The Children of Drancy
By: Hubert Butler
With Escape from the Anthill, his first volume of essays, Hubert Butler became universally acclaimed as one of Ireland’s most enduring and distinctive writers. In this long-awaited sequel he writes with emphasis on Europe and travel in Russia, China, the Adriatic and America during the mid-century.
‘His main literary legacy … is the body of essays on a wide range of subjects, written over some sixty years for newspapers and magazines … but not gathered into book form until 1985, when Escape from the Anthill, the first of four volumes, was published by The Lilliput Press in Dublin. For this endeavour, the world owes a great debt of gratitude to Lilliput’s director, Antony Farrell, whose energy and enthusiasm spurred Butler to agree to the assembling of these wonderfully rich and stimulating collections. … The breadth of Butler’s interests and concerns is remarkable, even for a writer whose career spanned the greater part of this tumultuous century … whether he is writing about wartime atrocities or local history, the slaughter of the Jews or Celtic hagiography, he speaks with authenticity. In this he is a member of a dying species.’
– John Banville, The New York Review
‘Like Milosz from Poland or Holub from Czechoslovakia, Butler is a true cosmopolitan, and his writing has something of their unruffled astringency and meditative humour.’ – John Bayley, Times Literary Supplement
‘These collected essays contain a unique distillation of the Anglo-Irish spirit, as idiosyncratic, mellow and stimulating as poteen matured in a brandy-cask… To me, they are all flawless gems.’
– Dervla Murphy, The Irish Times
‘A writer of rare elegance and grace and with an even more rare moral and intellectual courage. He was a literary artist of vivid and often exquisite prose.’
– Thomas Flanagan, The Washington Post
Winnner of the 1989 Irish Book Award Silver Medal for Literature HUBERT BUTLER was born in Kilkenny on 23 October 1900. Educated in England at Charterhouse and St John’s College, Oxford, he travelled extensively throughout Europe during the twenties and thirties before returning in 1941 to Co. Kilkenny, where he lived until his death in 1991. Market gardener, broadcaster, journalist and historian, his published works include Escape from the Anthill, In the Land of Nod, and Grandmother and Wolfe Tone, all of which won him international recognition. A one volume selection, The Sub-Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue, is available from Alan Lane Penguin in London; a further selection, Independent Spirit, appeared with Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York in 1995.