‘Despite his deep sense of privacy, Beckett’s persona has been so widely written about that it has become unavoidably mixed up in our imagination with what Bernold calls his “creatures”. Whether or not Barthes and Foucault were right to dismiss the figure of the author, when confronted with Vladimir wincing or Krapp hunched over his tape recorder or Molloy resting on his bicycle, one’s mind always seems to turn to the “gentle mask” placed over the “severe ossature” that has been immortalized in John Minihan’s photographs, surely among the most iconic images of the twentieth century. We simply cannot help it.’ (From the translator’s Preface)Meeting during their daily sojourn in the Luxemburg Gardens, with conversations noted and hesitancies observed, the gradual exfoliation of a personality is revealed across the last decade of Beckett’s life as one intellectual appraises another. This is a charming and sympathetic study of one of literature’s most opaque writers and of his interests in music, philosophy, visual arts and the spoken arts. In shedding sympathetic light on a famously private Irishman abroad in Paris, these verbal exposures complement the contemporaneous and intimate black-and white photographs of John Minihan taken in the same environs.
Born 1958 in Alsace and a graduate of École Normale Supérieure, Bernold is author of a study of the critic Deleuze and of a memoir, Broken Silk. He teaches in the USA.
Born in Dublin in 1946, Minihan worked as a photographic apprentice with the London Daily Mail from 1962 until 1967. He joined the London Evening Standard aged 21 and became the youngest staff photographer on Fleet Street. His photographs of Bacon, Beckett, and Burroughs have been exhibited at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, The National Portrait Gallery and around the world. Lilliput will publish the best of his work in Minihan: Seventy on Seventy in 2016.
Charlie Chaplin's Wishbone and other stories
These twelve masterful short stories are by one of Ireland’s leading practitioners of the art (previous collections include Adventures in a Bathyscope, 1998, and Lipstick on the Host, 1992). Mathews is a writer worthy of Joyce, whose condensed language conveys learning, sophistication, true feeling and poignancy. The range of subject matter is conveyed in the story titles: ‘Charlie Chaplain’s Wishbone’, 'Access’, ‘Barber-Surgeons’, ‘Waking a Jew’, ‘Cuba’, ‘The Seven Affidavits of Saint-Artaud’, ‘A Woman from Walkinstown’, ‘In the Form of Fiction’, ‘The Logos of the Zoo’, and ‘Information for the User’. The stories are set in Ireland and principally in Dublin of the 1960s.
Characterisation is rich and the dialogue lively and expressive, while the understated dramas and emotions of the tales themselves subtly washing over the reader. The verbal flair of Aidan Mathews is second to none, and the seriousness and the gravity of his contemplations a welcome counterweight to our desiccated, Anglo-American digital culture. This gathering marks a welcome return of a major voice in Irish literature, unpublished since the 1990s.
Dublin-born Aidan Mathews, educated at Gonzaga, UCD and Stanford, is a poet (Minding Ruth), playwright, novelist (Muesli at Midnight), short story teller & broadcaster. He is also a producer of drama at RTE.
The Ginger Man: The Sixtieth Anniversary Edition
As Brendan Behan edited - without permission - the manuscript that would become The Ginger Man, he predicted that it was destined to “go around the world, and beat the bejaysus out of the Bible”. Behan got the first part right. Since its first publication in 1955, more than 40 million copies of the novel have been sold and it has brought more (mostly American) tourists to Dublin’s Trinity College (where it was set) than the Book of Kells. To celebrate its sixtieth year of publication, as its author approaches his ninetieth, The Lilliput Press marks the occasion with this specially commissioned volume, available in standard hardback or as a signed, numbered edition, limited to 100 copies. The Ginger Man is simply one of the great comic novels of post-war Europe – a light-hearted rambunctious twentieth-century classic following the social and sexual peregrinations of a footloose American student on the streets and in the pubs of Dublin. Dorothy Parker wrote of it, “stunning . . . brilliant . . . The Ginger Man is the picaresque novel to stop them all. Lusty, violent, wildly funny, it is a rigadoon of rascality, a bawled-out comic song of sex”.
As well as the original text this edition will feature a foreword by the actor and director Johnny Depp, who plans to produce a film version; an exchange of letters between Donleavy and the late Arland Ussher; a selection of archival photographs from Dublin and TCD in the early 1950s and facsimiles from the original manuscript. It will also include an illustrated essay on ‘The publishing odyssey of The Ginger Man’ by bibliographer and archivist Bill Dunn. This details the book’s fraught origins, battles against censorship and some two dozen foreign translations. It has been translated into most European languages, plus Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese with a Mandarin translation set for 2015. The book, once banned in Ireland, was published in the Irish Independent’s Great Irish Writers Series and has been cited as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.
J.P. ‘Mike’ Donleavy has written more than twenty books since The Ginger Man, including The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B, Meet My Maker the Mad Molecule, AA Fairy Tale of New York, The Onion Eaters and Schultz (all available as eBooks from Lilliput), along with several works of non-fiction such as The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival and Manners. He lives along the shores of Lough Owel near Mullingar in County Westmeath.
The Midnight Court: Eleven Versions of Merriman
Many translations into English of Brian Merriman’s celebrated 1780 narrative poem, Cúirt an Mhéan-Oíche, or The Midnight Court, have been attempted by Irish poets and scholars. This coruscating social satire was written during the prolonged engagement before marriage of its author, a West Clare teacher and mathematician. Translations of the poem attempt to restore an aspect of the poem overlooked in previous translations. All translators have tackled the problem of being Irish poets/scholars working in English and drawing upon an Irish-language tradition in different ways. This tension in translation is the major focus of Eleven Versions of Merriman’s The Midnight Court.
The author sets out the problems of translation in an introductory chapter and gives a general note on the tradition of translating The Midnight Court. He then focuses attention on eleven translators, who are given a chapter each for discussion: Denis Woulfe, Michael C. O’Shea, Arland Ussher, Frank O’Connor, Lord Longford, David Marcus, Patrick Power, Cosslett Ó Cuinn, Thomas Kinsella, Seamus Heaney and Ciaran Carson.
As the book progresses, a picture forms of a layering in the life of the translated poem as translators rescue overlooked themes or stylistic approaches. This interesting undertaking, with its keen scrutiny of the text on a line-by-line basis, brings something new to Merriman scholarship, with examples of the myriad options available to the translator that illuminate over two hundred years of literary scholarship and exchanges across two cultures.
Gregory A. Schirmer is the author of books on Austin Clarke and William Trevor and of Out of What Began: A History of Irish Poetry in English. He edited After the Irish: An Anthology of Poetic Translation (Cork University Press, 2009). He is a Professor of English at the University of Mississippi and spends his summers in West Cork