> I am very excited to report a new acquisition, this time for our Irish collection. Shown here is the first edition of John Sherman and Dhoya (London, 1891), the third book published by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). According to a letter (March 5, 1891) from Yeats to his friend and fellow writer Katharine Tynan, “If Sherman gets printed I shall be greatly pleased. There is more of myself in it than in anything I have done.” Thirteen years later he would write that it was “written when I was very young and knew no better.”
This book earned Yeats £40 at a time when he really needed it (he was in his 20s). It was published as part of the “Pseudonym Library,” a type of series common in the 19th century as a way for unknown writers to get into print. Yeats’s chosen pseudonym, “Ganconagh” (Irish for “love-talker”), is a variety of leprechaun.
The original donor of our Irish collection (Alfred M. Williams) was a friend of Yeats, and we have many excellent presentation copies of the poet’s books–some simply signed, others inscribed to Williams, and occasionally a book has corrections in Yeats’s hand. We had no editions of this work in the collection, so it fills a real gap.