Dublin and London: Maunsel & Company, 1919. New Edition. Hardcover. This is an inscribed 1919 edition of Irish writer James Stephens’s personal account of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. The inscription, inked in two lines on the title page between the title and author’s name, reads “To Alice & Harry Saffin | From James Stephens”.
At the time, Stephens was serving as Registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland. “From the vantage point of the gallery premises in Merrion Square, Stephens observed the fighting around St. Stephen’s Green in Easter week 1916; his instant book on the rising, The Insurrection in Dublin (1916), is regarded as the most vivid account by a contemporary observer of the changing moods and scenes of Dublin during the rising…” (Dictionary of Irish Biography)
This inscribed copy is "A NEW EDITION" of 1919, so stated on the title page. Condition is only good, owing solely to the aesthetic deterioration of the spine. While the gray, paper-covered boards and the paper front cover label are firmly intact, significant portions of the spine paper – nearly half – are gone, exposing the intact mull beneath. The boards show only modest wear to extremities. The contents are clean and bright with no spotting and no previous ownership marks apart from the author’s inscription.
James Stephens (1880?- 1950) began to contribute stores to the journal United Irishman (later Sinn Fein) in 1905, “at first anonymously and generally without payment” before becoming a regular contributor from 1907. This led to Stephens’s discovery by George William Russell (to whom Stephens dedicated his first published volume of poetry, 1909’s Insurrections) and gave Stephens “access to Dublin literary circles". Stephens went on to write half a dozen novels and a dozen volumes of poetry, as well as several plays, short stories, retellings of Irish folktales, this historical account of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, and a biographic portrait of the founder of Sinn Fein. In 1925 Stephens relocated to London, reflecting “disillusionment with the political and literary scene in post-civil war Ireland.” In England, he moved in British literary circles and struck up a friendship with James Joyce “who in 1927 left instructions that if he died before finishing Finnegans Wake Stephens was to complete it.” Stephens also became a BBC broadcaster. Though Stephens declared himself an Englishman in 1940 in protest at Irish neutrality in the Second World War, he visited Dublin in 1947 to receive a Doctor in Letters from Trinity College, Dublin. (Dictionary of Irish Biography). Item #007471