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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Behan, Brendan

(1923–1964) uninhibited Irish playwright who lived wildly. [Irish Lit.: NCE, 261]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Few people, if any, want to see a return to the era of state censorship, which saw books by Brendan Behan and Edna O'Brien banned alongside much needed information on reproduction and sexual health.
Around the same time Dublin graphic artist Gerry Hunt, who was a huge lover of his music, commissioned sculptor John Coll, who previously made the famous statues of Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan, to make a life-size sculpture of Kelly.
Brendan Behan was an Irish Republican, poet, short-story writer, novelist and playwright who is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish writers and poets of all time.
While other people had uttered the F-word on TV previously (drunken poet Brendan Behan in 1956, and another man on a regional news programme in 1959), this was the first time it was used deliberately, to a national audience.
A teacher, Joe Leon, was directing a play called "The Hostage" by Brendan Behan, and there was one character that was truly an outsider.
BORN GORDON Strachan, football manager, 1957 HOLLY Johnson, pop singer, 1960, above BRENDAN Behan, playwright, 1923 DIED FYODOR Dostoyevsky, novelist, 1881 BRIAN Connolly, above, UK pop singer, 1997 BRYAN Mosley, English actor, 1999
Which Brendan Behan play is entirely set in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin?
In 1964, Irish poet, author and playwright Brendan Behan, 41, died in Dublin.
The narrative relays an outcome almost sadder than Brendan Behan's similar descent into drink and ill health, claiming "he possibly paid a higher price than Beckett or Joyce as he settled for the security of home and accommodated with decreasing dexterity that which he did not wholly believe" meaning the civil service in which O'Nolan worked (152).
The 49-year-old previously directed Brendan Behan's The Quare Fellow at the Liverpool Playhouse in 2004.
ANSWERS: 1 Buster Keaton; 2 Peking Man; 3 Portuguese; 4 The Nissen hut; 5 Burke and Hare; 6 Brendan Behan; 7 Vidkun Quisling; 8 Andorra; 9 The Aviator; 10 The dorsal fin.
When Rory was growing up, regular visitors to the house included The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The Dubliners, Gore Vidal, Dominic and Brendan Behan, Paddy Kavanagh and Flann O'Brien.