Cré na Cille. Illustrated by Charles Lamb (1949)
Book ID: 67849
Cré na Cille. Aithris I nDeich nEadarluid. Illustrated by Charles Lamb. Dublin: Sairseal & Dill, 1949. First Edition. Pp, 364. Black buckram, title in silver to upper cover and on spine, with original dust jacket, heavily worn on upper margins with some loss.
First issue of this Irish language classic.
Cré na Cille (Churchyard Clay) won the Oireachtas literary competition in 1947. Recognized almost immediately as a classic, the book, set among the dead in a Connemara graveyard, was serialized in the Irish Press between February and September of 1949, the same year it was published in Dublin by Sáirséal agus Dill.
Ó Cadhain, responding to suggestions that he was inspired by Dostoevsky, claimed that his inspiration actually came from a throwaway comment he heard after digging a grave for an elderly resident of An Cnocan Glas. The novel features Caitríona Pháidín, a recently deceased Irish matriarch whose history is revealed through conversations with others lying in the graveyard as each new arrival relates the progress of events above ground. It emerges that her life’s passion was the besting of her sister Neil. The novel depicts the unpleasant side of Irish rural life. It is unflinchingly honest, very funny, and fiercely eloquent.
Charmingly illustrated with full page pen drawings by Charles Lamb R.H.A. With promotional material for the publisher inserted.