Alice Zimmern Porphyry Wife Marcella 1896 Gibbon Irish
Alice Zimmern PORPHYRY THE PHILOSOPHER TO HIS WIFE MARCELLA Translated with introduction by Alice Zimmern. George Redway, 1896, London. Hardcover. Size: 19,8 x 13,7 cm. Pp. 78, 1l. A cover is a little frayed, corners bumped. Otherwise, a nice copy. Provenance: from the library of Irish poet William Monk Gibbon. There is some previous owner stamp in the book. For condition and details, see scans.
Alice Zimmern (22 September 1855 – 22 March 1939) was an English writer, translator and suffragist. Zimmern was born in Nottingham, the youngest of the three daughters of the lace merchant Hermann Theodore Zimmern, a German Jewish immigrant, and his wife Antonia Marie Therese Regina, née Leo. She collaborated with her elder sister Helen Zimmern on two volumes of translated excerpts from European novels (1880 and 1884). The scholar and political scientist Alfred Eckhard Zimmern was a cousin of hers. She was educated at a private school and at Bedford College, London before entering Girton College, Cambridge in 1881 to read classics, which she subsequently taught from 1888 to 1894 at English girls’ schools, including Tunbridge Wells High School (1888-91). While teaching, Zimmern produced a school edition of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius in 1887, a translation of Hugo Bluemner’s The Home Life of the Ancient Greeks (1893), and a translation of Porphyry: The Philosopher to his Wife Marcella (1896). She later wrote children’s books on ancient Greece (Greek History for Young Readers, 1895, Old Tales from Greece, 1897) and Rome (Old Tales from Rome, 1906), all of which were reprinted several times. Greek History for Young Readers was still being praised in the Parents’ Review six years later. In 1893, she and four others were awarded Gilchrist scholarships to study the US education system. This resulted in her book Methods of Education in America (1894), in which she praised the articulacy of American school students and their enthusiasm for classic English literature, but noted that their written work and their textbooks were of a poor standard and the teaching of American history ludicrously patriotic. Zimmern ceased to teach in schools in 1894 but continued to tutor private students in classics. She regularly wrote journal articles on comparative education and the education of women. Her book Women’s Suffrage in Many Lands (1909) appeared to coincide with the Fourth Congress of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance. This book and The Renaissance of Girls’ Education (1898) made big contributions to the debate on the education and rights of women in Zimmern’s time. In the former she noted an “intimate… connexion between enfranchisement and the just treatment of women.” While most of her arguments are moderate and pragmatic, she acknowledges the militant tactics of British suffragettes as effective in making women’s suffrage “the question of the day”. Much of Zimmern’s research was done in the British Museum Reading Room, where she associated with suffragists and Fabians such as Edith Bland, Eleanor Marx, and Beatrice Potter. Other works by Zimmern include Demand and Achievement. The International Women’s Suffrage Movement (1912), a translation of Paul Kajus von Hoesbroech’s Fourteen Years a Jesuit (1911), and Gods and Heroes of the North (1907). Resident in Hampstead in her later years, Zimmern remained interested in the rights of women and in pacifism, and continued to entertain many visitors from abroad. Her last work was a translation of The Origins of the War (1917) by Take Ionescu. She died at her home in London on 22 March 1939.
William Monk Gibbon (1896 – 29 November 1987) was an Irish poet and prolific author, known as “The Grand Old Man of Irish Letters”. His collection of over twenty volumes of poetry, autobiography, travel and criticism are kept at Queen’s University Belfast. He also wrote many published novels, and has been characterised as “self-regarding and prickly”. He was the son of the Rev. Canon William Monk Gibbon, a Church of Ireland clergyman, and from 1900 vicar of St. Nahi’s Church, Dundrum. His mother, Isabella Agnes Meredith, was a daughter of William Rice Meredith of Dublin, the brother of John Walsingham Cooke Meredith. Monk was a nephew of The Rt. Hon. Richard Edmund Meredith and a first cousin of Carew Arthur Meredith. Monk’s uncle inherited the Gibbon estates of Sleedagh House, County Wexford, and The Parks in Neston, Cheshire, which came to them via the Monk family from who he took his name. He was educated at St. Columba’s College, Dublin and Keble College, Oxford, but after only one term he volunteered for the army, serving as an officer in France during the First World War until invalided out in 1915. He became an avid pacifist after his experiences of war, and left Ireland to teach English in Switzerland. He also taught in England before returning to Ireland, not retiring until he was in his eighties. As a British Officer on leave in Ireland, he was involved in the Easter Rising of 1916. His book Inglorious Soldier gives a first-hand, and one of the most detailed accounts of the shooting of the pacifist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. His papers present lively and intimate accounts of the famous Irish writers whom he knew personally, such as William Butler Yeats, George Moore (novelist), Edith Anna Somerville and Katharine Tynan. At his father’s church, Lily Yeats, sister of W. B. Yeats, was a parishioner. There was also a family relationship: Gibbon and the Yeats family were cousins. There was no love lost between the poets Gibbon and Yeats, however; and the biography Gibbon wrote was rather hostile. Yeats in return said of Gibbon: “Monk Gibbon is one of the three people in Dublin whom I dislike… Because he is argumentative!” In 1963, Gibbon collaborated in the editing and publication of Michael Farrell’s posthumous novel Thy Tear’s Might Cease. In 1928, he married Mabel Dingwall, daughter of Walter Molyneux Dingwall and Mabel Sophia Spender, a daughter of Edward Spender of Bath, Somerset. Edward Spender was a strong supporter of the Women’s Suffrage movement in which his sister, the novelist Emily Spender played a leading role as a member of the executive committee of the Central Committee of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. Edward Spender was a cousin of the diarist Henry Crabb Robinson, and a brother-in-law of the novelist Lillian Spender and the liberal politician William Saunders, with whom he founded the Central News Agency (London). Mrs Gibbon’s mother was a first cousin of John Alfred Spender, uncle of the poet Sir Stephen Spender. The Gibbons’ home, Tara Hall, at Sandymount, County Dublin, was a literary centre and afternoon tea parties there often ran into the night. Frequent visitors there included Irish writers such as Padraic Colum, Ulick O’Connor and Austin Clarke. Gibbon always wrote in bed and often wandered down to the sea front in his pyjamas to collect driftwood. He was a keen cyclist all his life and could still be found riding his bicycle around Sandycove in his late eighties. Works: The Tremulous String (1926) Limited Edition 250 hand printed copies; The Branch of Hawthorn Tree (1927); The Seals (1935) autobiography; The Living Torch (1937) poems by AE, editor; Mount Ida (1948); This Insubstantial Pageant (1951); The Masterpiece and the Man: Yeats as I Knew Him (1959) biography; The Climate of Love (1961); Inglorious Soldier (1968) memoir; The Brahms Waltz (1970); The Velvet Bow (1972); The Pupil (1981).
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