The Tain. Translated By Thomas Kinsella From The Irish. With Brush Drawings by Louis Le Brocquy. Limited Edition of 1750 Copies. Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1969. Pp, 295. Large 8vo. Black buckram, title in white along spine with original pictorial dust jacket. Jacket lightly browned & faded, chipped at tail of spine, book in fine condition, housed in publisher's cardboard slipcase.
Liam Miller’s presswork had come to international prominence with the publication of Thomas Kinsella’s The Tain as the ninth Dolmen Edition in September 1969, in a limited edition on 1750 copies. Kinsella’s prominence as a poet and his finely honed skills as a translator made this book a contemporary classic. However, it was the Irish artist Louis le Brocquy’s suites of ink brush drawings for The Tain that fixed the aesthetic standards of the Dolmen Press in high, inter-national repute. The images that Le Brocquy created for Kinsella’s rich text have a powerful, primal effect on the reader, and from their making le Brocquy - Ireland’s most renowned artist after Jack Yeats - derived both the impulse and motifs of his later tapestries and paintings. The Táin Bó Cúailnge, or 'Cattle Raid of Cooley', is the most famous tale in Irish mythology. It is at the centre of the Ulster Cycle of mythological sagas, known as the Rúraíocht in Irish. The tales in the Ulster Cycle are the most heroic of all the Irish myths that have been recorded in writing, and also the most renowned.