Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker

Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker

by Angela Bourke




To be a staff writer at The New Yorker during its heyday of the 1950s and 1960s was to occupy one of the most coveted—and influential—seats in American culture. Witty, beautiful, and Irish-born Maeve Brennan was lured to such a position in 1948 and proceeded to dazzle everyone who met her, both in person and on the page. From 1954 to 1981 under the pseudonym “The Long-Winded Lady,” Brennan wrote matchless urban sketches of life in Times Square and the Village for the “Talk of the Town” column, and under her own name published fierce, intimate fiction—tales of childhood, marriage, exile, longing, and the unforgiving side of the Irish temper. Yet even with her elegance and brilliance, Brennan’s rise to genius was as extreme as her collapse: at the time of her death in 1993, Maeve Brennan had not published a word since the 1970s and had slowly slipped into madness, ending up homeless on the same streets of Manhattan that had built her career.

It is Angela Bourke’s achievement with Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker to bring much-deserved attention to Brennan’s complex legacy in all her triumph and tragedy—from Dublin childhood to Manhattan glamour, and from extraordinary literary achievement to tragic destitution. With this definitive biography of this troubled genius, it is clear that Brennan, though always an outsider in her own life and times, is rightfully recognized as one of the best writers to ever grace the pages of The New Yorker.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619027152
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 02/09/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Angela Bourke is the author of The Burning of Bridget Clearly, winner of the Irish Times Nonfiction Prize, and By Salt Water, a collection of short stores. She is a Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish at University College, Dublin, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, Boston College, and the University of Minnesota, and the University of Notre Dame. A Dublin native, she once lived on Cherryfield Avenue, the street that Maeve Brennan made famous in her fiction.

Table of Contents

Author's Note and Acknowledgements xi

Introduction 1

List of Abbreviations 6

1 The Bolgers of Coolnaboy 7

2 Bob and Una 21

3 Belgrave Road 41

4 Cherryfield Avenue 60

5 Remembering Shadows 78

6 Cross and Passion 92

7 Mr Brennan Goes to Washington 115

8 Away from Home 138

9 The View from the Kitchen 163

10 The Long-Winded Lady Observes 188

11 The Traveller in Residence 216

12 The Tightrope that Wasn't There 244

Epilogue 274

Permissions 277

Notes 279

Index 315

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