Brendan Behan

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Behan, Brendan

(bē`hăn), 1923–64, Irish dramatist. A notoriously outspoken and uninhibited man, he joined the Irish Republican Army in 1937 and was twice imprisoned for political offenses. His first play, The Quare Fellow (1956), a grimly comic drama set in the hours preceding a prison hanging, was followed by The Hostage (1958), a song and dance farce set in a brothel. Brendan Behan's Island: an Irish Sketch-Book (1962) is a miscellaneous collection.


See his autobiographical Borstal Boy (1958); biographies by his brother Dominic Behan (1966) and U. O'Connor (1971).

Behan, Brendan


Born Feb. 9, 1923, in Dublin; died there on Mar. 20, 1964. Irish writer.

Behan’s autobiographical works In the Penal Colony (1958) and Confessions of an Irish Insurrectionist (posthumous, 1965) tell of his participation in the republican underground during the 1930’s and describe the conditions in the English prison in which he spent nearly nine years. Behan’s plays Condemned to Death (1956) and The Hostage (1958; Russian translation 1968) are directed against the callousness and cruelty that reigns in the contemporary bourgeois world; they condemn the use of force against people no matter what ends are used to justify its use. S. O’Casey pointed out the humanism of Behan’s work.


Brendan Behan’s Island. Illustrated by P. Hogarth. London, 1962.
The Scarperer. Garden City (N. Y.), 1964.
The Wit of Brendan Behan. London, [1968].


Sofinskii, V. “On borolsia za svobodu Irlandii.” Literaturnaia gazeta, Sept. 3, 1969.
Simpson, A. Beckett and Behan and a Theatre in Dublin. London, 1962.
Behan, D. My Brother Brendan. London, 1965.
The World of Brendan Behan. Edited by Sean MacCann. London, 1965.


Behan, Brendan

(1923–1964) uninhibited Irish playwright who lived wildly. [Irish Lit.: NCE, 261]
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(33) Brendan Behan, Brendan Behan's Island (London: Corgi, 1965), 75.