WILDE, Lady. [Speranza] Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland. With sketches of the Irish past. To which is appended a chapter on “The Ancient Race of Ireland”, by the late Sir William Wilde.


1 in stock

Two volumes. London: Ward and Downey, 1887. First edition. Crown octavo. pp. (1) xi, 280, (2) viii, 370. Recent blue cloth, titled in gilt. Ex lib with neat stamps. Light foxing to prelims. A very good set of the extremely rare first edition.
COPAC locates the BL and TCD copies only.
Jane Francesca Elgee (1826-1896), was born in Wexford, daughter of a solicitor and grand-daughter of Archdeacon Elgee of Wexford. On seeing the funeral of Thomas Davis in 1845 and reading his poems she became an ardent nationalist and contributed verse and prose to The Nation paper under the pen-name ‘Speranza’. In 1851 she married Dr. (afterwards Sir William Wilde), and their salon at 1 Merrion Square was a centre for artists, academics, and visiting dignitaries. She shared his interest in folklore and topography. After his death in 1876 she moved to London, where she also conducted a salon. She died in 1896 the year after her son Oscar was sent to prison. This folklore collection inspired and impressed W.B. Yeats.

[L4 8B]


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