Death of JP Donleavy; Author of classic novel "The Ginger Man"

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JP Donleavy has died

I'm never sure here this sort of news should go, so I'll not clutter up the main board with it.

Yup, the death of something like a legend in our midst.

https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/0914/904582-jp-donleavy/

The Ginger Man is, to me a classic modern novel. Banned in Ireland for some time, it relates the adventures of its main character Sebastian Dangerfield in a Dublin which is somehow foreign yet tangible. He peeked behind the curtains and laid bare the gross hypocrisy of societies.


<Mod> This thread has been merged with "Death of JP Donleavy; Author of classic novel "The Ginger Man"". </Mod>
 
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GDPR

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The Ginger Man is, to me a classic modern novel. Banned in Ireland for some time, it relates the adventures of its main character Sebastian Dangerfield in a Dublin which is somehow foreign yet tangible. He peeked behind the curtains and laid bare the gross hypocrisy of societies.[/QUOTE]

May God have Mercy on his Soul.

Did he do that though? Georges Bernanos and Jean Genet certainly did that, and both were brilliant artists who's work is of lasting value though I'm not sure how suitable they are for teenagers (certainly Jean Genet isn't) but I found J.P. Donleavy's work to be just cynical, debilitating and depressing. I honestly wouldn't have a problem with "The Ginger Man" being banned but I would have a problem with "Our Lady of the Flowers" or "Funeral Rites" being banned even though they can contain much more hard core obscenity. This is the problem with censorship.
 

Franzoni

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I met him once in Trinity many years ago when we were working there,....he used to 'park' by which i mean abandon his Jag wherever he felt like it and none of them,professors or porters would say boo....:D

I've only read two of his books,The Gingerman and The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B...hopefully they will show the programme he did about Ireland on RTE many years ago again soon as a tribute..... it would be interesting to see how far we have progressed especially with our driving which i seem to remember he commented on at the time....:)...RIP
 

Verhofstadt

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Catalpast

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Read the Ginger Man years ago & it was a Howl!:cool:

Very well written and a great laugh

Why people want to read anything more into it than that I cannot fathom....:confused:
 

GDPR

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Read the Ginger Man years ago & it was a Howl!:cool:

Very well written and a great laugh

Why people want to read anything more into it than that I cannot fathom....:confused:
I shocked at you Catalpast! I really am.
 
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Read the Ginger Man years ago & it was a Howl!:cool:

Very well written and a great laugh

Why people want to read anything more into it than that I cannot fathom....:confused:
We're more alike that either of us would probably wish to admit! The Ginger Man is very deeply funny. For me, part of the seasoning for the book was that my English teacher had the same name as the author, with a "u" instead of the "o" in the surname. He was a deeply conservative Catholic who could manage to insert the words "permissive society" into any discussion on any topic.

He was in retrospect practically illiterate; his contribution to the school's 50th anniversary document shows that he took out of the school nothing more than his experiences with the GAA teams; in expressing this it becomes clear that he understood literature but was bereft of the mechanics of writing.
 

Catalpast

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We're more alike that either of us would probably wish to admit! The Ginger Man is very deeply funny. For me, part of the seasoning for the book was that my English teacher had the same name as the author, with a "u" instead of the "o" in the surname. He was a deeply conservative Catholic who could manage to insert the words "permissive society" into any discussion on any topic.

He was in retrospect practically illiterate; his contribution to the school's 50th anniversary document shows that he took out of the school nothing more than his experiences with the GAA teams; in expressing this it becomes clear that he understood literature but was bereft of the mechanics of writing.
My English teacher was a brilliant but highly strung man

- he really was streets ahead of where he was

Wrote his own material too
 

PBP voter

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"When I die I want to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs in Dublin."

J. P. Donleavy
 

GDPR

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“Dear Mr Skully,

I have caught my neck in a mangle and will be indisposed for eternity.

Yours in death
S.D.”
 

Ardillaun

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That Skully episode was one of the highlights for me: on the fence 'me loot lost', and the shock of the will that left him nothing for twenty years and not much thereafter:

All I want
Is one break
Which is not
My neck.

It was the lack of punctuation that shocked me the most when I first encountered the Ginger Man as a boy, such freedom. I've only enjoyed a handful of novels as much since then - All the King's Men and A Complicated Kindness spring to mind - and only laughed so hard with PJ O'Rourke and Myles. And yet, for all the fun, the oppressive misery of post-war Dublin hung over the whole novel. Those shoeless white-faced kids in Tara Street were never far way.
 

statsman

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RIP

I think he could be summarised thusly: a great writer when you're 20, a middling one when you're 30, a bore when you've attained 40.
 

GDPR

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That Skully episode was one of the highlights for me: on the fence 'me loot lost', and the shock of the will that left him nothing for twenty years and not much thereafter:

All I want
Is one break
Which is not
My neck.

It was the lack of punctuation that shocked me the most when I first encountered the Ginger Man as a boy, such freedom. I've only enjoyed a handful of novels as much since then - All the King's Men and A Complicated Kindness spring to mind - and only laughed so hard with PJ O'Rourke and Myles. And yet, for all the fun, the oppressive misery of post-war Dublin hung over the whole novel. Those shoeless white-faced kids in Tara Street were never far way.
I thought it was just me - it was recommended to me as a "romp" and while laugh out loud funny in parts, over all, I found it desperately sad. "The dreaming, the dreaming, the heart-scalding dreaming."

May God have mercy on the Poor Ginger Man. And all of them, really.
 

Ardillaun

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It's pretty clear things will not end well for Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield, 'shrewdest of beasts'.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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I have a great regard for the work of JP Donleavy and enjoyed his novels immensely. In a sense they do not survive the test of time as some of the 1970s and 1960s regard of women is one-dimensional. There is something of the Austin Powers element around that area.

Which is a pity because his imagination, handling of dialogue, conception of the darkly comedic was just fantastic.

I absolutely adored his little trick of adding a few sentences or words at the end of a chapter in poetry format in some of the novels.

Great titles too- Meet My Maker the Mad Molecule and the Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B.

Very distinctive and accomplished writer who I suspect will be marked down a bit due to the changed times but no mistake about it he was a very good and stylish novelist and could reach rare heights in terms of literature in places.

I think he was a very good writer.
 

Ardillaun

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Dangerfield is something of a sociopath - the feelings of other people barely exist for him - but the deleterious effects of his conduct are described. Although the female characters do have small and predictable roles they are vividly drawn. Miss Frost in particular could be a personification of mid-century Ireland in her muffled fear and despair, running down the road in the rain as the curtains twitched.
 
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IvoShandor

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'The Unexpurgated Code:a complete manual of survival and manners' was my favourite book. It included advice for every imaginable (and some unimaginable) occasion.

The entry on 'Solitary masturbation'-

One should guard against interruptions which the silence prevailing during the enjoyment of this habit frequently occasions. Always have ready a quip to offer the person looking for you so that he may exercise an unembarrassed discreet retreat. Avoid however the phrase

'I'll be right with you'

As it leads an intruder with the intent of loitering to reply

'Oh no, that's all right, please take your time.'

Upon coming upon someone engaged in this practise, always demonstrate your broadminded urbanity with a smile and the brief comment

'Ah,you're in good hands.'
 

owedtojoy

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JP Donleavy died this week at age 91, the American writer who wrote the bawdy novel The Ginger Man, based on his experiences in Dublin after WWII.


Dunleavy on the left, Behan on the right.

Donleavy served in the US Navy, and after the war came to Trinity College on a GI Scholarship. He joined the literary set that included Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh, the Irish Times editor R.M.Smyllie, Brian Nolan (aka Flann O'Brien) and the later chronicler of the era, Anthony Cronin. It was a group that stood out in staid Catholic Ireland for its riotous drinking and loose lifestyle.

Most of the drinking took place in the pubs near Trinity - the Palace Bar, Davy Byrne's, Nearys, or especially McDaid's. Afer hours drinking took place in a cellar in Fitzwilliam Square called The Catacombs. One of the funnier scenes in The Ginger Man takes place in the Catacombs, where Brendan Behan appears (called Barney Berry in the novel) to sing a bawdy song, and do "a goat-dance", while an inebriated man attempts to have sex with a blonde woman in the background. Someone comments "Yer man'd ride his grandmother in her coffin".

The Ginger Man was published in 1955, and was banned here (of course) but was a massive international best-seller. Donleavy wrote other books, but his fame rests almost solely on one great novel. He is not the only writer in that position - there are others like Joseph Heller, who wrote Catch-22.

Critics now agree it was one of the best novels of that era. While I was growing up it was the quintessential dirty book, which I did not read until about 1970. It contains a lot of Joycean stream of consciousness, a Dublin novel had to, back then. However, some parts may be a bit turgid today, but still worth reading.

The main character, Sebastian Dangerfield, an American mature student in Dublin, pursues sex, drink and his own pleasure in a grimy, chaotic milieu, peopled by odd characters. It is a wonderful comic portrait of Dublin just after the war, well caught by a complete stranger.

What scandalised Catholic Ireland was Dangerfield's hedonism - his own pleasure and enjoyment was paramount, despite having family responsibilities. To a young reader like me, he was amazing.

Dangerfield was based, not on Dunleavy himself, but an American friend called Gainor Crist. An older acquaintance of mine, who was on the fringes of that group told me that Crist was nicknamed "Christ" by his friends, a blasphemous insult in Catholic Ireland.

Dunleavy at Age 60

Dunleavy left Ireland, but became a wealthy man and returned here to live in some style, buying a mansion near Mullingar, and keeping horses on its grounds.



Washington Post Obituary

New York Times Obituary
 


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