Skip to content



Click for full-size.


by McCOURT, Frank

  • Used
  • Signed
  • first
Folds from mailing. Near Fine
Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, United States
Item Price
Or just €8,685.18 with a
Bibliophiles Club Membership
€7.43 Shipping to USA
Standard delivery: 10 to 14 days

More Shipping Options

Payment Methods Accepted

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • PayPal

About This Item

1983 - 1990. Letters. Folds from mailing. Near Fine. Superb archive of seven letters from the author of ANGELA'S ASHES to R'Lene Dahlberg, fellow teacher at Stuyvesant High School, friend, wife of author Edward Dahlberg, and muse. Mostly chatty correspondence, all but two pages handwritten by McCourt, complete with hand-addressed envelopes and mostly written in New York City. In one letter McCourt describes being at Rockaway Beach with his daughter Maggie who is searching for her lost hamster with a friend: "The little bugger won't come out. I've tempted him with everything from carrots to watercress. I've made assorted seductive noises. I've exposed mineself. I've even promised him a night out with a hamsteress. To no avail. Maggie & Clare are less interested in hamsters than in boys. It's all boys now. Boys, boys, boys. I'll break her face. She checks herself out in the mirror by the hour. I told her cut it out. She [sic] wearing out the mirror. Also, I'm getting an education in teeny bop mating habits and teeny bop music. Pubescence is a pain in the arse." In the same letter he describes an encounter with "a maiden" who "had her way with me on the pitcher's mound in the local baseball field. She was a Catholic, too, and told me I was much better than a state of grace. You could always regain your state of grace, she said, but the way I was drinking she decided to get me while she could before I became a shadow of my former self. Does this make sense to you? I'll clean it all up in the novel I'm writing called IN THE FLESH." McCourt also discusses the IRA, his divorce from Alberta, his tour with his brother Malachi and the rave reviews they were getting, how much he likes Chicago, teaching, etc. In one letter he gives a list of saints. All letters are SIGNED "Frank," with one SIGNED "Frank, son of Angela." Also included is a handwritten note by R'Lene Dahlberg describing her relationship to McCourt which, by all accounts, seems to have cooled dramatically upon the publication of the Pulitzer Prize winning ANGELA'S ASHES.

McCourt admired Edward Dahlberg's superb autobiography BECAUSE I WAS FLESH and modeled his own ANGELA'S ASHES after it, both writers casting their mothers as the central characters. Both emerged from impoverished childhoods to achieve success, though Dahlberg's was critical rather than financial. Dahlberg was dead when ANGELA'S ASHES was published in 1996, but his former wife, R'lene Dahlberg, was alive. She was the first person to encourage McCourt to publish his work and stated in a private note (included here) that she "got him his first publication- called 'If you live in a lane.'" Her importance to McCourt was publicly acknowledged by him in his book where she is listed first on the Acknowledgments page:

"This is a small hymn to an exaltation of women.
R'lene Dahlberg fanned the embers."

McCourt told friends a funny tale of walking with Edward Dahlberg down Second Avenue. Dahlberg was "pontificating like Jehova" and as they approached the Jewish funeral home where his "sainted" mother had been laid out, Dahlberg stepped in dog excrement.

"How can letters flourish in the commonwealth," Dahlberg immediately raved, "when pederasts are permitted to parade their poodles to dung on the pavement!"

He removed his soiled shoe and threw it in the city garbage can, continuing home with one shoe on and one shoe gone.


(Log in or Create an Account first!)

You’re rating the book as a work, not the seller or the specific copy you purchased!


Charles Agvent US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
McCOURT, Frank
Book Condition
Used - Folds from mailing. Near Fine
Quantity Available
Date Published
1983 - 1990
Signed, Modern Firsts, Archives, Signed Letter, Modern First Editions, Irish Literature
Bookseller catalogs
Irish Literature;

Terms of Sale

Charles Agvent

All books subject to prior sale. Payment with order; institutions may be billed. Postage additional: $11.00 for the first book, $6.00 each thereafter. Overseas postage billed at approximate cost. Pennsylvania residents must add 6% sales tax. Mastercard, Visa, and American Express accepted. We are also open to reasonable payment terms. A book may be returned within 7 days of receipt for any reason provided it is in the same condition as sent and prior notice is given. Please insure returns for their full value.

About the Seller

Charles Agvent

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2003
Fleetwood, Pennsylvania

About Charles Agvent

We carry a diverse and select stock with major specialties including Modern and 19th Century Literary First Editions, Signed Books & Autographs (especially Presidential and Literary), and Limited Editions Club books. We have been in business since 1987 and are proud to be members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...
Generally refers to minor discoloration or staining.
A new book is a book previously not circulated to a buyer. Although a new book is typically free of any faults or defects, "new"...

This Book’s Categories