University of Arizona

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Balloon: a Poetical Comedy in Three Acts

Inscription on page 1 of Balloon, circa 1929

Padraic Colum (1881-1972) was an Irish-born American poet whose lyrics capture the traditions and folklore of rural Ireland. He co-founded The Irish Review in 1911, before settling permanently in the United States three years later. Colum’s varied literary output includes volumes of poetry, e.g., Wild Earth (1907) and Creatures (1927); plays, such as Broken Soil (first performed 1903) and The Land (1905); novels; anthologies of folklore; and children’s books. The reminiscence Our Friend James Joyce (1959) was written with his wife Mary (1887–1957), a well-known literary critic.

The collection consists of a carbon typescript of Balloon, a Poetical Comedy in Three Acts. The first page contains the holographic inscription: "Early version of Balloon, my own typing. For the Thomas Wood Stevens Collection, a tribute to a valued friendship, Padraic Colum." The play is set at the Daedalus Hotel in Nagalapolis, changed to Megalopolis in the published version, and is a satire of industrial society.