Cowart's Common Room
J P Donleavy

I see that JP Donleavy is dead. He was a great romantic author who influenced me greatly, though perhaps you had to understand something of Ireland and Catholicism to understand his writing. Of course, some of his books verged into pornography - The Ginger Man in particular - but books like 'The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B' are most wonderful in the feelings they evoke of loss and sadness and a rainsoaked landscape enlivened only by copious amounts of alcohol and sex; of the lost soul growing up pursued by his appetites on the one hand and the authorities both clerical and secular on the other.

It is from Donleavy that my most treasured literary phrase comes, Describing some ruined castle on the west coast of Ireland to his latest conquest to whom he naturally professes the truest of loves, he says, to live there and 'Drink sherry in inclemencies and vintage port in storms.'

It comes I think from 'The Onion Eaters.' But the Beastly Beatitudes ... is in my opinion his best book and one to read by the open fire, a glass of burgundy to hand and some sort of large dog to rest ones feet upon while the rain lashes against the winter windows. It is semi-autobiographical (but also in large degree fictitious) and describes his growing up, flitting from France to a prep school in England and then on to Trinity College, Dublin accompanied by his friend and lodestar 'Beefy' - the B in the Beatitudes.

Anyway, too late to put it on the book list and we are too old to be wanting anyway to mourn our lost youth, but I thought I would just tip my cap to old JP Donleavy and raise a glass to him - but not unfortunately of his favourite Gevrey Chambertin, 'the wine that provides the soul with its sleep for tomorrow;' inclemency or no.

Very HappyVery Happy

Posted at 15th Sep 2017 - 11:37AM   Posted by Fennie   J P Donleavy Comments: 4

Camilla's Avatar Never heard of the author Fennie but thank you for letting us know about some of the titles he has produced. RIP Donleavey.

Don't think we are too old to mourn our lost youth perhaps we could choose one for our next Coo Read Fennie.

Posted by: Camilla on 15th Sep 2017 at 04:40PM

KitKatCot's Avatar I have heard of him and know his work and to be honest I thought he had died before now. As a contemporary of Brendan Behan who would be surprised at that!

I raise a glass to him, even though he always thought himself more American than Irish.

Posted by: KitKatCot on 15th Sep 2017 at 06:23PM

Withy Brook's Avatar Give me Gevrey chambertin any time, and I will love you!

Posted by: Withy Brook on 15th Sep 2017 at 08:18PM

Fennie's Avatar Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy

Posted by: Fennie on 15th Sep 2017 at 10:06PM

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