DONLEAVY, J.P. The Ginger Man. Paris: The Olympia Press (Traveller's Companion Series, No. 7), 1955.
Small 8vo. Original green printed wrappers; pp. 353, [vii]; some light rubbing/ fading to spine, some very small stains and slight creasing to the corners of the wrapper; still a very good copy indeed.
First edition, first impression, with the correct price of 1.500 Francs to the lower cover.
Donleavy's first and most celebrated novel, printed by the Olympia Press in the same year that Nabokov's infamous Lolita shared its publication. Like this counterpart, the novel was banned, both in Ireland and the United States of America by reason of obscenity. It was rejected by numerous publishers, until being accepted by the Olympia Press in 1955. The author was horrified to discover, however, that it had been published under its pornography imprint. In his later 1994 biography, Donleavy writes: "I smashed my fist upon its green cover format, published as it was in the pseudonymous and pornographic Traveller’s Companion Series, and I declared aloud, 'If it's the last thing I ever do, I will avenge this book.' "
Donleavy was under the heady influence of James Joyce at the time of writing, and the novel echos his stream-of-consciousness narrative. It chronicles the adventures Sebastian Dangerfield, an American rogue studying at Trinity College in Dublin, and his insatiable appetite for women, liquor, and general debauchery. The protagonist is based upon Donleavy’s friend Gainor Crist, who read it with great pleasure, never realising he was the model for the hero.
Since this publication, The Ginger Man has sold over 45 million copies, and has never been out of print.