Shedding light on … Literature
We are often asked why recent publications have to be consulted in the EPB reading room. The answer is that our full title is the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections and the modern material comes under the latter part of the heading.
Novels, plays, poems and short stories written in English by Irish authors; signed books; limited editions of up to 500 copies and other vulnerable or particularly valuable items are all in our care. Examples include A small light by the Kerry poet Brendan Kennelly, Professor Emeritus of English in TCD; Light a penny candle by one of Ireland’s best loved novelists, the late Maeve Binchy; and a signed copy of the limited edition First light (the first chapter, originally published separately in a special edition of only 138 copies, of The infinities) by John Banville, as well as those shown here.
Although much of our material is received through Legal Deposit, we also receive donations. One such is the Pollard Collection, comprising more than 10,500 books published for children, mainly girls, before 1914, amassed over 50 years and bequeathed to the Library by the first Keeper of Early Printed Books, Mary Pollard. Another is the collection of around 2,000 literary items donated by Seamus O’Sullivan (James Sullivan Starkey), founder and editor of the Dublin Magazine, and Estella Solomons (Stella).
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