Edmund Downey


Life
1856-1937 [pseud. “F. M. Allen”; err. 1865]; born Waterford; went to London, 1878; enjoyed success with Through Green Glasses (1887); he was active in Southwark Irish Literary Club; conducted publishing business in London, firstly in conjunction with Ward and then, from 1895, independently; a central publishing figure of the early literary revival; associated with Charles Gavan Duffy in the printing of Poems of F. H. O’Donnell (1892); stemmed from a nationalist grouping in Waterford, which later included D. P. Moran;
 
his 15 novels and story-collections, often nautical in character, mainly involving a Waterford narrator, Dan Banim, include some retellings of Christian fable, Irish legend and English history; Brayhard, The Strange Adventures of One Ass and Seven Champions (1890), adventures of little people with hobgoblins, fairies, ogres; returned to Waterford c.1903, judging by publication dates, and died there;
 
His own titles were published in London by Downey & Ward, then by Downey & Co. after the split in 1895; later by Heinemann and by Chatto & Windus, and then by Downey in Waterford, all with various American corresponding publishers, chiefly Appleton and Pratt; his associated early and late with the other Waterford men Thomas Sexton and D. P. Moran; there is an obituary in Irish Book Lover, Vol. XXV, p.38; Richard D'Alton Williams poem “To Mary” (Poems, 1894, pp236-40) is dedicated to her. JMC IF IF2 OCIL

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Works
Titles issued by Qard & Downey (based on RICORSO)
  • Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, Edward O’Donnell, a Story of Ireland in Our Day ([1st edn. Downey;] NY: Green 1884);
  • T. P. O’Connor, Gladstone’s House of Commons (London: Ward & Downey 1885);
  • Fitzjames O’Brien, The Diamond Lens and Other Stories (Downey 1887);
  • Lady Wilde, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland, with William Robert Wilde, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey, 1887);
  • Mrs. B. M. Croker, Pretty Miss Neville, [orig. Tinsley, 1883; rep. edn.] (London: Ward & Downey 1887);
  • Mrs. B. M.Croker, Diana Barrington: A Romance of Central India. In three volumes [3 vols.] (London: Ward & Downey 1888),
  • Lady Wilde (‘Speranza’), Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions Of Ireland (Ward & Downey 1888);
  • Standish James O’Grady, Ed. and intro. Pacata Hibernia Or A History of the Wars in Ireland, by Sir George Carew (London, Downey & Co. 1896) [editor’s attribution of Thomas Stafford’s work inferred from Carew’s papers];
  • Standish James O’Grady, Red Hugh’s Captivity, A Picture of Ireland, Social and Political, in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (London: Ward & Downey 1889);
  • Charlotte Eliza Lawson Riddell, The Nun’s Curse ([1887] London: Ward & Downey; 1890);
  • Hester Sigerson, A Ruined Place; or, The Last Macmanus of Drumroosk (London: Ward & Downey 1890);
  • Elizabeth Reid, Mayne Reid, A Memoir of His Life (Ward & Downey 1890);
  • Frances Sarah Hoey, Nazareth (1873; [rev. edn.] Ward & Downey 1890), non-fiction;
  • Frances Sarah Hoey, The Question[?ing] of Cain (NY: Harper 1881; London: H&B 1882; rev. London: Ward & Downey 1890);
  • Poems of J. F. O’Donnell (London: Ward and Downey, 1891);
  • W. P. Ryan, The Heart of Tipperary (London: Ward & Downey 1893);
  • Richard Ashe King, A Geraldine (London: Ward & Downey 1893);
  • Victor O’Donovan Power, A Secret of the Past (London: Ward & Downey 1893)
  • Joseph S. Le Fanu, The Evil Guest (London: Ward & Downey [1894]) [rep.];
  • Somerville & Ross, The Real Charlotte, 3 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1894);
  • W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (London: Ward & Downey 1894);
  • Joseph S. Le Fanu, The Watcher and Other Weird Stories (Downey 1894) [rep.];
  • Joseph S. Le Fanu, The Fortunes of Col. Turlogh O’Brien ([1847]; London: Downey 1895) [rep.];
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Downey titles (i.e., after partnership with Ward - based on RICORSO)
  • Lady Morgan, O’Donnel: A National Tale [1st edn. 1814] (London: Downey 1895); D. J. O’Donoghue, The Life of William Carleton, 2 vols. (Downey & Co. 1896);
  • Standish James O’Grady, ed. & intro. Pacata Hibernia Or A History of the Wars in Ireland, by Sir George Carew (London, Downey & Co. 1896) [editor’s attribution for Thomas Stafford’s work from papers of Carew];
  • [A.] Percival Graves, ed., with memoir, The Poems of J. S. Le Fanu (London: Downey 1896);
  • William Carleton, Fardorougha the Miser ([1839] London: Downey; NY: Haverty [n.d.; ?1896]);
  • Joseph S. Le Fanu, The Purcell Papers; A Chronicle of Golden Friars and Other Stories (London: Downey 1896);
  • Standish James O’Grady, Ulrick the Ready or, The Chieftains’ Last Rally (London: Downey 1896), and Do. [new edn.] (1908);
  • Martin MacDermott, ed., Songs and Ballads of Young Ireland (London: Downey & Co. 1896);
  • John O’Leary, Recollections of Fenians and Fenianism (London: Downey & Co. 1896);
  • J. Fitzgerald Molloy, The Life and Adventures of Peg Woffington, with Pictures of the Period in which she lived ([1884]; London: Downey 1897);
  • Patrick C. Fahy [John Hill], ’98, Being Recollections of Cormac Cahir O’Connor (London: Downey 1897);
  • Seumus MacManus, ’Twas in Dhroll Donegal, by ‘Mac’ (London: Downey 1896), and Do. [2nd & 3rd eds.] (1897);
  • Seumus MacManus, The Bend of the Road, by James MacManus, ‘Mac’ ([Dublin: Duffy; 1897]; London: Downey 1898);
  • Charles Lever, The Novels of Charles Lever, ed. by his daughter Julia Kate Neville, 37 vols. (London: Downey, 1897-99);
  • Arnold Graves, Prince Patrick (Lon, Downey & Co. 1898);
  • Violet Hobhouse, An Unknown Quantity: A Sad Story of Modern Life (London: Downey & Co. 1898);
  • Margaret T. Pender, The Green Cockade (London: Downey & Co. [1898]);
  • Charles Lever, Harry Lorrequer (London: Downey & Co. 1901) [rep. iss.];
  • Joseph S. Le Fanu, The Cock and Anchor [Duffy 1845] (London: Downey & Co. 1909).

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Clashmore / by Edmund Downey (”F. M. Allen”), author of “Through Green Glasses”, “The Merchant of Killogue”, Etc. / London / Simpkin, Marshall, Kent & Co., Ltd. 1903. To Thomas Sexton / In rememberabce of Some Bouyant Days Long Ago [small caps]; 407pp.. Backpage lists: Anchor Watch Yarns; In One Town; Through Green Glasses; The Voyage of the Ark; A House of Tears; Brayhard; Captain Lanagan’s Log; The Land Smeller; The Merchant of Killogue; Green as Grass; The Little Green Man; Mr. Boyton; The Ugly Man; Fromt he Green Bag; Glimpses of English History; London’s peril; Pinches of Salt; Ballybeg Junction.

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Commentary
W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (Paternoster Row 1894) - remarks on Edmund Downey (pseud. “FM Allen”): ‘... to read some Irish humorous sketches from that volume which began his run of real literary luck - Through Green Glasses. It had just been published, receiving an almost embarrassing amount of critical benediction, Mr Gladstone leading off the chorus. Mr. Downey was too modest and retiring to take a prominent part in the work at Southwark ... in succeeding years, in the midst of a busy literary career, he was always ready to give a helping hand to Irish work or a national or literary character, no matter how local it might be [28].

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W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894): Edmund Downey, co-founder of Downey and Ward, assists Gavan Duffy [66] In Dublin, Duffy find that ‘a section in its councils (including WB Yeats, who had gone over) was more disposed to criticise Sir Charles scheme and its proposed working than their brethren in London. They were representative of a new Irish generation, [66] keenly conscious of intellectual wants and wishes of its own, with pronounced ideas ... they wanted more control ... Rolleston and Downey laboured with the old zeal ... A Dublin element still remained irreconcilable. [67] Mr Yeats opened a correspondence in the Freeman’s Journal in which exception was taken to... the one-man management of CG Duffy. Some hard words were said on both sides ... Sir C. G. Duffy decided to postpone [68] ... Early in 1893 it became known that the plan of a Publishing Company had been definitely abandoned [69].

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W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894) ‘Edmund Downey has immortalised the humour of the Waterford peasant; coming to London in 1878 (at 22), he has brought the peasant on the literary stage in many moods and disguises ... he trips across the deck in sea-stories.. . The author of Through Green Glasses and Green as Grass delights in the incongruous, and loves to play fantastic tricks before high history, especially that of Ireland ... fun and facetiousness ... one of the most Irish of our recent writers. He has a full knowledge of the people; his peasants speak and act as we have known then to speak and act every day. The brogue, the characteristic twists and turns of expression, the happy-go-lucky airiness, the droll imaginativeness of local life he has caught up without the semblance of effort.’ [Ryan goes on to assert that his researches into Irish character, as evinced in conversation, are not retailed in what he writes, and that if they were, a great Irish novel would proceed from them]. ‘I have no doubt that given a read reading public in Ireland, and a fair field for a genuine Irish novelist, the author of Through Green Glasses might give us Irish fiction of a kind that would agitate readers and critics for a long time to come.’ [88-89].

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References
Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904); gives ‘From Portlaw to Paradise’; ‘King John and the Mayor’; ‘Raleigh in Munster’. Downey was the son of ship-owner and broker; joined Tinsley, London, 1878; Ward and Downey, retired 1890; est. Downey & Co., 1894. Works incl. stories by ‘F. M. Allen’, such as Through Green Glasses; also sea-tales, Anchor-Watch Yarns; Merchant of Killogue is a more serious novel with a big central char. and life of Irish country town; Green as Grass (1892); Round Tower of Babel (1892); The Land Smeller (1893); Ballybeg Junction (1894); Little Green Man (1895); Pinches of Salt (1895); The Ugly Man (1896).

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists In One Town (London: Ward & Downey [1884]); Anchor Watch Yarns (Downey [1884]; Through Green Glasses (London: Ward & Downey [1887]; NY Appleton; new edn. Waterford News 1918); The Voyage of the Ark (London: Ward & Downey [1888]), and eds.; From the Green Bag (London: Ward & Downey 1889), stories from Dan Banim; as F M. Allen, Brayhard, The Strange Adventures of One Ass and Seven Champions, by ‘F. M. Allen’ (London: Ward & Downey [1890]), xii, 308pp; 37[var. 36] b/w ills. by Harry Furniss; Capt. Lanigan’s Log (London: Ward & Downey; NY: Pratt 1891); Green as Grass (London: Chatto & Windus; NY: Pratt 1892); The Round Tower of Babel (London: Ward & Downey 1892) [1st edn.]; The Land-smeller (London: Ward & Downey [1892]); The Merchant of Killogue, A Munster Tale, 3 vols. (London: Heinemann [1894]), single vol. edns. after; Ballybeg Junction (London: Downey 1895), 276pp.; Pinches of Salt (Downey 1895), 246pp.; Glimpses of English History (London: Downey 1901), ill. J. F. Sullivan [narrated by Dan Banim]; The Little Green Man (London: Downey [n.d.]), ill. Brinsley Lefanu’; Clashmore (London: Waterford: Downey [1903] 1909), 406pp. [t.p.]; Dunleary: Humours of a Munster Town (London: Sampson Low 1911) [see var. infra], ‘14 capital yarns’ [IF]. See also Edmund [C.] Downey , Charles Lever, His Life in His Letters, 2 vols. (London: Blackwood 1906) Remarks: Through Green Glasses [1887, and eds.]; From the Green Bag (1889) Green as Grass (NY Pratt, 1892) are all stories of ‘Dan Banim’, Waterford countryman. Of Through Green Glasses, Brown writes: ‘This now famous book [in] the same class as Comic History of England ... superior in humour ... kings, saints, and ancient heroes play their delightful part. From “Portlaw to Paradise,” one of the best known.’ In Green as Grass, Dan Banim compasses Dermot and Dervorgilla and Lambert Simnel detected by the Earl of Kildare through his excellent griddle cakes.

Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. 2] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), adds Morrissey (1924), about tricky chars. in seaport town; died Waterford 1937. Note under Lever: Brown gives Edmund Downey as author of Charles Lever, His Life and Letters (London: Blackwood 1906).

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Hyland Books (Cat. 202) lists [Edmund Downey as F. M. Allen,] Brayhard, The Strange Adventures of One Ass and Seven Champions (1st edn. 1890), 37 ills, by Harry Furniss [Hyland 214]. Also Clashmore (1st edn. 1903); Dunleary: Humours of a Munster Town (1st edn. 1913); Morrissey [1st edn. 1924].

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Notes
Kith & kin?: See A. Downey, The Complete Young Irelander: Thomas Francis Meagher (Waterford: Carthage Press 1945).

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