Oliver St. John Gogarty

John Benignus Lyons

89 pages
ISBN 0-8387-1359-9
Contemporary Irish Writers

Oliver St. John Gogarty is another outstanding contribution to the Irish Writers Series. These monographs have been designed to treat in individual volumes the significant Anglo-Irish writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. These studies will prove helpful both to literary scholars and to students of literature. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, and will encompass discussions of almost 40 writers.

Son and grandson of medical men, Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957) naturally followed in their footsteps and became a doctor, specializing in ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) surgery. He won early acclaim as a poet, taking as his models the Greek and Latin classics and the English Elizabethans, and was singled out by James Stephens as Ireland's only classical poet. Yet, despite his classical leanings, Gogarty is very much a national poet. More than any other, he succeeded in wedding the ancient Mediterranean myths with those of ancient Ireland. He had the gift of taking apparently ordinary everyday things and clothing them with wonderment, making them subjects fit for poetry.

Gogarty also produced plays and prose, and a large number of his works are evaluated in the present volume. In 1939 he came to America and soon became an American citizen. An amusing estimate of him was penned by a medical colleague, who said of him that he was "a first-class writer, a second-class patriot, and a third-class surgeon."

About the author:

John Benignus Lyons was born in Kilkelly, County Mayo, Ireland, son of a doctor. He took a medical degree at University College, Dublin, in 1945 and now is a medical specialist and neurologist at the Federated Dublin Voluntary Hospitals. He has a teaching appointment in medicine at Trinity College and is Librarian to the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Dr. Lyons devotes whatever time he can spare from professional work to medical history and literature and has lectured on these subjects in Ireland and America. He is the author of The Citizen Surgeon-A life of Sir Victor Horsley, F.R.S. (London, 1966), James Joyce and Medicine (Dublin, 1973), and A Primer of Neurology (London, 1974). He has also contributed many articles to medical and literary journals; in the early 1960s he had three novels published under a pseudonym-they were translated into Dutch and German but are now out of print. Married, he has three children and lives by the sea in Dalkey, County Dublin.


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