REMEMBERING HOW WE STOOD: Bohemian Dublin at the Mid-Century by John Ryan

REMEMBERING HOW WE STOOD: Bohemian Dublin at the Mid-Century

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KIRKUS REVIEW

While the decade between 1945 and 1955 lacked the genius of a Joyce or a Yeats, Dublin was, as ever, amply supplied with writers--an Irish literary movement being defined as ""five or six people who live in the same small town and hate each other cordially."" Ryan, a sometime publican and editor of Envoy, a leading literary magazine of the day, recalls it during these years as a gracious, boozy city about the size of Pepys' London and enlivened by Brendan Behan, J.P. Donleavy, Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O'Brien. Dublin at the time was just breaking out of the stifling insularity imposed by the Founding Fathers of the Free State and it seems that the greatest literary feats in these years were rendered orally, usually over a pint of Guinness or a whiskey in The Palace or The Pearl, MacDaid's, The Bailey or one of the town's other legendary pubs. In Ireland WW II had been only ""The Emergency,""--the government having maintained staunch neutrality, and Ryan throws in some wartime memories of shortages and rationing in this potpourri of outrageous humor, insult and bonhomie. The Rabelaisian Brendan Behan, with his brawls and his epic drinking bouts, is always on hand though Ryan resists the temptation to romanticize Brendan's sordid and pitiful last days. Indeed many of the most talented writers and wags seem to have wasted themselves in heroic battle with the philistines, priests and prigs who outnumbered but never vanquished raucous Irish bohemia. A clannish, irrepressible book which takes its cue from the Dublin painter Scan Sullivan who once remarked ""we are the people our mothers warned us against.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1975
ISBN: 1843511428
Publisher: Taplinger