Hard Cover. London: Neville Spearman, 1956. First English Edition. Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
First UK edition (and first hardcover edition), first printing. Publisher's blue cloth, with spine lettered in black; in its original blue pictorial dust jacket, with black and orange illustration of a lounging Sebastian Dangerfield, lettered in orange. Fine, with just a touch of toning to foot of spine, and a tiny bump to right edge of front board; fine unclipped dust jacket, with a hint of fading to spine. Overall, a pristine copy. The titular "ginger man" of J. P. Donleavy's classic debut novel is Sebastian Dangerfield, a young and charismatic man studying law at Dublin University, who lives with his wife and infant in an eerie, ramshackle house on a cliff. The book follows Sebastian on his comic misadventures, as he engages in messy affairs and drinks himself into oblivion. The book is told in a picaresque style, in the vein of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones (1749) and Laurence Stern's Tristram Shandy (1759), with stream-of-conscious prose that often verges on poetry. The book was originally published in softcover by the Paris-based Olympia Press, which published other famously controversial books like Nabokov's Lolita (1955) and William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch (1959). Donleavy was enraged at Olympia Press for publishing the novel under their "pornographic" imprint, the Traveller's Companion series, and became embroiled in a twenty-year legal battle with Olympia Press's publisher, Maurice Girodias, which culminated in Donleavy purchasing Olympia Press at auction after Girodias declared bankruptcy. This first UK edition of The Ginger Man was published one year after the true first edition, with the text expurgated to comply with British standards. Item #JPD001