O’BRIEN, Flann [Myles na gCopaleen – Brian O’Nolan] At Swim-Two-Birds.
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EXTREMELY RARE FIRST EDITION DESCRIBED BY GRAHAM GREENE AS IN THE “LINE OF TRISTRAM SHANDY AND ULYSSES”
London: Longmans, 1939. First edition, first issue. Demy octavo. pp. 316. Black cloth, titled in gilt. Previous owner’s signature on endpapers. Newspaper clippings loosely inserted. Top edge green tinted. Minor wear to heel of spine. A very good copy. Extremely rare. Flann O’Brien’s masterpiece and first novel, is written in a comic manner involving elements of burlesque and parody, based on pulp fiction and Old and Middle Irish tales made familiar by the literary revival. This novel was profoundly conditioned by the stylistic experiments in ‘Ulysses’, and Joyce paid it the compliment of reciting passages by heart. Although not all that well-received at the time it is now recognised as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century, and for one glorious week in April 1939 it replaced ‘Gone With the Wind’ as top of the best-seller list in Dublin. In 1953, O’Nolan took voluntary retirement from the Civil Service due to a series of accidents and illness. In order to support himself and his wife he stepped up production of his ‘Cruiskeen Lawn’ column in the ‘Irish Times’, syndicated a somewhat tamer column to provincial papers, and took hack work wherever he could find it. This is the exceedingly rare first edition in black cloth. Most of this issue was destroyed when the Germans bombed London including Longman’s premises in 1940.
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