MANGAN, James Clarence. The Poems of James Clarence Mangan; with biographical introduction by John Mitchel. [GAISFORD ST LAURENCE HOWTH CASTLE COPY]


1 in stock

New York: P.M. Haverty, 1870. Second edition. Crown octavo. pp. [i], 460. Contemporary half green morocco over marbled boards. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title in gilt direct in the second, the remainder tooled in gilt to a centre-and-corner design with a harp and shamrocks in centre; comb-marbled endpapers; red and gold endbands. Armorial bookplate of Thomas Gaisford on front pastedown. All edges gilt. Apart from sporadic foxing to prelims, a superb copy.
No copy located on COPAC. Not in NLI.
James Clarence Mangan, (1803-1849) was the son of a former hedge school teacher who took over a grocery business and eventually became bankrupt. Born in Dublin, he was educated at a Jesuit school where he learned the rudiments of Latin, Spanish, French, and Italian. Obliged to find a job in order to support his family, he became a lawyer’s clerk, and was later an employee of the Ordnance Survey and an assistant in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. From 1820 onwards he adopted the middle name Clarence and after the famine he began writing poems with a strong nationalist bent, including influential works such as My Dark Rosaleen (‘Róisín Dubh’) and A Vision of Connaught in the Thirteenth Century. Mangan was a lonely and difficult man who suffered from mood swings, depression and irrational fears, and became a heavy drinker. His appearance was eccentric, and later in life he was often seen wearing a long cloak, green spectacles and a blond wig. In 1849, weakened by poverty, alcoholism and malnutrition, he succumbed to cholera, aged 46, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.
John Mitchel’s selection of Mangan’s poetry (about two-thirds of his output by Mitchel’s reckoning [p.31]) was first published by Patrick M. Haverty, the Brooklyn bookseller in New York in 1859. This is the second edition of the original text, and its high production values hints at the commercial success of earlier printing. There were to be at least eight editions of Mangan’s work published in the United States, Dublin and London before 1900, nearly all of which were derived from Mitchel’s project to bring his late friend’s work to an Irish-American readership. Mitchel’s superb introductory essay on Mangan’s life includes many otherwise unknown details, but it would seem that it was only after James Duffy’s edition (undated, but from the 1880s) that Mitchel’s posthumous reputation within Ireland began to grow. It was however through the tireless efforts of D.J. Donoghue in the 1890s that
Mangan reached a much wider home audience, and his edition of the Poems… (1903) was a more careful production than Mitchel’s and included material then unknown or forgotten.


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