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Íosagán agus Sgéalta Eile
Dublin: Conradh na Gaeilge. Good+. 1907. First Edition; First Printing. Softcover. 3 p.l., 117 & [2] pages; Publisher's brown pictorial wrappers, title page printed in red and black (dated "1907"), edges of the text trimmed rough. Sectional titles to the stories with b/w illustrations & four hors-texte color plates by Beatrice Elvery (all present). The title page and text are entirely in Irish, but for a glossary (Foclóir) at the end [pp. (95) - 117]. "Only the more difficult words, or words which illustrate some peculiarity of local usage in pronunciation, vocabulary or usage, are included in this Foclóir." As a supplement to this glossary, an early owner of this copy has written English translations of many words and a few grammatical notes on many pages of the text. These annotations are entirely in pencil. Our copy of his rare little book, 'Íosagán agus Sgéalta Eile,' is sound and interesting, markings and all. We have decided to leave them, as their presence in this copy does seem to fulfill and embody Pádraig Pearse's aim in writing and publishing these stories. Certainly, a buyer might have a different reaction to this annotation, which affects some portion of at least 48 pages; the pencil notes are not written with a heavy hand, and a competent conservator could make these vanish. It should also be mentioned that there is a signature (in Irish) with a brief note on the recto of the front blank leaf, one sectional title has evidence of careless opening at the deckle of its fore-edge (no text affected), there are three or four lower corners of leaves which had been turned in at one point (now flat, with no breaks or damage to the leaves) and there is a tiny splash of blue (paint? ink?) on the blank verso of the sectional title to the last story. The wrappers are complete and integral, but there is some fraying at the spine ends and some minor breaks along the yapped (overhanging) edges of the wrappers. Pictures sent upon request. A rare, early book by Pádraig Pearse, sometimes known as Patrick H. Pearse, writing here under his Irish name: Pádraig (Anraí) Mac Piarais. Pearse, [1879 – 3 May 1916] was an Irish teacher, barrister, poet, writer, nationalist and political activist who was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. He was declared "President of the Provisional Government" of the Irish Republic in one of the bulletins issued by the Rising's leaders, although his precise title is still under some dispute. But, unquestionably, as a tribute to his skills at public speaking and his power as a writer in both English and Irish, Pádraig was chosen by the Irish Republican Brotherhood leader Tom Clarke to be the spokesman for the Rising. On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, it was Pearse who proclaimed a Republic from the steps of the General Post Office and headquarters of the revolutionaries. Nine days later, he and his brother Willie were executed by a British firing squad along with 14 others. Pádraig Pearse, along with Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh, was the first to be shot. General Sir John Maxwell, commanding the British forces in Ireland, sent a telegram to British Prime Minister Asquith, advising him not to return the bodies of Pádraig and Willie Pearse to their family, saying: "Irish sentimentality will turn these graves into martyrs' shrines to which annual processions will be made which would cause constant irritation in this country." For many Irish, Pearse is still the face of the Easter 1916 Rising. Early in his short life, Pearse developed a strong passion for the Irish language (which was native to his mothers family, from Co. Meath). In 1896, at the age of sixteen, he joined the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge) which was then just three years old, and in 1903 at the age of 23, he became editor of its newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis ("The Sword of Light"). In 1899, he taught a weekly class in Irish in the then-Jesuit University College Dublin, where James Joyce, (who was three years younger than Pádraig) was one of his pupils. The promotion of Irish for both artistic and political reasons was clearly the central aim of his youth. In 1905, his book Poll an Piobaire (The Piper's Cave) was published, Also, in that year, Pearse visited Belgium specifically for the purpose of seeing how a bi-lingual society and educational system might function. In 1906 Pearse published some prose poems (writing as Colm Ó Conaire). The next year, the present little book of Irish stories - Íosagán agus Sgéalta Eile was published. The title page and text are entirely in Irish, but for a glossary (Foclóir) at the end [pp. (95) - 117]. Both in matters of style and structure, these Irish stories of Pearse break new ground. He used the vernacular language, and also abandoned the formulaic openings usually found in the tales transmitted as Irish folklore. An early critic found this new direction set by Pearse for Irish literature disquieting. Dr. Richard Heneby (a native Irish speaker) found the explosive opening of the first story in 'Íosagán agus Sgéalta Eile' objectionable. In fact, he wrote that this whole collection of stories was "particularly vile, although apparently intended as a classic." Padraig Pearse's former student James Joyce had ample reason to cultivate his connoisseurship of anti-modernist criticism. Had he read this opinion of his old teacher's stories, Joyce probably would have been motivated to pull out the old foclóir and struggle through 'Íosagán.' As it happened, Pearse rubbed Joyce the wrong way and the younger man soon left Pearse's Irish class. Joyce's old friend Frank Budgen later wrote that Joyce objected to Pearse's running down of the English language at the expense of Irish. The particular point of parting seems to be over Pearse's denegration of the English word "thunder" as weak and inadequate compaired with the Irish "tórnach" (or toirneach). Joyce, on the other hand, especially loved "thunder" for its onomatopoeic rolling through the mouth. Both are spendid words... (Modern linguists would suggest that they are branches from the same old source -- a Proto-Indo-European root which gives us words for thunder, and a few relatives (for instance the Old English "Thunores Dæg" - which we call Thursday). Joyce soon switched to the study of Norwegian. And Pearse became more and more interested in politics and Irish nationalism. ; Experience the pleasure of reading and appreciating this actual printed item. It has its own physical history that imbues it with a character lacking in ephemeral electronic renderings. .
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Last Found On: 2017-07-18           Check availability:      Biblio    

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