Thursday, November 11, 2021

Boyne Grainger / Boine Grainger

 Boyne Grainger, circa 1938
Boyne Grainger / Boine Grainger (b.  Maine, 17 December 1877; d. New York City, 13 October 1962) 

Bonita Rosita Ginger was known familiarly as "Bonnie." She was the daughter of Lewis (sometimes "Louis") Ginger (1846-1933), reportedly a former colonel in the U.S. Army, and his English wife, Grace Elizabeth Clayton (1839-1909). Bonnie had one older brother, Francis ["Frank"] Joseph Ginger (1871-1961). The family evidently moved often.

Bonnie came to adulthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and later settled in New York City. As Bonnie R. Ginger, she was a prolific contributor of short stories to popular fiction magazines, like Ainslee's, The Century Magazine, The Delineator, Lippincott's, and Everybody's, from 1912 through 1923.  

By the 1920s she was a resident of Patchin Place in Greenwich Village, a cul-de-sac where a number of prominent writers and artists lived, including e.e. cummings, and two of the Powys brothers, John Cowper Powys, and Llewellyn Powys. 

 The 1938 NY edition
Ginger published only two novels, a number of others never achieved publication. The first was The Hussy, published by Boni and Liveright in New York in 1923, as by Boine Grainger. It concerns a young woman disappointed in her quest for love and happiness. The epigraph notes the theme of the book:  "When a man goes  here, there and everywhere looking for love he is called an idealist, but when a woman does it she is called a hussy." It quickly went into a second printing. An abridged version was published in 1950 by St. John Publishing of New York as a paperback, as no. 22 of the Readers Choice Library.

Her second published novel was The Jester's Reign (New York:  Carrick and Evans, [January] 1938), with the spelling of her first name changed to "Boyne," the spelling she used for the rest of her life. It is a fantasy novel of the month during which strange phenomena manifest at the same time all over the whole world. The first event is a peculiar laughing sound that is heard round the globe. How these events influence a small group of mixed people living in a city court much like Patchin Place is the basis of the novel. The central character is one Roger Ergo.   

 The 1939 UK edition

The Jester's Reign was published in England in 1939 by the short-lived publisher of fantasy and modernism, Laidlaw Books, under their Laidlaw and Butchart imprint. Both editions are rare today. John Cowper Powys reportedly blurbed the book, but Powys scholars have noted that no Powys blurb appears on the dust-wrapper of either edition.  In fact, Powys's blurb, along with blurbs by two other people, appeared on a wraparound promotional band put onto some copies of the American edition. Powys's comment reads: "The book is written with such a warm glow and with such swift narration that it is like being carried in an old-fashioned coach, full of good company and mellow quips, and yet with the rapidity of the latest modern machine!"

Five Poems (1942) were published in England by Kenneth Hopkins as no.6 in his Grasshopper broadsheets series. It was likely through her connections with the Powyses that this publication came about. 

A late, brief memoir, We Lived at Patchin Place (2002), was published by Cecil Woolf, mostly because of Grainger's association with the Powys brothers. 

Grainger spent some of her final years in New Mexico, but moved back to New York before she died in late 1962.


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