Autobiography and Biography
Beauty for Ashes. Selected Prose and Related Documents

Beauty for Ashes. Selected Prose and Related Documents


Selected Prose & Related Documents

336 pp. 23.4 x 13.5 cm illus. in colour and monochrome

Poet of the Second World War and peacetime dramatist, Francis Warner was 75 this year (2012). This, the first selection from his prose, gives readers of his work some indication of the historical and intellectual background from which his poetry has sprung: of 'the giant race before the flood' who lived on to help shape Britain's post-war imagination.

Starting with memories of the Blitz and his poem 'Blitz Requiem', Warner recalls his schooldays at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, recovering from six years of war, and the role played by music.

He writes of his friends: 'Henry Chadwick: Musician', Kathleen Raine as fellow poet, C. S. Lewis and the Psalms, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Edmond Blunden, and Samuel Beckett, reproducing the manuscripts off two short plays Beckett discussed with and gave to him. Other subjects include W. B. Yeats, Benjamin Britten and the Japanese Noh plays, Samuel Palmer as poet, and Hugh Wybrew's Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church.

The book concludes with 'Francis Warner as Musician in Performance' an illustrative CD with music by Honegger, Vaughan Williams, and Warner's collaborator the composer and organist David Goode: and Stephen Cleobury conducting the Choir of King's College Cambridge singing one of their anthems.

Francis Warner DLitt, Hon. DMus, is Emeritus Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, and Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge.


Armageddon and Faith: a Survivor's Meditation on the Blitz, 1940-45
Blitz Requiem
Remembrance Sunday Sermon, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, 2011
Four War Sonnets
Christ's Hospital Three and Sixty Years Ago
Henry Chadwick: Musician
The Song that is Christmas
A Cambridge Friendship: Kathleen Raine and Francis Warner
C. S. Lewis and the Revision of the Psalter
A Blessing on C. S. Lewis's home in Oxford, The Kilns
Foreword to Hugh Wybrew: Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church
The Bones and the Flesh: Henry Moore and Francis Bacon
Samuel Palmer's Poem 'The Sorceress'
James Joyce's Poetry
J. M. Synge's Poetry
Edmund Blunden's Pastoral Poetry
Richard Wall's rondeau cycle In Aliquot Parts
Japanese Noh plays and W. B. Yeats, Benjamin Britten and Samuel Beckett
Manuscript of Beckett's Breath
The Absence of Nationalism in the Work of Samuel Beckett
Manuscript of Beckett's Sans, and covering Letter
A Cup of Coffee in Paris, by Penelope Warner
Francis Warner as a Musician in the1950s, by Bernard Martin
Compact disc: Francis Warner as Musician in Performance
Anthem for Christ the King

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A Servant of the Queen

A Servant of the Queen

£12.99 paperback

Edited by A. Norman Jeffares and Anna MacBride White

21.6 x 13.8 cm. paperback

Maud Gonne MaeBride is part of Irish history: her foundation of the women's group Inghinidhe na hEireann. the Daughters of Ireland, in 1900, was the key that effectively opened the door of politics in the twentieth century to Irishwomen. Still remembered in Ireland for the fiery, emotive public speeches she made on behalf of the suffering – those evicted from their homes in the West of Ireland, the Treason-Felony prisoners on the Isle of Wight, indeed all those whom she saw as victims of the imperialism she constantly opposed – she is known, too, within and outside Ireland as the woman W. B. Yeats loved and celebrated in his poems.

He wrote poems to and about her after they first met in 18S9, and he continued to do so in his middle age and up to his seventies. when he remembered her ‘straight back and arrogant head’, her gentleness, and her wildness. And something of those extremes in her character becomes clear in her autobiography, A Servant of the Queen, which brings her life up to her marriage to John MaeBride in 1903.

This is no orthodox autobiography: it selects episodes – many of them highly dramatic – in her life rather than providing a more pedestrian progress through all its events. The book conveys her romanticism and suggests how wide a range of activities she pursued as a fervent nationalist, persuasive propagandist, and successful journalist. Her sheer courage emerges clearly but though she held mere convention in contempt she had to exercise some discretion in writing these memoirs. The editors have identified some hitherto unnamed characters and established the identity of persons given other names in earlier editions: they have indicated some of the episodes in Maud Gonne's life – notably her liaison with the French politician Lucien Millevoye – that she was obliged to omit in the first edition (1937). A Servant of the Queen is written in a characteristically dashing conversational style and reveals the complexity of Maud Gonne's character: it is a most readable account of aspects of a vital, exciting life which has maintained its interest to historians and students. In this new edition, the editors, who compiled The Gonne-Yeats Letters 1893-1938, have corrected the order of the chapters so that they are now arranged according to the sequence of events, and have added a chronology, notes on the principal figures, and an index.


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Erskine H. Childers, President of Ireland. A Biography

Erskine H. Childers, President of Ireland. A Biography


21.6 x 13.8 cm. with 24 illus.

Hurriedly summoned from his English public school in November 1922, Erskine Childers was permitted by the Free State authorities to make one brief, final visit to his condemned father in the cells of Portobello Barracks, Dublin, at the height of the Civil War. Not surprisingly, such an emotional ordeal had a profound and lasting impact on the sixteen-year-old boy, who had promised his father in the death-cell to shake hands with and forgive every Minister in the Provisional Government who were responsible for his death, and that if he entered Irish politics himself he would never mention the execution in public, and do everything possible to ensure that the Childers name would become a healing memory.

A little over half a century later when that same schoolboy became President of Ireland he was universally regarded as a man of peace. His sudden death after only eighteen months in office brought the largest gathering of monarchs and rulers ever to assemble on Irish soil, to pay tribute to Erskine Childers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, while people wept openly in the streets outside.

This work tells of the patient determination that nothing and no one would divert Erskine Childers from the exacting task he had promised to undertake, and of the very considerable contributions to Ireland that he was able to make in the process, in the various ministeries that he headed, and finally as the country’s first citizen, the fourth President of the Republic of Ireland.

Mr. Jack Lynch, Ireland’s premier from 1966-73, and 1977-79, has written a foreword for this biography.

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Not a Word of a Lie

Not a Word of a Lie


ISBN 978-1-873821-01-5

Not a Word of a Lie is an evocative portrait of growing up in the West of Ireland. Recalling her childhood and youth in Duras, a narrow peninsula jutting out into Galway Bay, about four miles from the nearby town of Kinvara, Bridie Conroy-Quinn describes the small, self-contained farming community in which she grew up with affection and humour, but also with an acute understanding of the small tragedies and injustices that sometimes disturbed the normally tranquil pattern of the yearly round.

Bridie Quinn-Conroy was born and raised in Duras. Educated at Duras National School and Seamount College, she trained as a primary school teacher in Carysfort Training College, Dublin. She taught schools in South Galway and was Vice-President of Craughwell N.S. until she took early retirement in 1989. Married to Michael Conroy, she has four children.

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The Letters of Saint Oliver Plunkett 1625-1681

The Letters of Saint Oliver Plunkett 1625-1681


Edited by Mgr John Hanly

ISBN: 978-0-85105-344-8

27.2 x 18.0 cm.
The illustrated end-papers reproduce a map of Rome published in 1676.
Note that our copies do not have a dust-jacket, only a clear protective cover. We took over a quantity of book blocks from the liquidators of  Dolmen Press in 1987, which we then had cloth-bound. We were unable to find any jackets.

In March 1670 St. Oliver Plun­kett, his long exile over, stepped ashore at Ringsend to the wel­come of friends and relatives. For twenty-two years he had lived in Rome as clerical student and pro­fessor of theology. It was an ex­citing if also a sad time. Oliver Plunkett stepped into Restoration Ireland as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate. For ten years, until his arrest in December 1679, he applied himself to the task of rebuilding and repairing, knowing that the storm was by no means over. In the early years he was a man in a hurry, taking full advan­tage of a period of relative toler­ation and peace. In 1674 he was for many months a fugitive, deter­mined not to forsake his flock until ‘they drag us to the ship with the rope around our necks’. The last few years of his life, including eighteen months in prison, were the years of the infamous Popish Plot of Titus Oates, of which he was the final victim, the last of the martyrs of Tyburn.

For the first time a complete chronological edition of Saint Oliver’s letters enables us to follow the story, as it evolves in his own words, of his work as Archbishop in Ulster, where the Plantation was barely two generations old. He emerges as a man of immense courage, deep conviction and priestly zeal with the sometimes all too human side of one who grew into sainthood; and in the final documents the magnificent calm with which he faced his cruel death stands out.

The Letters of Saint Oliver Plunkett give many interesting insights into various events and characters of his time. His pen ran freely, his policy was to be well informed, and to give a clear picture of all matters touching the Church in Ireland. There are many light-hearted passages too, as when he tells us that the farmer in whose barn he was hiding, and on whom he depended for his food, sometimes came back a little too merry from town, and his guest had to fast. . . .

The letters are printed in their original language, almost always Italian, with translation and com­mentary. The book is edited by Monsignor John Hanly who first worked on these letters for a doc­toral thesis at the Gregorian Uni­versity from 1959 to 1961, and who was Postulator of the Cause of Saint Oliver from 1968 until the canonisation in 1975.

Designed by Liam Miller.


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The Mad Pomegranate and the Praying Mantis

The Mad Pomegranate and the Praying Mantis


ISBN: 978-0-86140-200-7
21.6 x 13.8 cm.      [in association with the Mantis Press]

The Mad Pomegranate & the Praying Mantis tells the story of a playwright who went to Spain to make a film about the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. He made the film and stayed on in Andalusia with his wife and five children for another ten years. When the playwright, Peter Luke (1919-95), had a West End success with one of his stage plays, Hadrian VII, he bought an almond, lemon and olive farm..

His Andalusian way of life suggested parallels with that of Publius Vergilis Maronis, the Virgil of the Bucolics and the Georgics, and Peter Luke, through his carefully selected and beautifully presented description, admits us to share his own arcadian experience.

The Mad Pomegranate & the Praying Mantis is an apologia for bucolic man in an increasingly urbanised world, and the author conveys his pleasure in this world in a manner that will delight the reader, however urbanised.

[Contrary to what a certain book reviewer believed about the title and images on the jacket, the title was that originally chosen by the author. The mantis was caught by my parents' cat and rescued from it, while the pomegranate was picked in their garden in Malta. I flew both back to England, placed one on the other, photographed them and, because I had to return immediately, took the mantis back to Malta 24 hours later, releasing it back in the garden whence it came. It had travelled over 2,600 miles. C.P.S.]

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Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box, 1813-35

Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box, 1813-35


General Editors of the Coole Edition: T.R.Henn CBE and Colin Smythe

With a Foreword by Jon Stallworthy

ISBN: 978-0-900675-41-6

While the editing of Sir William Gregory's Autobiography was largely a matter of shortening the manuscript, Mr. Gregory's Letter-Box was a much greater editorial effort, for Lady Gregory had to create linking passages for the letters, filling in the social and historical background.

Mr. Gregory's experience in the post was unequalled: he held it for eighteen years and saw Viceroys and Chief Secretaries come and go. Not for nothing was he said to be the real ruler of Ireland. He served under five Viceroys – Lords Whitworth, Talbot, Wellesley, Anglesey, and Northumberland — and seven Chief Secretaries, the most important being Robert Peel (later Prime Minister), Charles Grant, Henry Goulburn and William Lamb (later Lord Melbourne, and Prime Minister).

Little more than a decade before Mr. Gregory's appointment, Ireland had lost its Parliament, and he had to carry out policies decided upon by a government who found it difficult to understand the Irish situation, and had no sympathy with the Roman Catholic majority of the population. Thus Mr. Gregory's term of office was dominated by the Napoleonic War, periodic disturbances, famines, the visit of King George IV, teaching his various superiors 'the ropes', and maintaining as smooth government as possible during the mounting campaign for Catholic Emancipation. The Letter-Box therefore supplies anyone interested in the period with a fascinating and valuable insight into an important epoch of Irish history.

Mr. Gregory's Letter-Box was first published in 1898 in a small edition which has been out of print for well over half a century. This volume has additional material intended for inclusion in a later edition which Lady Gregory kept in her copy of the book, as well as an extensive biographical index, doubling as notes for the text.


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My Life and Music

My Life and Music


Widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s finest pianists, Artur Schnabel (1882-1951) was especially renowned as an interpreter of Beethoven. In the words of his friend Edward Crankshaw, his performance of the Diabelli Variations in his last years was ‘like looking at the sun without dark glasses’. However, Schnabel also earned high praise for his playing of Schubert, Mozart, and Brahms. Indeed, his later concert repertoire was largely devoted to great composers in the Austro-German tradition. In explanation, Schnabel contended that he wished to play only ‘music that was better than it could be performed’.

His uncompromising, passionate commitment to penetrating the mysteries of the greatest music is clearly revealed in this absorbing, highly readable combination of personal reminiscence and musical manifesto. Not a conventional autobiography, it includes a transcript of 12 autobiographical lectures Schnabel gave to music students at the University of Chicago in 1945. The lectures were followed by informal sessions in which the pianist answered questions from the audience on a wide variety of musical topics. These questions and Schnabel’s revealing, unrehearsed replies comprise the second part of this book, offering rich insight into the pianist’s personality and musical philosophy. The final section, ‘Reflections on Music’, is a talk Schnabel gave on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree from the University of Manchester.

While his approach to music was highly intellectual, and his demeanour on the concert stage formidably serious (he seldom smiled and never played an encore), Schnabel in person was a warm, animated, and stimulating companion. Much of that personal appeal comes across in this book, as the pianist recalls his experiences as a child prodigy in turn-of-the-century Vienna, his family and social background, pianistic training and preferences in the repertoire, his attitude toward the great conductors and composers of the day, thoughts on the teaching of music, and many more topics.

Enhanced by 20 illustrations, including many photographs from the collection of Schnabel’s son, My Life and Music offers an in-depth portrait — in his own words — of one of the twentieth century’s greatest musicians. It will especially appeal to music lovers, but offers a rich reading experience to anyone fascinated by the passion, power and insight of a musician of genius.

Unabridged, this slightly corrected republication of My Life and Music and Reflections on Music was first published by Colin Smythe Ltd in 1970. The present edition has the joint imprint of Dover Publications and Colin Smythe Ltd. It has a Foreword by Sir Robert Mayer and an Introduction by Edward Crankshaw. There are 20 black-and-white illustrations.

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