History of the Ginger Man

James Patrick Donleavy, Author
James Patrick Donleavy, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $32.5 (517p) ISBN 978-0-395-51595-2
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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. (Mar.)
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