[RARE LONDON NOVELLA IN ESPERANTO] Londonanidoj: Dedicita al la geknaboj de Londono, el kiuj estas la verkinto [i.e., Londoners: Dedicated to the boys and girls of London, of which the author is]

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MUNNS, DONALD W. (1930-1945)

The Esperanto Publishing Company Ltd., Heronsgate, Rickmansworth, Anglujo, 1946.

Original wrappers. Foolscap 8vo. (18 x 12,5 cm). In Esperanto. 98 p. Slight foxing on some pages and covers. Otherwise, an excellent copy.

The very scarce first and only edition of this posthumous novella in Esperanto about London boys and girls who were sent away to the countryside by the thousands in the early Second World War in 1939 written by a British boy Esperantist writer.

More than 800,000 children from British cities were sent to rural areas between 1-3 September 1939. The plan prepared by the British government during the summer was implemented exactly at the same moment when Germany invaded Poland. Unaccompanied by their parents, the children were resettled mostly in temporary shacks, improved campsites, and with host families. The psychological aspects of these experiences were not often told.

According to the preface of the book which includes only a piece of biographic information about this very young author, was one of the children sent away and described his experiences in his book. It says: "Almost everyone knows that in 1939, at the beginning of the war, the children were sent away from the big cities in Great Britain to rural parts of the country. Many thousands were sent away from London, and this work deals with the experiences of some of them. Donald Munns, the author, was only 14 years old when he wrote the novel one year ago he died. It would be a rather astonishing thing for a boy of that age to write such a book in his language. That he was able to do so well in Esperanto, which he had studied at home for 15 months, is proof not only of his competence but also of the comparative ease and expressiveness of Esperanto. It is with great regret that we have to inform the readership that Donald Munns died in March 1945, only fifteen years old. We think that the work will be liked by readers of all ages, and therefore we present it to the readership."

The Esperanto Publishing Company Limited (EPC) was a British commercial publisher, which existed from 1928 to 1988. EPC was registered and founded on 18 February 1928 by Robert Robertson, EW Willcocks, and Cecil Charles Goldsmith. During the first twenty years, there were thirty editions with a total of almost 250,000 copies. Most were textbooks and reading books, some were entertaining novels, however, all were in Esperanto. EPC has always only published and sold books to/in bookstores, but not to the general public. In Great Britain, only the British Esperanto Association was an agent. However, since October 1937, The Epoch Book Club has been operating for about a year. Sturmer resigned in May 1942, and Goldsmith's daughter, Eileen, replaced him. She has worked honorably for EPC for a long time.

Sutton p. 220., Carlevaro EeP p. 179., As of January 2024, OCLC shows only a single copy in American libraries although more than ten worldwide. Sources: Concise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto, 1887-2007 by Geoffrey Sutton, Carlevaro EeP, Worldcat, Wikipedia.