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This is the dramatic story of J. P. Donleavy's personal struggle to create and publish a book that became a twentieth-century masterpiece: The Ginger Man. It is literary history combined with Donleavy's autobiography - from his childhood in the Bronx, education at Catholic schools, service in the U.S. Navy, and travels, to his current life as proprietor of a landed estate in the midlands of Ireland.
Trinity College in Dublin after World War II was a mecca for adventurous Americans who used the G.I. Bill as a passport to higher education. Among them were able-bodied seaman second class J. P. "Mike" Donleavy, fighter pilot George Roy Hill (now a celebrated Hollywood director), and naval yeoman Gainor Stephen Crist, a midwestern rara avis and model for the Ginger Man. Student life included degrees in debauchery; drunken brawls in Dublin pubs; comic capers with the playwright Brendan Behan; eccentric Anglo-Irish aristocrats; living on miraculous credit and in constant debt with plenty of time for the seduction of nice Catholic girls.
Donleavy, impecunious and newly married, began to write The Ginger Man in a primitive isolated cottage at Kilcoole. He completed the book over a period of four years on two continents. The Ginger Man was rejected by nearly thirty-five American and British publishers. The book was finally published in Paris in 1955 by Maurice Girodias of the Olympia Press as a work of pornography. Twenty-five years of bitter litigation between Donleavy and Girodias followed, with Donleavy emerging triumphant as sole owner of Olympia and its copyrights, including that of The Ginger Man.
Since its traumatic birth, The Ginger Man has become a contemporary classic, translated into many languages, with millions of copies sold throughout the world.
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The story of the writing, publication, and court battles of Donleavy's classic novel The Ginger Man--never out of print since first publication by Olympia Press in 1955. A high Augustan and mock-Irish poetic aloofness carapaciously enshells and protects the bare-bottomed innocence of this banned, reviled, and adored author now 67 or so no comma please who indulges throughout in a gentleman's tweedily snug and pluperfect wordsmanship both lyrical and in silverpoint sentence fragments, a snob's game at times oddly self-sinking. How was it that the Bronx- born writer-citizen of Ireland was seemingly bound hand and foot by porno publisher Maurice Girodias before the game was by fortune reversed, sublimely, for the wild ginger man? Attending Trinity College in Dublin on the GI Bill, ``Mike'' Donleavy fell in with old Navy buddy Gainor Stephen Crist, who lent his personal flavor to Donleavy's hero Sebastian Dangerfield, the ginger man, as did a second friend, Dublin publisher John Ryan. These charmers ``savored language, rolled it about on the tongue, tasted for its vintage and measuredly rationed it out to the waiting ears.'' Donleavy's boozing comrade, spit-in-yer-eye Irish playwright Brendan Behan, clearly lends a bounce to Dangerfield as well. Young Donleavy, poor as an outhouse rat, marries, moves his bride to a cheap cottage in Kilcoole, and begins his four-year stint of writing a first novel, The Ginger Man, some of whose unedited, unused, or misbegotten passages here rise in blood from the page. We are lip-lickingly compelled to await the arrival of villainous publisher Girodias, who when he does show up after 400 pages seems a reasonable if greedy fellow whose villainy has been as overblown as Donleavy's grandiosity, which in fact is all style overlying tubby substance. Even so: often quite wonderful, especially about Behan and Crist. Donleavy's unbuttoned best in 40 years, as unbalanced as The Ginger Man. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
From the author of The Ginger Man comes a history of that novel from its inception to its British publication in 1956. And, like The Ginger Man , it is a blasphemous read, mainly because many of the characters who inhabit the novel are here. Readers will be struck by the major role played by Brendan Behan, Donleavy's editor and tipster who knew a publisher willing to take on The Ginger Man. In 1952 Donleavy, with his wife and child left Ireland, where he had lived after graduating from Trinity, to return home to New York City. In the U.S., after becoming depressed over McCarthyism and over the many rejections of his manuscript, he and his family headed to England. It was there that Behan suggested that the manuscript be submitted to Olympia Press in Paris, the publisher of Samuel Beckett. To Donleavy's outrage, The Ginger Man appeared under Olympia's Traveller's Companion Series, a pornographic imprint. After much legal haggling over ownership of the British and American rights, the novel was published in Britain, and Donleavy outmaneuvered Maurice Giroudias to become the owner of Olympia Press and, in his own words, ended up "actually in litigation with myself." An interesting, if at times self-serving study of author and work that will appeal only to Donleavy's most dedicated fans. Photos. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Houghton Mifflin, Boston & New York, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. New. The dust jacket has just a little shelfwear and is in new mylar. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. History, Biography. Seller Inventory # 035965
Book Description Houghton Mifflin, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0395515955
Book Description Houghton Mifflin, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0395515955
Book Description Houghton Mifflin, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB00269S5MI
Book Description Houghton Mifflin. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0395515955. Seller Inventory # N2-411DIA
Book Description Houghton Mifflin, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110395515955
Book Description Houghton Mifflin. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0395515955 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.1071420