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National Amateur Press Association
Monthly Bundle Sample, Leather or Prunella 9, October 1999, p.2
It was during his Italian sojourn in 1897-98 that Gissing made the acquaintance of a young American named Brian Ború Dunne (1878-1962), then boarding in the same house where Gissing found a room in Siena. They were personally acquainted for some five months, and Gissing—then about forty years of age—evidently made a strong impression on the young man. For we now have from the editorial hands of Paul F. Mattheisen, Arthur C. Young and Pierre Coustillas—all renowned Gissing scholars—the new work With Gissing in Italy: The Memoirs of Brian Ború Dunne (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1999), which prints for the first time five memoirs of Gissing and one set of notes therefor written by Dunne at some undetermined time after his 1897-98 acquaintance with the author, but most probably in the 1930s, when interest in Gissing was beginning to revive in a major way. Gissing seems the quintessential Englishman abroad in Dunne's memoir and the young man was clearly impressed by Gissing's meticulous dress and speech. (Gissing was not defeated by the lack of inside plumbing in his Siena boarding house; he brought with him a portable rubber bathing tub.) Dunne was of Irish extraction and when he protested to Gissing that he felt that England had treated Ireland unjustly, he witnessed the author blush so deeply that he never raised the subject again.

Dunne made his later career as a journalist and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico by 1909, where he served initially as private secretary to Archbishop G. B. Pitaval in 1909-12, after having served in a similar capacity under Cardinal Gibbons in Baltimore earlier in the century. His father, Edmund Dunne (1835-1904), was a prominent attorney and Catholic layman, honored as a knight of the Order of St. Gregory by Pope Leo XIII in 1876 and as a Commander of the same order two years later. Judge Dunne, appointed Chief Justice of the Arizona Territory by President Grant in 1874, was instrumental in establishing the Catholic settlement of San Antonio in Florida in 1881. He remained associated with this settlement for eight years, and helped found St. Leo College there in 1889. For these achievements, Pope Leo XIII went on to create him a papal count, an hereditary title which his elder son Eugene Dunne (b. 1875) claimed under the style "Eugene Viscount O'Dunne." (The popes have granted few if any hereditable honors since the Lateran Treaty was signed in 1929.) At the end of his life (1901-03), Judge Dunne became involved in the promotion of another Catholic emigrant colony, "Hochheim," near Castleberry, Alabama. After attending St. Mary College in Belmont, North Carolina in 1889-93, Brian Dunne was sent to Europe by his father in 1895 to perfect his knowledge of European languages. Brian was called home from Italy in late 1898, and made his living as a journalist in Baltimore, Maryland, until joining his father in the colonization endeavor in Alabama. His only

 

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