Dublin and London: Maunsel & Company, Ltd., 1916. First, limited, and numbered edition. Wraps. This is an inscribed, dated, and hand-emended author's presentation copy of the limited and numbered first edition, copy 193 of 500. Inked in four lines on the half title, the author’s inscription reads: “To | The Rt. Hon. L. A. Waldron | with the compliments of the Author | James Stephens Oct. 16th. 1916”. Additionally, the author hand-emended and initialed line two on page 10. This copy is hand-numbered “193” on the limitation statement.
The recipient, Laurence Ambrose Waldron (1858-1923) was an Irish businessman and politician. Most relevant, he was MP for Dublin St. Stephen’s Green from 1904-1910. It was there, in 1916, that “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, while his poetry collection, Green Branches, published later that year, contains elegies for the rebels.” (Dictionary of Irish Biography)
This is a handsome edition. The binding is string-bound olive-tan card wraps illustrated and printed in green on the front cover. The contents are printed on watermarked, laid paper with untrimmed fore and bottom edges. This particular copy is housed in a blue cloth, paper-lined chemise nested within a slipcase featuring a rounded, hubbed, quarter blue Morocco spine over blue cloth sides.
Condition is lovely, better than near fine. The binding is entirely complete and immaculately clean, with only trivial hints of wear to extremities. The original binding string is intact. The contents are pristine. The slipcase has done its job protecting the object within, absorbing the toll of age, time and accident. The Morocco spine is unfaded, but scuffed and worn, the cloth sides toned and soiled. As might be expected, the chemise within is clean and bright.
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, his historical account of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin and this poetic elegy, 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 #007473