11 October 2002
SYNGE, John Millington (1871-1909). The Playboy of the Western World: A Comedy in Three Acts. Dublin: Maunsel & Co., 1907.
8o. Engraved portrait frontispiece of Synge by J.B. Yeats. (Foxing at beginning and end.) Original gilt decorated white cloth, uncut (darkening to spine and light staining to covers).
FIRST EDITION, LIMITED ISSUE, number 10 of only 25 copies on handmade paper and in this special binding.
"A play which deals light-heartedly with the profound Freudian motive of father-murder, and which therefore outraged the sensitive nationalism of the Irish when it first appeared but immedialtely became a success in France. Only Synge could truly render spoken Gaelic-Irish into a literary language (Riders to the Sea) where Yeats and Moore both failed. The Playboy is a comedy which, like all great plays, can be re-read as well as re-visited. Yeats advised Synge, steeped in Mallarmé and Villon, to leave France and employ the speech of the Aran Islanders instead" (Connolly The Modern Movement 18). A very good copy of a notable rarity of modern Irish literature, lacking in both the John Quinn libary and the James Gilvarry collection (sold by Christie's, New York 7 February 1986). Connolly The Modern Movement 18.
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The illustration on p.343 of the catalogue is for lot 298.
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