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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Obituary: Leland Bardwell

Last member of Dublin's bohemian era who wrote five novels and poetry, and who lived life by her own rules

Published 03/07/2016 | 02:30

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: Author Leland Bardwell described her life as a crescendo of madness with blood, booze and song
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: Author Leland Bardwell described her life as a crescendo of madness with blood, booze and song

A Restless Life was the apt title for Leland Bardwell's memoir, a chronicle of countless affairs, sex, alcoholism, giving her first child up for adoption, six further children, an abortion, and an altogether chaotic life.

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When Bardwell died near Ballinfull, Co Sligo, last Tuesday at the grand old age of 94 she was the last survivor of a bohemian era in Dublin and London, who lived life at full tilt, mostly to keep her demons at bay. Despite five novels, five collections of poetry and a musical based on the life of her heroine Edith Piaf, she never really achieved popular recognition unlike many of her literary friends and acquaintances.

Although a reviewer described one of her novels as a "mass of half-formed ideas and a morass of four-letter words", Bardwell was certainly an influential figure in the literary and artistic life of Dublin and London, although she was in her late 40s before she became embroiled in literary bohemian circles.

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