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Edmund Downey Manuscripts of Charles Lever's Writings


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Downey, Edmund, 1856-1937

Edmund Downey, an Irish novelist, publisher, and newspaper editor, was born in Waterford in July 1856. After his education at the Catholic University he began writing and enjoyed literary success with his publication of Through Green Glasses in 1887. He established two publishing businesses in London, Ward & Downey and Downey & Company, and became a central publishing figure of the early literary revival, publishing works by those such as Standish O'Grady and Joseph Sheridan le Fanu. His fifteen novels and story collections, written under the pseudonym F.M. Allen, include some re-tellings of Christian fable, Irish legend and English history. In 1906, Downey took over the editorship of the Waterford News. He died in Waterford in 1937.

Downey was a strong supporter of Irish novelist Charles Lever (1806-1872), publishing his life and letters in 1906.

This collection consists of manuscripts for two unrealized publications of Charles Lever's miscellaneous writings, "Books, Men, & Affairs; Views and Reviews" and "Harry Lorrequer's Log" or "Harry Lorrequer's Log-Book," both edited by Edmund Downey. The publications Downey envisaged are of pieces which date from early in Lever's career. They are notable for Lever's reflections on his contemporaries and the Irish scene in general; included is a macabre ghost story, "The Black Mask."

Manuscripts for the two projected publications include loose leaves extracted from reviews, with autograph commentary, notes, prefaces and title pages by Downey (approximately 300 pages in total).

Also included in the collection is an early draft of part of Downey's book, Charles Lever: His Life in His Letters (1906); and some related bibliographical notes of Lever's writings by John(?) Geary.

Purchase, 2015. (AM 2015-93)

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This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in June 2015. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in June 2015.

No material was separated during 2015 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Faith Charlton
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

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Collection Inventory

"Books, Men, & Affairs; Views and Reviews", undated. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

The nominal reviews were anonymous pieces which appeared in the Dublin University Magazine from 1836 to 1845. Among the works reviewed were William Wilde's Narrative of a Voyage to Madeira; Marryat's Diary in America; and Thackeray's The Irish Sketch-book. As part of the editing process, Downey cut and amended the text in various ways.

In his preface, Downey writes that Lever "was in the habit of reviewing books in a manner peculiar to himself, using them as pegs on which he might hang his personal opinions, anecdotes of his experiences, & shreds of wit and humour..."

Physical Description

1 folder

"Harry Lorrequer's Log" or "Harry Lorrequer's Log-Book", undated. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

In his preface, Downey writes that Lever planned in 1839 a volume of tales and essays to be called "Harry Lorrequer's Log," building on the success of The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer (1839) but James McGlashan, his publisher, was not keen, preferring to keep Lever at work on what would be Charles O'Malley (1841). Downey continues, "The stories and sketches in this volume were written between the years 1830 and 1847. They appeared as unsigned contributions to Irish periodicals, and they exhibit Lever in most of his early, and wayward, phases."

The contents list has 14 entries, but only six pieces are present. The titles are: The Black Mask, A Day in Town, The Place des Terreaux, The Emigrant's Tale, William Hamilton Maxwell, and The Vice Provost of Trinity. In addition there is, "On the State of Parties in Dublin." (It would be party political factionalism that drove Lever to leave Ireland in 1845 for the United States.)

Physical Description

1 folder

Charles Lever: His Life in His Letters Draft, undated. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

A very early draft, with numerous amendments and additional material; two notebooks, approximately 75 pages.

Physical Description

1 folder

Bibliographical Notes, circa 1910. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

A notebook with extensive bibliographical notes on different editions of Lever's works by John(?) Geary.

Physical Description

1 folder

Print, Suggest