John Murray – “Patrick Leigh Fermor’s final volume will be published”

It is interesting that twice in one week we have a story about the publication of Vol 3. Is this the result of the commencement of the long, slow cranking up of the marketing machine, or one story leading to another as journalists follow each other’s tails in a quiet week for news? What we do now appear to know is that John Murray are now officially commenting so there is some real substance to the old rumours. Let’s not forget that we have Artemis Cooper’s biography to look forward to this time next year.

by Alison Flood

First published in, Tuesday 20 December 2011

Patrick Leigh Fermor’s final volume will be published Long-awaited conclusion to revered account of walk across Europe set to come out in 2013

Readers stranded on the edge of Bulgaria since 1986 by the travel writing great Patrick Leigh Fermor are set to be rewarded at last with the third and final volume chronicling the late author’s European odyssey.

Leigh Fermor, who died in June aged 96, was the author of what his biographer Artemis Cooper described as “two of the greatest travel books of the 20th century”, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. They trace his journey on foot from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul at the age of “18 and three-quarters”, how he travelled “south-east through the snow into Germany, then up the Rhine and eastwards down the Danube … in Hungary I borrowed a horse, then plunged into Transylvania; from Romania, on into Bulgaria”, with the second volume, published in 1986, ending as he was about to cross the Danube from Romania into Bulgaria.

Leigh Fermor always promised a final volume, announcing in 2007 that he had even bought a typewriter and was learning to type in order to complete it. “I’m going to finish that book,” he said. “I’m going home and I’m going to work really hard.”

His publisher John Murray has now announced that it will publish the final volume in 2013, drawing from Leigh Fermor’s diary at the time and an early draft of the book he wrote in the 1960s.

“His devoted readership have been stuck midstream, as it were, for over 20 years. A painstaking perfectionist, Leigh Fermor never did finish the final volume though he was working on it up to his death in June 2011,” said Cooper, whose biography of the author will be published in September 2012. “Based on the original diary he kept at the time and an early draft of the book written in the 1960s, this book takes up the story, and carries the reader to Constantinople and beyond.”

Roland Philipps, managing director of John Murray, called it “a treat to be back, immersed once again in this great pre-war walk across Europe”. It is “wonderful for his many admirers that this book will be published,” added Murray.


5 thoughts on “John Murray – “Patrick Leigh Fermor’s final volume will be published”

  1. Ian

    Glass-Half-Full reporting. Trying not to ruffle too many feathers, but does no one else get the shudders at this:
    “drawing from Leigh Fermor’s diary at the time and an early draft of the book he wrote in the 1960s.”
    We know that Paddy worked quite feverishly to complete the third volume. To draw on the journal (surely the raw carbon of the previous diamonds) and a 50 year old draft is to condemn everything amassed since?
    Bearing in mind that nothing substantial has been published since BTWATW, could the uncomfortable truth be that the heavily annotated pile of drafts (remembering PLF’s perfectionism) which landed on the Murray desk were simply unpublishable in the short term? Will a variorum edition appear in five years time?
    Kind regards
    Still Water Books

    1. Richard Brooke

      I may be proven wrong but doesn’t the line you quote refer to PLF’s entire project – and the basis of each book – rather than indicate it is the copy text for the third edition?

      1. Ian Stone

        I understand what you mean, but the statement
        “His publisher John Murray has now announced that it will publish the final volume in 2013, drawing from Leigh Fermor’s diary at the time and an early draft of the book he wrote in the 1960s.”
        can only, by my reading of it, refer to the projected volume 3.

  2. Pamela J. Francis

    Yes…I’ve been stuck in that river for a while now as well…and to think that here, in January of 2012, I find myself looking forward to 2013 is a little upsetting, as none of us want to “wish our lives away.” But I will wait, and comfort myself with Roumeli and Mani…

    I hope all of you enjoy much happiness–and many good books–in 2012.

    Best–Pamela J. Francis

  3. Blake More

    The real-life imperative of having to wait more than a year for volume III devastated me at first. But then I reminded myself that something of our above-the-eyebrows pleasures and intellectual sensualities must be left for the future. That is what makes the present bearable and the past memorable, at least in part.

    Meanwhile, I do hope all subscribers to this blog along with the host enjoy health, happiness and success in all their endeavors during the new year that will soon break upon us.

    Blake More


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