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Publishing John's Letters
21 January 2011
9.08pm
PennyLane
Sitting singing songs for everyone by the mountain stream
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So Yoko sold the publishing rights of John's letters to the Orion Publishing Group for over 500,000 pounds or so. Hunter Davies is said to have persuaded her into selling the rights to them for a book to be released in October 2012, the 50 anniversary of Love Me Do. There is reported to be 150 letters being brought together for the book.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/musi.....-published

 

What do you guys think? Should we know John's personal feelings by reading his letters or do you think it helps us understand who John really was? Do you think John would have wanted them published?

 

a-hard-days-night-john-2

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.
21 January 2011
9.25pm
MeanMrsMustard
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I, for one, would LOVE to read John's letters.

If I seem to act unkind, it's only me, it's not my mind that is confusing things.

22 January 2011
2.03am
skye
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As a John fan, I'd like to learn more. It's not as bad as releasing his journals, and I can't say he would be upset by this. Plus, it would be considered acceptable if it was filtered through a biographer, and I wouldn't have any reservations about reading Abraham Lincoln's letters. But, this kind of bugs me. I feel like he should be allowed some secrets, you know? I'll wait and see how they handle it. a-hard-days-night-john-3

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
22 January 2011
4.14am
mithveaen
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But you know Skye… I understand what you mean but I think it would be fantastic for the future generations. Janeites understand why Cassandra Austen (sister of the great writer Jane Austen) decided to burn her letters, but we feel bad that we can't get into the mind of a great talent.

 

And if it's done right, it can be fantastic. One of my favorite "biography" is Dear Actress Dear Writer, the letters that Anton Chekhov and his wife Olga Knipper exchanged when they were friends, lovers, spouses, and finally, when Knipper became a widow.. I cried when I read those ones.

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
22 January 2011
4.34am
skye
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True. I'm probably being oversensitive/protective. Let's hope it's done right.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
22 January 2011
4.39am
Necko
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Well, in my opinion, it really depends how personal the letters are.  I mean, certain content should remain secret.  I don't want to pry too much into John's life.

I'm Necko.  I'm like Ringo except I wear necklaces.
22 January 2011
6.02am
PennyLane
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I don't think they would be too revealing that are fuming with secrets and such. Since Yoko had them first, I would think she would censor what goes in the book. But I sorta feel like even his letters are personal and should remain unseen by the general public. It would be nice to read them surely, but it is in an invasion of property even though he isn't here to defend himself. Then again, my curiosity is taking over as to what he wrote. a-hard-days-night-ringo-4

 

I do want to know who the letters were sent to. Were they just letters to Yoko from India because I would really like to read those.

 

on another note: The boys are getting old. Almost 50 years after Love Me Do. Seriously, where does the time go? (not like I was around for any of their career, but still)

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.
22 January 2011
6.09am
Pterodactyl
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I'd like to read them, but it does seem like it's kind of personal.  Almost like eavesdropping in a way.  I guess it does make it better if Yoko's going to go through them and not let them publish the really personal ones.

 

*9*

22 January 2011
6.54am
JoB
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I think it might be a bit bad because Yoko's getting so much money for it, but I guess they are actually worth the amount she's getting (if not more).

But is it just me or does the article written by Joe say they're being released in October 2010?

/2011/01/21/yoko-ono-sells-publishing-rights-to-lennon-letters/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+TheBeatlesBible+(The+Beatles+Bible)

I'd like to be, under the sea, in an octopus's garden, with you.
22 January 2011
7.54am
ochdeus
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John many times expressed that their lives were art and whatever came out of it was art, too.  So I am fine with the releasing the letters.  John will not be damaged by any of it

22 January 2011
10.20am
Joe
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JoB - thanks for spotting that. Obviously they didn't come out in October 2010 - it should have been 2012. I've changed it now.

Personally I think this is great. I can't wait to read them. Apparently the diaries were to have been published shortly after he died, but they contained quite a bit about people living at the Dakota etc, and Yoko decided that they wouldn't be published until everyone concerned was dead. Seems a bit extreme - she could have filtered out the libellous bits.

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22 January 2011
11.14am
robert
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A couple of thoughts on this

1) John was an avid reader and read the letters and biographies etc of many deceased artists, writers, etc. Since John was aware of his own fame, one has to believe that he realized that one day his own personal letters etc, would be published - just like hundreds of writers before him. Indeed he and Yoko may have discussed it - whether formally or as a part of marital chit-chat.

2) Whatever your opinion of Yoko Ono, I don't know anyone who would deny that when it comes to shaping, editing, censoring and even re-writing the commercial legacy of John Lennon, Yoko is in charge. We can be sure that there will not be one word printed that Yoko doesn't want published. What we can't be sure of is if every word that is published was actually written by John (just as she has issued artwork by John that really isn't by John - or not completely by John - altered after his death).

3) In terms of the money, well you have to use some measurement to decide who publishes. I guess Yoko could have scanned John's writings and put them on the internet for free - yea Yoko's gonna do that . . .

"She looks more like him than I do."
22 January 2011
6.34pm
GniknuS
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Lots of good thoughts so far, I think we'd all like to read these letters, obviously, but the question is whether it's an invasion of John's privacy or not. It'll be interesting to see what Yoko includes because she's not the type to just put in la-de-da information, so I'd imagine there will be some revealing stuff being put out. I think anyone willing to read these letters truly will have a genuine love and respect for John, and realizing his greatness also means accepting his flaws so my expectations are to run through a whole spectrum of emotions, from love to anger and everywhere in between. Hopefully nothing too bad gets out to the press and as long as no damage is done to his legacy, I'm completely fine with the letters being put out. If anyone has read Memories of John Lennon, they published a few of his letters that he wrote to Elliot Mintz that were nice to read.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
22 January 2011
8.30pm
Celebrated_Mr_K
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The letters of noteworthy persons almost always come to light after their deaths.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh...the list of important persons' whose letters get published posthumously goes on and on.

Yoko has been careful about protecting John's legacy...it's unlikely she would agree to release something that would damage him unless she thought he would approve.  And John wasn't afraid of negative things being said about him.  Heck, he posed nude for an album cover.

25 January 2011
3.50am
Marcelo
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Celebrated_Mr_K said:

The letters of noteworthy persons almost always come to light after their deaths.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh...the list of important persons' whose letters get published posthumously goes on and on.

Yoko has been careful about protecting John's legacy...it's unlikely she would agree to release something that would damage him unless she thought he would approve.  And John wasn't afraid of negative things being said about him.  Heck, he posed nude for an album cover.


He did?

 

Anyway, a volume (or various, it depends on the lenght of the material) of correspondence is always a valuable source for future biographies.

 

And if I could, I would love to be inside John's mind and know everything about him.

I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition. John Lennon
25 January 2011
11.23am
robert
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Assuming Marcelo's "he did?" is in reference to John posing nude for an album cover - the answer is yes Two Virgins - not sure how anyone wouldn't know that - maybe the question was tongue in cheek (an interesting phrase when discussing a nude photo).

Anyway, I've beene trying to hold off on this comment, but can't.

The concept that "Yoko has always been careful about protecting John's legacy" just continues to grate on my mind.

The truth is that Yoko has not so much protected John's legacy as she has re-created John's legacy. It is for this reason that when it comes to anything released by the Lennon Estate, the question is not whether the material (whether it be music, art, photos, writing, etc) is what John would have wanted released, what is for sure is that it is only what Yoko wants released.

In all my years I have never seen as redacted a personal history of a public figure as the re-write of the history of John Lennon by his widow.

No one knows whether John would have wanted these letters published (although personally I suspect he would approve). What we do know is that Yoko wants them published - and we can be absolutely sure that the only pieces that will be published are those pieces which support the image of John that Yoko has designed for us to consume.

"She looks more like him than I do."
25 January 2011
4.10pm
Joe
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I don't agree. AFAIK this is the collection of Hunter Davies, who's been accumulating Beatles-related lyrics, letters, photographs and other items since the 1960s. He sought permission of Yoko Ono, who owns the copyright (although I'm not sure how that works, unless she automatically owns everything Lennon ever wrote), but I presume she's had no editorial say in what's included or excluded, just granted the publishing rights to allow Davies's book to go ahead.

EDIT "As she feels Hunter Davies to be a trustworthy friend of long years,
and a good editor, she is granting permission for Hunter to publish
such a book, subject to her approval of the letters."

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25 January 2011
4.14pm
Joe
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And just after I'd written that, I saw that Yoko had left a statement on my article about the publication, clarifying some details. Hi Yoko! Come and join the forum! yoko-ono-01

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

25 January 2011
5.44pm
Paulrus
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Wow, that's awesome! Even if it wasn't her personally, it's still pretty cool. It shows how big this site has become. Hard work pays off!

Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out  They leave the West behind 
25 January 2011
6.06pm
GniknuS
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Yoko Ono oh no, Yoko Ono oh yes! two-virgins

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
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