. There were ads in the major newspapers at its release, but there was no build-up. There was no indication that Stewart was prepaid for this novel and no information was publicized, before it was officially released. As far as my research indicates, there was no way of knowing when or what the next Mary Stewart novel was going to be before the release date. And after its release, there were only the occasional ad for approximately six months and then it joined other bestsellers on the book club ads. The book seemed to sell itself without hype or excessive promotion. In spite of the frugal marketing for This Rough Magic, there is an oddity in the marketing strategy that was not present for most of the bestsellers of the day. In fact, it is a strategy that was used often around the turn of the century, but had gradually declined. This Rough Magic was serialized in the Chicago Tribune. Many of Mary Stewart's other novels were as well, but not many other novelists had their works serialized by the 60's. In fact, it is one the last times an already published novel is serialized in a major newspaper. Whether or not that had a impact on sales is inconclusive, but it is a way to get a two to three page spread to advertise a new book. Another way of marketing a novel that was not used by This Rough Magic was the use of other media. When a book that was written by a popular author and has the potential to be an entertaining film hits the bestseller list, it is fairly common for it to be made into a movie. This Rough Magic is a book with a lot of action, adventure, danger, and romance that is highly plot-driven. It is rather unusual that a novel such as this is not made into a film. Perhaps this was because, another bestselling novel of Stewart's, The Moon-Spinners, was made into a movie in 1964. However, since other movies were made from her books, it makes This Rough Magic a little different from the rest. There were two momentous events that happened in the last century that people in America remembered exactly where they were and what they were doing. The first was when John F. Kennedy was shot in November of 1963 and when the first man landed on the moon in July of 1969. Relevant to the time period of This Rough Magic was the JFK assassination. It was what everyone in the U.S. was talking and thinking about. However, there was no mention of American politics whatsoever in This Rough Magic. Perhaps because Stewart is British or is unfamiliar with American events, she left out any mention of the tumult that this assassination caused. One reason this is remarkable is that typically the fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists seem to relate to each other. The world of fiction mirrors and comments on the world of fact. However, on the non-fiction bestseller list, there were five books specifically about John F. Kennedy. In fact, the number one bestseller was the official government report on his assassination. Since This Rough Magic does not discuss American events at all, there is actually no relationship between this novel and the books that dominated the non-fiction list, making it highly unusual. In the end, we do not learn much about bestsellers, except perhaps, that there is no good way to predict which books will be big. There is no formula or recipe that will spell success for a book, but a few ideas here and there. For some authors, having huge marketing budgets and advertising in even the most unlikely places will result in a bestseller (i.e. Tyndale and the Left Behind series) . Authors that have already achieved wide-scale popularity simply use their name to sell their books (i.e. Stephen King and really any of his books). And finally, there is always that bestselling author who looks around and has no idea how he or she got onto the list. In Mary Stewart and This Rough Magic's case, we find that it is not surprising that she is on the list, but it is, if only a little, surprising how she got there. Sources: Rave Reviews: an exhibition on American Popular Fiction, co-curated by John's Unsworth WorldCat
Supplemental Material
Serialization in the Chicago Tribune
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Alternative Cover Art
Alternative Cover Art
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