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Reading Brendan Behan

Reading Brendan Behan

John McCourt

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Samuel Beckett referred to Brendan Behan as “the new O’Casey” and yet, despite all his international success, despite his enduring popularity, and perhaps because of his fame (and indeed, notoriety), Behan remains a neglected figure in literary criticism today. This is why this new volume edited by leading Irish Studies expert, John McCourt, is so timely.

Penned by an impressive group of international scholars, Reading Brendan Behan looks beyond the author’s all-too-well-known personality and focusses on what ultimately matters - the writing. Reading Brendan Behan is the first volume in 20 years to focus on Behan’s rich and eclectic body of creative works – his poetry and plays in Irish and English, his short stories and his extraordinary autobiographical novel, Borstal Boy. It explores how Behan sought to identify the proper role for the post-independence Irish writer in a country where clerical and political policing and rigid censorship laws allowed little room for artistic manoeuvre.

These essays position Behan between the founding father of Irish modernism, James Joyce, and Behan’s own generation, bringing him into dialogue with figures such as Flann O’Brien and Martin O’Cadhain. It pays prominent attention to his connections with Irish Republicanism, his formative time in England, his links with theatre directors, such as Joan Littlewood, as well as his engagement with politics and popular culture on both sides of the Irish Sea.

John McCourt is at the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Universita di Macerata

Additional Information

Author John McCourt
Publisher Cork University Press
Publication date 10 May 2019
Format Hardback
ISBN/EAN 9781782053378

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