Gogarty, Oliver St. John. Wild Apples. Dublin: Cuala Press, ...



€500 - €750


Gogarty, Oliver St. John. Wild Apples. Dublin: Cuala Press, 1928. First edition. pp. 33. Original linen over grey-blue mottled boards, title on frayed printed label on spine and printed in black on upper cover. Trace of old inoffensive stain on lower board bottom left, corners a little bumped. Edition limited to 50 copies only. Exceptional presentation inscription on front free endpaper: “To the Honble Mrs. Phillimore / from Oliver St. J. Gogarty / Dublin 24.5.28”. Also neat pencil marginal notation in French under “Syracuse” poem by Gogarty. A newspaper or magazine clipping of Gogarty’s poem, 'The Plum Tree by the House', has been pasted on to one of the rear endpapers. Fine copy in holland-backed boards in an edition limited to 50 only. Oliver Joseph St. John Gogarty (1878-1957), surgeon, wit, and writer was born in Rutland Square (Parnell Square), Dublin, in 1878 and educated at Clongowes Wood and TCD. He graduated in medicine in 1907. He was a close friend of James Joyce and was the inspiration and model for James Joyce’s character Buck Mulligan in 'Ulysses' who features in the novel’s famous first line “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” Gogarty twice won the Vice-Chancellor's Prize for English verse and went to Oxford for two terms in a vain attempt to emulate Oscar Wilde by winning the Newdigate Prize. His enthusiasm for the classics won him the favour of the Trinity dons Mahaffy and Tyrrell. He quickly built up a large practice as a nose and throat surgeon. His reputation for irreverent wit was established at sessions in the Bailey restaurant in Duke Street, where he forgathered with Griffith, Seumas O'Sullivan, Sir William Orpen, and James Montgomery. In the Civil War his sympathy with the Free State side led to his capture by Republicans. He escaped by swimming the Liffey, and presented two swans to the river in gratitude. He was nominated to the first Seanad, organised the Tailteann Games, and won a gold medal for his book of verse 'An Offering of Swans' (1924). His house at Renvyle in Connemara was burned down in the Civil War but he rebuilt it as a hotel, run on rather eccentric lines, where he invited his friends, who now included Augustus John and W.B. Yeats. He developed an obsessive hatred of De Valera and an increasing dislike for the conservative Ireland of the thirties, ill-suited to his flamboyant personality. In 1937 he lost a libel action arising from his reminiscences 'As I Was Going down Sackville Street', and moved to London and then to America in 1939. There he continued to write, publishing some further volumes of reminiscences, several novels, and his 'Collected Poems' (1951). He died in New York. This copy is inscribed by Oliver Gogarty to Mrs. Lucy Phillimore (nee Fitzpatrick). Phillimore was a wealthy novelist who leased the famous house and gardens of Kilmacurragh in Wicklow in the 1920s. W B Yeats and Phillimore famously rowed during his visit there, [McCormack: 'Blood Kindred'] Kilmacurragh was known for its gardens and arboretum and has more recently become the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. A collection of poetry in an edition limited to fifty copies only, printed at the Cuala Press specially for the author. W.B. Yeats requested a revised and extended version for the second edition of the book [see item following], with a preface by him. From the colophon : “Fifty copies of this book have been printed by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats on paper made in Ireland, at the Cuala Press, 133 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, Ireland. Finished in Holy Week nineteen hundred and twenty eight.” Elizabeth Corbet Yeats (1868-1940) worked as an art teacher in London before later establishing the Cuala Press with her brother W.B. Yeats in 1908. Along with her sister Lily, long over-shadowed by their more famous brothers, made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Ireland through their involvement with 'Cuala'. Elizabeth ran the printing department with her brother William as editor to the Press, while Lily ran the embroidery department. It was an Arts & Crafts press run and staffed by women that focussed on publishing new works by Irish authors and played a vital part in the Celtic Revival

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