By: J. Behan got the first part right. To celebrate its sixtieth year of publication, as its author approaches his ninetieth, The Lilliput Press marks the occasion with a new, beautifully enanced hardback edition, as well as asigned andnumbered edition, limited to copies. The Ginger Man is simply one of the great comic novels of post-war Europe — an anarchic, 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. The Ginger Man is the picaresque novel to stop them all.
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By: J. Behan got the first part right. To celebrate its sixtieth year of publication, as its author approaches his ninetieth, The Lilliput Press marks the occasion with a new, beautifully enanced hardback edition, as well as asigned andnumbered edition, limited to copies.
The Ginger Man is simply one of the great comic novels of post-war Europe — an anarchic, 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. The Ginger Man is the picaresque novel to stop them all. Lilliput Press — July 18, P Donleavy did a great job in writing a novel in the modernist fashion.
He not only captured the ideals of a modernist in rejecting the norms of society, but he also did it using humor. I did however find myself giggling at the circumstances he found himself in. This new, modernist form of writing showed the real thoughts of a person and how these thoughts bring about other thoughts in succession.
I found that he did a VERY good job in using this method, and although Dangerfield was not a character of high moral, he was an interesting character and the type of character that a modernist uses in order to get his point across.
This book was also very interesting in the fact that this was how J. Donleavy really lived his own life and he was much like the character, making this novel a fictional autobiographical peice.
I guess the point I am trying to get across is that I have a lot of respect for this novel despite the actions of the character.
I have studied this novel in a modernism class and the ideals of a modernist are VERY interesting once you get to know them. I enjoyed it, and I would recommend this book. A well written, true to life, sometimes erotic and sometimes idiotic view of a great character — his trials and tribulations. Recommended for anyone feeling a little low. This will bring a smile to your face. In using this word in the title of this extravagant book, JP Dunleavy could easily have been writing his own review.
For The Singular Man is indeed a great and peculiar book that manages to seem lucid or incomprehensible depending on your mood and level of attention. The prose is extraordinary. The humour like Withnail and I after a near fatal cocktail of mind enhancing drugs.
What really makes the novel live is the absurdist dialogue and the characterisation. The characters seem to emerge from the maelstrom of the prose as curiously compelling, complete and convincing eccentrics. After reading the Ginger Man it became apparent that Hunter had at last found a hard act to follow in terms of womanising, alcohol abuse and empty promises. Despite turning out mostly smut, Olympia owner Maurice Girodias also published some early works by the likes of Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, Henry Miller and Jean Genet amongst other rising literary talents of the time.
He eventually won the case and subsequently owns Olympia Press. But anyway, the book. It is, for better or worse, very real. He is constantly in a state of scheming his way into the next free drink, or getting into the knickers of an easily led girl. He has no morals, nor does he feel that he should have. He is banking on an inherited wealth which will be his once his sick father dies. Donleavy uses both the first person narrative and the third person narrative to illustrate his main character.
This could not be achieved by sticking to either one of the disciplines. The plot is quite simple, as a character novel should be. The backdrop is Dublin and then later London. Both are described well. The dialogue is at times simply brilliant. One of the few books where you find yourself laughing aloud, and re-reading passages in an attempt to recall lines and slip them into a conversation at some point in the future.
It is so easy to see why this book has since been turned into a stage production. I would imagine that the theater would be in fits of giggles. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the development of modern literature. And for that matter anyone with an open mind and a good sense of humour. It is in many ways one of the best novels of the 20th century.
Sebastian is in no way the gallant, classic, and Victorian hero of the past. He is instead the rejection of all that was pure and virginal in previous works of literature. He is the product of Modernism. Modernism as part of its very foundation sought to shock people. I think of Sebastian Dangerfield as a literary equivalent of the shock-rocker Marilyn Manson.
Will reading how Sebastian hits his wife make readers hit their spouse? Will listening to Marilyn Manson turn people into gothic murderers? Everyone has their own opinion as answer to those questions but it seems obvious to me that readers and music listeners need to realize that human beings are not the sugar coated ladies and gentlemen of yore. People do some terrible things. Everyone has a dark side, no matter how slight. I was not at all offended by The Ginger Man. Perhaps it was the fact that I was introduced to the text in the anything-goes Modernist context, perhaps I am a little too liberal.
I will always find this book uproariously funny though. At the beginning I thought I liked the main character, only to witness him punching his wife and threatening his child a few chapters later. The mistake people make with this book is that they assume Dangerfield is presented as hero and therefore get offended.
He is almost an anti-hero. The book is at once sad, optimistic, violent and serene. Most of all though, it is entirely memorable.
Go in with an open mind and you will realise why it has been so consistently praised. The prose is Joycean, odd, great. The story careers along, swinging between beauty, squalor, joy, misery, hilarity and sadness, often in the space of the same paragraph. Dangerfield seems at times a violent lunatic, while on other occasions presenting himself as an innocent, cast into the violent lunacy of Irish life. Ireland and the United States banned the book for obscenity, when often it is the appalling moral rigour of Irish society — intimidating the lovely Miss Frost for example — that really seems obscene.
There are no demarcations in this book. Dangerfield heads down to the area of Dublin near the sea. We are wondering at this point if he is swindling a woman he seduced, or preparing to keep his word and take this woman away from her evil father.
The ocean rolls in, sweeps over little ponds and takes you away. Dangerfield is a monster. He is lovable. It is remarkable that Donleavy got those two things to exist so powerfully together. I suppose, as Booth Tarkerton said in relation to one of his own loveable rogues, there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repented than over all the saints who consistently remain holy.
Technically the writing also avoids rock pools, switching between first and third person. You read about Dangerfield in the third person, only for him to pop up in the first person, ready to cause trouble, throw pot plants through the windows of banks, abuse or charm women. A raunchy and very funny look at life, love and the pursuit of happiness! Not as funny as Balthazar B but infinitely believable.
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A Visit to Donleavyland, Sixty Years After “The Ginger Man”
He was The playwright Brendan Behan, a friend, suggested that Mr. Donleavy send the manuscript to Olympia Press in Paris. Donleavy told The Times. When it was published in the United States in , Chapter 10 was omitted, along with numerous sentences here and there. The novel eventually won critical acclaim and public acceptance, so much so that it is now considered a contemporary classic, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide.
J.P. Donleavy, Acclaimed Author of ‘The Ginger Man,’ Dies at 91
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The Lilliput Press
Donleavy, who has died aged 91, was much under the influence of James Joyce at the time, and The Ginger Man is a dense book, with a stream-of-consciousness narrative that dips in and out of the first and third persons. But the wit and invention soon take hold. A score of publishers in Britain and the US turned down the novel in one or other of its early drafts. Then Brendan Behan tipped Donleavy off about a small publisher of English-language books in Paris, which had Samuel Beckett on its list, and Donleavy packed off his sheaf of pasted-together pages to Olympia Press, unaware that, although they did indeed publish Beckett, the main thrust of the business was pornography. Even at the time — the novel was submitted in and published the following year — The Ginger Man could hardly have been mistaken for a dirty book unlike, say, Lolita , which Girodias also published.