London: Jonathan Cape, (1929). First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 315 pp. Near fine / very good +. Item #20082967
In 1929, life for the average Irish family who were working the soil was incredibly hard; the level of poverty was such that many in the western world could not conceive. This work is based on a real-life story of a family from Cork who all died of starvation in 1927, working to "wrest their living from the bogs and rock-strewn soil of Western Ireland" (n.b., last quote from dust jacket flap).
Peadar O'Donnell (Irish: Peadar Ó Domhnaill; 1893-1986) was one of the most left of the Irish radicals: a member of the IRA and opponent of the Anglo-Irish treaty, he would work his entire life to attempt to bring justice to situations he saw as unjust. He was also an author, with the themes of his work, particularly this novel, reflecting "the preoccupations of his political life" exploring "social conflict, rural poverty, and sectarianism in Ulster".
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full green cloth over boards, gilt lettering on the spine, publisher's device blind-debossed on the back board; octavo size (7.75" by 5.25"), pagination: [1-6] 7-315. With the rather scarce Jonathan Cape dust jacket showing the original price of 7 s. 6d., illustration on the front panel in black, green and purple of a couple working the land with the image of the Grim Reaper on horseback watching over them, lettering in green, black and purple, all on a white ground, spine with a vignette of a black crow perched on a spade, lettering in purple and black, back panel a publisher's blurb for O'Donnel's previous book "Islanders", short summary of the book on the front flap with the price in the lower corner, back flap blank.
___CONDITION: Volume near fine, with clean boards, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright (other than a small spot of foxing in the margins of two leaves), and entirely free of prior owner markings; some fading to the cloth, light toning to the endpapers, and the aforementioned small spot of foxing (pp. 113-116), else fine. The unclipped dust jacket a bit better than very good, entire, free of tears but with light overall edgewear and soiling, sunning to the spine. Still a near fine example of early 20th-century Irish literature in a scarce dust jacket.
___CITATIONS: Above information from the web sites of Muckross House Research Library and the Oxford DNB.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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