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"My Beginning."
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Journalism, Literary Life

Bates is one of ten young authors included in this "handbook" by book-collector John Gawsworth (pseudonym of Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong); the others are Stella Benson, Thomas Burke, Frederick Carter, John Collier, E.M. Delafield, Liam O'Flaherty, Oliver Onions, Dorothy M. Richardson, and L.A.G. Strong.

Gawsworth provides detailed bibliographical information (collation, binding, signatures, and notes) for every published work of each author, in Bates's case 19 titles up to the publication of The Fallow Land in 1932, including even three minor Christmas cards published privately.

Bates's essay fortells both Love for Lydia and his autobiography in relating his misadventures as an aspiring journalist with the Northamptonshire Chronicle, describing his daily visits to the police station and the coroner, the filth of the newspaper office, and a boss whose morning "breath was rank and powerful and his eyes already bleary." Bates explains that he wishes to dispel "the notion that I am a countryman and a pure-bred countryman at that...I, and I have lived a town-life for twenty-five years, though I am not denying that I have hated very nearly every minute of it." He also wishes to warn the aspiring young writer "not to enter into the realm of journalism with the insane notion, as I did, that he will learn to write there."

Some five years later, Bates would once again reflect on his journey to becoming a successful author in 'This is how I began...'

In Ten Contemporaries: Notes Towards Their Definitive Bibliography (Second Series) (John Gawsworth, London: Joiner and Steel, 1933, pp. 19-22, attached). Reprinted in Literary Digest (January, 1947).


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