London has Fitzrovia, Paris its Left Bank. But Georgian Dublin boasts an equally atmospheric Bohemian quarter. Centred on Baggot and Leeson Streets, and girdled by the Grand Canal, it is the unmapped village of writers, artists and ne'er-do-wells which in the 1950s became known as Baggotonia.
Its inhabitants and habitues include four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature and nearly every nineteenth and twentieth century Irish writer of note. From Oscar Wilde, Oliver St. John Gogarty, George Moore and George Bernard Shaw to Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, Seamus Heaney, James Joyce and Flann O'Brien. And a profusion of artists from Jack B. Yeats to Mainie Jellett and Camille Souter, who painted in the shadow of Francis Bacon's Baggot Street birthplace. Brendan Behan's neighbours included Patrick Kavanagh, Frank O'Connor, Liam O'Flaherty and Mary Lavin. John Banville, Maeve Binchy and Colm Toibin were later arrivals.
Based on interviews and contemporary accounts - and a timely celebration of Dublin's designation as a UNESCO City of Literature - Prodigals and Geniuses is an entertaining and enlightening history of a remarkable time and place.
"Brendan Lynch's book evokes vibrant memories of an ancient Dublin. And could there be any other city in the world more worth speaking about Old friends come back to life whose minds still speak from the soul. Ancient sorrows remembered to haunt, but in which a bit of bright light still glows."
J.P. Donleavy, from the Foreword
- Additional Information
Author Lynch, Brendan Editor No Print Format Paperback ISBN-10 1905785968 ISBN-13 978-1-905785-96-4 Illustrations No Date of Publication September 2011 Number of Pages 320