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Donleavy, J(ames) P(atrick)

ginger novel dublin

(US, 1926– )

Donleavy was born in Brooklyn but educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and his writing reflects the dual influences of Irish and American literature. The Ginger Man (1955) was originally banned in the United States for obscenity and published first in an abridged version in Britain. The Ginger Man was instrumental in helping to change the censorship laws and is a raucous picaresque novel which follows the misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield through Dublin and London. Donleavy creates an anarchic comedy of misrule, enlivened by moments of pure slapstick. Outrageous and melancholic in turn, The Ginger Man is an inventive novel which was deservedly listed as one of the hundred most important novels of the century by the Modern Library. Donleavy's eye for the absurd can be seen in his play Fairy Tales of New York (1961) and the novel The Saddest Summer of Samuel S (1966).

Flann O'Brien, Joseph Heller  GK

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