Brendan Behan (1923-1964) was an Irish poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright who wrote in both English and Irish. He is best known for his autobiographical novel Borstal Boy, his memoir Confessions of an Irish Rebel, and his Obie Award winning play, The Quare Fellow. Behan came from a family that was highly involved in both the literary world and the world of Irish politics and he was steeped in Irish history and lore from an early age. As a young man, Brendan Behan joined the youth wing of the Irish Republican Army, and took part in activities on behalf of the IRA (including the attempted murder of 2 police detectives) that landed him in prison multiple times. These stints in prison, the history and culture of Ireland and Irish politics are running themes throughout much of Behan’s work.
Brendan Behan Quotes
“It’s a queer world, God knows, but the best we have to be going on with.”
“It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.”
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Except your own obituary.”
“When I came back to Dublin I was courtmartialed in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.”
“I am a drinker with writing problems.”
“Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.”
“They took away our land, our language, and our religion; but they could never harness our tongues.”
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