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  • Published: 15 August 2005
  • ISBN: 9780712697552
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

Maeve Brennan

Wit, Style and Tragedy: An Irish Writer in New York



The first book about Maeve Brennan, the recently rediscovered New Yorker writer from Ireland, who wrote like an angel, and looked like a fashion model, but became homeless in Manhattan in the 1970s and died forgotten in 1993.

Born in Dublin in 1917 to politically active parents, Maeve Brennan's childhood in Ireland was moulded by the cultural ideologies of nationalism and lit by the creative energy of the Abbey and Gate theatres. She was seventeen when her father was appointed to the Irish Legation in Washington DC, where he was Irish Minister throughout World War II. Maeve wrote fashion copy at Harper's Bazaar until 1949, when William Shawn invited her to join The New Yorker. Tiny, impeccably groomed, and devastatingly witty, in William Maxwell's words, 'to be around her was to see style being invented'. Her richly textured fiction criticism and 'Talk of the Town' pieces, published in the 1950s and '60s, during The New Yorker's most influential period, offer unsparing portraits of the Ireland she had left and the America she inhabited. As this richly researched and wide-ranging book makes clear, Maeve Brennan's effect on the people who met her, her eye for human behaviour, clothing and domestic settings, her memory of home and her courageous life as a woman alone in metropolitan America make her an icon of the twentieth century.

  • Published: 15 August 2005
  • ISBN: 9780712697552
  • Imprint: Pimlico
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

About the author

Angela Bourke

Angela Bourke is the author of The Burning of Bridget Cleary: A True Story (winner of several awards, including the Irish Times Literature Prize for Irish Non-Fiction), Maeve Brennan and By Salt Water. Born in Dublin, where she still lives, she spent long periods in the USA, and has held visiting academic positions at Harvard University, Boston College and the University of Minnesota. A leading scholar in interdisciplinary Irish Studies, Angela Bourke writes in Irish and English, and makes frequent appearances on television and radio. She is Senior Lecturer in Irish at University College Dublin, The National University of Ireland, Dublin.

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Praise for Maeve Brennan

'A biography to savour and treasure. Angela Bourke is as expert on Irish history as she is on the cultural ambience of the male-dominated New Yorker. Her book has wit, sensitivity and insight; everything that Brennan, herself, would have approved of.'

Frances Spalding, Daily Mail

'Hugely entertaining and thought-provoking, and upsetting and funny, and tender and wise.'

Roddy Doyle

'A labour of love and a profound study of literary life in 20th-century America.'

Roy Foster, Financial Times

'This book needed to be written and Angela Bourke was the perfect author...meticulously researched, detailed and beautifully written.'

Evening Herald

'Bourke merges beautifully the small milestones in the young Maeve's life with the large public events that were going around her...She deftly builds up a tapestry-like texture of Maeve Brennan's young life, which the author herself so successfully mined in her fiction.'

Irish Times

'Bourke has done us all a tremendous service in writing this book.Not least because it compels one to rush immediately to read Brennan's work.Bourke is a meticulous and thorough researcher.'

Sunday Tribune

'thorough biography'

Helen Zaltman, Observer

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