Illustrated and Decorated by Maud Gonne.Dublin, Maunsel & Company, Ltd., 1910 Stock Code: 139842
NotesFirst edition, first impression, presentation copy inscribed by the author on the original front free endpaper "To John Varian, With Greeting from Ella Young", and with over ten annotations in ink by Young.
The recipient, John Osborne Varian (1863-1931), was an Irish-American poet and a leader within the theosophist utopian community of Halcyon, California, where Ella Young made her final home in a cabin behind the Varian's home in 1928 while she was finishing her book, The Tangle-Coated Horse and Other Tales, and working on her poetry.
The annotations, apparently establishing links between the printed text (Irish lore) and spiritual principles, could have been penned by Young as she revisited her previous work from a new angle, or added as explanations for Varian, to bridge the gap between both of their specialties. Loosely inserted is a piece of paper with further annotations pencilled in another hand.
The illustrator, Edith Maud Gonne (1866-1953), was one of the boldest figures of the Irish Literary Revival; a suffragette and artist, she remains best known as W. B. Yeats's muse and the subject of over 80 of his poems. They were "possibly briefly engaged, and in November 1891 she joined the Order of the Golden Dawn, the magical order to which he belonged, as 'Per Ignem ad Lucem' Through Fire to the Light" (ODNB). Gonne was also an Irish nationalist whose political commitment was deemed "paradoxical: born in England of English parents she was Irish by passionate identification and remote descent" (ibid.). She became close friends with the author of these Celtic Wonder-Tales, the Irish-born mystic, poet, and mythographer, Ella Young (1867-1956), who spent terms of imprisonment for her Republican sympathies. Young left Ireland in 1925, disillusioned by the Civil War, and moved to America where she lectured on mythology and Irish literature for many years.
Octavo (195 x 135 mm). Finely bound in mid-century green morocco, titles in gilt to spine and front board, decorative shamrock motifs in gilt to spine and vertical gilt ruling to boards, green patterned endpapers. Housed in custom green paper-covered plush-lined slipcase.
4 tipped-in colour plates, all but one heightened in gilt and silver, head- and tail-pieces, a few decorative opening initials, all by Maud Gonne.
Spine uniformly sunned, two small marks to front board, the binding firm and bright, occasional and marginal light finger-soiling, otherwise internally untoned. A very good copy indeed.
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