Cashel Byron's Profession by George Bernard Shaw 1st / 1st 1886
First UK separate edition published by the Modern Press in 1886. A very good ++ copy. The wrappers and spine are soiled in places with minor foxing to the upper wrapper. Pages are browned as is common. The front free end paper is bound at the back as called for. It is a very pleasing unrestored copy and is protected in a cloth chemise and gilt printed blue cloth slipcase.
An early novel from the author, it was originally printed in several issues of 'to-day' magazine. This is the smaller variant issue. The novel follows Cashel Byron, a world champion prizefighter, as he tries to woo wealthy aristocrat Lydia Carew without revealing his illegal profession. Lydia is portrayed as a moral and intelligent woman and is constantly contrasted with the "ruffian" Cashel. Lydia was advised by her recently deceased father to find a husband with a profession, as opposed to an idle gentleman or an art critic like her father. Cashel’s childhood ends when he runs away from school to Australia and becomes apprentice to an ex-world champion boxer. When Cashel goes to England to secure his world title in that country he meets Lydia at her country manor. After much miscommunication and drawing room comedy, Cashel gives up boxing and succeeds in marrying Lydia. According to "Note on Modern Prizefighting" (1901) Shaw intended the fights described in Cashel Byron's Profession to turn the public away from the sport but the novel is written in such a light-hearted tone this unlikely result never materialized.