Before he earned fame and fortune writing under the name John Le Carre, David Cornwell earned pocket money from part-time artistic work – such as illustrating Maxwell Knight’s Talking Birds.…
During the 1960s Maxwell Knight – the real-life “M” – was working on a manuscript entitled The Frightened Face of Nature, snatching brief moments to record his thoughts on how man had treated nature so unfairly for the first fifty years of the twentieth century. The manuscript documented Knight’s greatest fears that, time was running out for nature and that its greatest threat was man’s destructive revolution and the reverse of evolution.
“By all means let man use his great powers to invent new devices; let him give of his best to see that all shall benefit from his genius in curing, healing, and housing those in want. But do not suggest that this can only be done by destroying what is fine to look at or listen to, whether in the arts or nature.
If human brains can find means of defying space, improving means of communication and bouncing pictures off satellites, surely he can also discover ways in which these things can be done without destruction – for destruction first is the cry of mad revolution and is the reverse of evolution.”
– Maxwell Knight
The manuscript was kept under lock and key and it remained a secret until 2015 when the (hitherto unpublished) manuscript was discovered inside M’s personal filing cabinet…
Copyright: see acknowledgements