Sunday 19 November 2017

How Brendan Behan's family rallied round 'warts an' all' biography

A reference to a homosexual element in Behan's lifestyle caused an incredible furore

Brendan Behan pictured in 1958
Brendan Behan pictured in 1958
LITERARY CONVERSATION: left, Brendan Behan, author, playwright and poet, at the Chelsea Hotel, New York
Ulick O'Connor with Kathleen Behan, mother of Brendan Behan, at a reception in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin to launch Ulick's book, Brendan Behan, in 1970

Ulick O'Connor

UlIck O'Connor's biography of Brendan Behan caused a stir when it was published in 1970. It was well received by the critics but it caused intense argument among many who felt that it delved too much into Behan's private life.

Malcolm Muggeridge in the Observer wrote, "Excellent. Mr O'Connor has made a very good job on putting this prodigious figure into a biography".

The New York Times called it "fascinating" and the Sunday Times said, "It is a dedicated and warm study, absorbing to read and pathetically touching"

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