Noel: An Epic in Seven Cantos
Martin Secker, London, 1922.
This edition is limited to 500 copies, each signed by the Author (on the verso of the title).
Hardback; 155 x 230 mm; grey boards with titles on paper pasted to the top of the spine; 370 pages, top edge painted grey. Illustrated endpapers. No dust jacket.
The book is in good condition. The binding is sound. The covers are scuffed and marked with some bumping, especially to both ends of the spine. Small pieces of the paper label, with the titles on the spine, are missing. The spine is a little faded with some wear along the joints. The endpapers are tanned. The pages have been irregularly and raggedly cut along the fore edge. Some leaves have not been cut.
Gilbert Cannan (1884–1955) was a British novelist and dramatist. He is now, perhaps, largely forgotten in terms of his literary output. He moved in, and knew some of the most important literary and artistic circles of his day: among others J M Barrie, Bertrand Russell, Ottoline Morrell, Dorothy Brett, Mark Gertler, Katherine Mansfield, and Dora Carrington. Noel Carrington (1895-1989) was Dora’s brother. Despite Cannan’s considerable literary output, it is generally considered he never realised the potential inherent in Henry James’ 1914 coupling of him with Hugh Walpole, Compton McKenzie, and D H Lawrence as the up and coming writers of the day.
Cannan’s obsession with himself compelled him to write about his own life and the people close to him. In 1920 he was lecturing in the United States when the artist Gwen Wilson, with whom he was having an affair, married the politician, industrialist, and financier Henry Mond. This triggered a deep depression in Cannan. The book offered here, Noel, was published only a couple of years before he was certified insane.
Noel offers readers the opportunity to assess for themselves the work of an important, though perhaps now obscure writer at this crisis point in his life.