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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References in periodicals archive ?
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.
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Thursday is St Patrick's Day and we might raise a glass to Irish legend Brendan Behan, poet, playwright and legendary boozer.
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
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In 1964, Irish poet, author and playwright Brendan Behan, 41, died in Dublin.
He was the nephew of poet Brendan Behan and his grandmother Kathleen was the famous Mother of all the Behans, whose brother Peadar Kearney wrote the Irish National Anthem.
In England this was wholly from above - as Brendan Behan put it, the foundation stones of Anglicanism were very personal possessions of Henry VIII.
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He burst into professional sphere in 1966 when he was hired as a reporter by Chicago Daily News after he impressed the editor with an obituary of writer Brendan Behan.
Brendan Behan said in 1956 that "There's no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.