The Ginger Man

Paris: Olympia Press, 1955

8vo, pp. 353. Original green stiff card wrappers, lettered in black to panels and spine. Light edgewear, corners and spine ends a little worn, small pencilled ?price to front panel alongside author's name. About very good plus.

First edition of the author's first novel.

The Ginger Man
had been rejected by upwards of thirty publishers on the grounds of obscenity before finding a home in Paris with Maurice Girodias' Olympia Press, for whom its obscenity was its chief appeal. Donleavy was delighted to have found a publisher, and delighted to have found one who had recently published work by Beckett, Bataille and Genet. He was less delighted when The Ginger Man appeared in 1955, on a list including books called White Thighs, The Whip Angels, and The Sexual Life Of Robinson Crusoe -- all of which were advertised in the back of his book. Massive litigation and counter-litigation followed, conducted in a number of countries and over two decades, and when the dust finally settled not only had Donleavy won the rights to his book back, but he also owned the Olympia Press. All of which sometimes overshadows the fact that The Ginger Man is the brilliant debut of a major talent which, in 1998, was voted by the Modern Library one of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century.

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