Sunday, March 1, 2009

Louise Brooks forgery for sale

A while back I blogged about Lee Israel and her book recounting her life as a biographer - and forger of letters. That story was told in Israel's Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger. In that widely reviewed book, the once well-regarded author confessed to having forged letters by the likes of Dorothy Parker, Noel Coward, and Louise Brooks - among others.

Recently, Israel has begun to sell some of the forged letters apparently NOT noticed by the FBI when the "scandal" over her "work" broke. And just the other day, she listed a forged Louise Brooks letter for sale on eBay. (She has also recently listed forged Dorothy Parker letters, etc....)

The eBay description reads, "Lee Israel, author of the recently published Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger, which The New York Times called “pretty damned fabulous,” is offering several letters for sale – the hilarious forgeries that experts from coast to coast could not distinguish from the extraordinary letters written by the silent film star. These are the letters Lee Israel had not yet sold when the FBI came knocking at her door. $75 each, suitable for framing to bamboozle your literary friends. Letters of inauthenticity provided." 

What you're really buying here is a letter by Lee Israel, not Louise Brooks. I'm tempted to make a bid - but likely won't. But what a curious thing it is.

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