3 March 2004
STEPHENS, James (1882-1950). The Crock of Gold. London: Macmillan and Co., 1912.
4° (187 x 127mm). Original green cloth, gilt spine, green half morocco case. Provenance: purchased from James F. Drake, New York, 1 June 1938, £125.
MINT COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Stephens was awarded the Polignac Prize of £100 on 28th November 1913 for The Crock of Gold, his second published novel, one of the criteria of the award being that it be presented to a writer of promise. Yeats delivered a speech to the Royal Society of Literature on the presentation of the prize, remarking: 'I can only speak of the reasons that made me propose 'The Crock of Gold' and give that book my vote. It has given me more pleasure, I think, than it could give to another man, wise and beautiful though it is, because it is a proof that my native city has begun to live with a deeper life.' Incorporated in the novel were eight passages which had previously been printed in Sinn Fein (1908-1909) and one passage each from the Irish Review (August 1911) and The Golden Book Magazine (12 July 1930). The Crock of Gold is Stephens' most famous work. James F. Drake's receipt for the purchase notes that it is a 'trial binding'. Bramsbäck 309.
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