Anthony Cronin


Life
1928- ; b. Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, son of a reporter on the Enniscorthy Echo; ed. Blackrock College, were he wrote his first poems, and UCD; afterwards at King’s Inns (BL); ass. ed., and later ed., The Bell, 1952-55, before moving to to London; active member of S.E. Dublin Branch of Labour Party; served as lit. editor Time and Tide, 1956-58; issued “RMS Titanic” (1960), arising from his fascination with the film, Night to Remember; rep. in Penguin Longer Poems (ed. ed., David Wright); published Life of Riley (1964), an autobiographical novel in which sundry contemporary persons appear including Louis McNiece, Cecil Salkeld and Francis Stuart as well as, most prominently, Peadar O’Donnell [Prunshios [var. Proinnsías] McGonaghy is ‘wurred in’ to ‘the diolectic’], lit. ed. of The Bell [here The Trumpet];
 
issued A Question of Modernity (1966), essays, the chief of which deals with Joyce in a post-colonial vein that anticipates Declan Kiberd and others; appt. visiting lecturer, Univ. of Montana, 1966-68; a play, The Shame of It (Peacock 1974); Poet in Residence, Drake Univ., 1968-70; Collected Poems 1950-73 (1973); Dead as Doornails, prose narrative (1976); Cultural and Artistic Adviser to the Taoiseach, 1980-83, and 1987-92; Irish Times columnist (Viewpoint, 1974-80 var. 1986]); Identity Papers (1980), novel about Richard Pigott’s grand-son, as he supposes; Cultural and Artistic Adviser to the Taoiseach, Charles Haughey; 1980-83; chairman and founder of Aosdana, 1983; visiting prof. USA; issued Reductionist Poem (1980); issued 41 Sonnet Poems (1982); issued New and Selected Poems (1982);
 
issued Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language (1982), essays; organised a state reception at Dublin Castle for the Joyce Centenary, attended by Juan Luis Borges, Francis Stuart, and others; Marten Toonder Award for contrib. to Irish Literature, 1983; contrib. innumerable journals; An Irish Eye (1985) [orig. Irish Times column essays]; separated from his wife Teresa (d. 1999); issued The End of the Modern World (1989), sonnets sequence - though preface denies that they are a suite; produced television programmes incl. “Between Two Canals” and “Flann O’Brien - Man of Parts”; contributed ‘Anthony Cronin’s Private Anthology’ to Sunday Independent; issued The Last Modernist (1996), a ‘slightly authorised’ biography of Samuel Beckett, launched in Shelbourne Hotel, 15th Oct. 1997; issued Collected Poems (2004); awarded DLitt. by UCD, 2006;
 
elected Saoi of Aosdána; lives in Ranelagh with biographer, poet and novelist Anne Haverty, to whom he is married; issued The Fall (2010), a new collection; his RMS Titanic was set to music and song by Donal Lunny, with Allison Sleator and Feargal Murray accompanying Cronin (as reader); premiered at Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2012; later toured in Ireland - Pavilion Th., Dun Laoghaire, 3 Oct. 2013; Tinahely, Co. Wicklow; Belfast, &c.), April 2014. DIW DIL OCIL FDA

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Works
Poetry collections
  • Poems (London: Cresset 1957);
  • with Jon Silkin, New Poems (London: Hutchinson 1960);
  • Collected Poems 1950-1973] (Dublin: New Writers’ Press 1973) [ltd. edn. 100];
  • Reductionist Poem (Dublin: Raven Arts 1980);
  • RMS Titanic (Dublin: Raven Arts 1981);
  • New and Selected Poems (Dublin: Raven Arts; Manchester: Carcanet Press 1982);
  • Letters to an Englishman (Dublin: Raven Arts 1985);
  • The End of the Modern World (Dublin: Raven Arts 1989), 94pp.;
  • Relationships (New Island Books 1992; rep. 1994), 47pp. [poems, ded. to his daughter];
  • The Minotaur and Other Poems (Dublin: New Island 1999), 56pp.;
  • Collected Poems (Dublin: New Island Press 2004), 334pp. [see contents];
  • The Fall (Dublin: New Island Press 2010), 54pp.
Novels
  • The Life of Riley (London: Secker & Warburg 1964), 221pp; Do. [another edn.] (London: Panther 1966), 155pp.; Do. [another edn.] (London: Faber & Faber 1983), 221pp.; Do. [reiss.] (Dublin: New Island Press 2010), 199pp.
  • Identity Papers (Dublin: Co-Op Books 1979), 104pp. [printed by Appletree Press];
Drama
  • The Shame of It, printed in The Dublin Magazine (Autumn 1971), pp.29-67 [also performed].
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Biography
  • Dead as Doornails: A Chronicle of Life (Dublin: Dolmen Press; London: Calder & Boyars 1976), 201pp.; Do. (Swords: Poolbeg Press 1980), 201pp.; and Do. [rep. edn.] (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1999), 208pp. [Query: Do. (Oxford Paperbacks 1994), 208pp.].
  • Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist (London: HarperCollins 1996; Flamingo 1997), 645pp. [See extracts under Beckett, Commentary, supra].
Criticism & Commentary
  • A Question of Modernity: Essays on Writing with Special Reference to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett (London: Secker & Warburg 1966), 130pp.;
  • Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language (Dingle: Brandon 1982) [contents];
  • An Irish Eye (Dingle: Brandon 1985), 141pp.;
  • Art for the People? [Letters from a New Island, No. 4.] (Dublin: Raven Arts 1988), 39pp.;
  • No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien (London: Grafton 1989; rep. Paladin 1990), xii, 290pp.; and Do. [rep. edn.] (Dublin: New Island Press 2003), xii, 260pp.;
Also ‘The Advent of Bloom’, in Joyce: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. William M. Chace (NY: Prentice Hall 1974) [formerly in in A Question of Modernity, 1966].
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Miscellaneous
  • ed., William Carleton, The Courtship of The Courtship of Phelim O’Toole: Six Irish Tales [New English Library] (London: Dent 1962);
  • foreword to Michael Smith, ed., Selected Poems [of J. C. Mangan] (Dublin: Gallery Press 1974), 96pp. [var. 1973];
  • ‘Post Structuralist, Post-Modernism, Post-Everything’, in Irish Times (1 April 1986 p.12);
  • ‘Anthony Cronin’ [short piece] in Dermot Bolger, ed., Letters from the New Island, 16 on 16: Irish Writers on the Easter Rising (Raven Arts Press 1988), p.16p.;
  • ‘Squalid Exegesis: Biographical Reminiscence, Part the First’, in Conjuring Complexities: Essays on Flann O’Brien, ed., Anne Clune & Tess Hurson (Belfast: IIS/QUB 1997), pp.37-52;
  • intro. to Brendan Behan, The Dubbalin Man (Dublin: A & A Farmar 1997) [Irish Press column in the 1950s];
  • ‘The Great Humour’ , in Magill (Oct. 1997), p.51 [full page on Patrick Kavanagh].
Also, contrib. [inter al.], David Wright and Patrick Smith, “X”, Vol. 1 (1960/61) [ltd. edn. 800; listed in Hyland 220; Jan. 1996]
“X” - issue No. 1, ed. Patrick Swift; image from e-bay; starting bid £12.50; no bids; ended 26 April 2013.
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Discography
  • Anthony Cronin reads “The Fisherman” by W. B. Yeats, and “The Lovers” by Paul Durcan, on Voices and Poetry of Ireland (London: HarperCollins 2003).

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Bibliographical details
Collected Poems
(Dublin: New Island [2004), 333pp.. ded. ‘For Anne, Without Whom .’. CONTENTS: Epitaph [1]; For a Father [2]; Liking Corners [3]; Writing [4]; Prophet [5]; Apology [6]; Lines for a Painter [7]; Presuming to Advise [9]; The Futility of Trying to Explain [10]; Odd Number [11]; Humiliation [12]; The Lover [13]; Encounter [14]; Elegy for the Nightbound [15]; Baudelaire in Brussels [17]; Inheritors [18]; Consolation [19]; Balance Sheet [20]; Dualities of Destiny [2[1]; Surprise [2[2 Examination of Conscience [23]; Fairways’ Faraway [24]; Outside [25]; Others than Us [26]; Small Hours [27]; Reflections on Fear and Courage [28]; Experience [29]; Anarchist [30]; Realities [31]; Distances [32]; The Risk [33]; Moscow in Winter [34]; R.M.S. Titanic [35]; Responsibilities [51]; The Persuaders [53]; Dualities of Pride [55]; Elysium [57]; Narcissus [58]; On a Change in Literary Fashion [59]; Character [61]; Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit [66]; War Poem [68]; The Elephant to the Girl in Bertram Mills’ Circus [71]; Obligations [73]; Enquirers [74]; Summer Poem: Ireland [75]; At the Zoo [77]; To Certain Authors [79]; To Silence the Envy in My Thought [80]; Lunchtime Table, Davy Byrne’s [82]; Letter to an Englishman [84]; Return Thoughts [96]; On Compiling Entries for an Encyclopedia [98]; Familiar [99]; Another Version [100]; The Man Who Went Absent from the Native Literature [102]; Homage to the Rural Writers, Past and Present, at Home and Abroad [106]; For the Damned Part [108]; A Form of Elegy for the Poet Brian Higgins (1930-1965) [109]; Reductionist Poem [111]; Not Easy [131]; The General [133]; The Decadents of the 1890s [134]; Soho, Forty Eighth Street and Points West [136]; The Middle Years [138]; Mortal Conflicts [139]; No Longer True about Tyrants [141]; La Difference [143]; Sine Qua Non [145]; Returned Yank [146]; Completion [147]; Concord [148]; Last Rites [149]; In Praise of Constriction [151]; The End of the Modern World [159]; Strange [259]; Agnostic’s Prayer [260]; Reminder [262]; 1989 [263]; Athene’s Shield [265]; Poem Which Accompanied the Planting of a Tree of Liberty on Vinegar Hill, 14 July 1989 [267]; Admirable [268]; Shadows [269]; Sorry [270]; Encounter [271]; Relationships [272]; Funeral [274]; The Intelligent Mr O’Hare [275]; In Praise of Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth Fire [277]; Aubade [279]; No Promise [280]; On Seeing Lord Tennyson’s Nightcap at Westport House [281]; Without Us [282]; Thoughts about Women’s Beauty [283]; How They Are Attracted [284]; Ovid [285]; Living on an Island [286]; An Interruption [287]; The Need of Words [289]; Happiness [290]; Sex-war Veteran [29[1]; Pity the Poor Mothers of This Sad World [293]; The Manifestation [296]; 1798 [297]; The Lovers [298]; The Minotaur [301]; Why? [317]; Boys Playing Football [318]; And That Day in El Divino Salvador [320]; The Incarnation [321]; Our Pup Butler [323]; Guardians [324]; William, Conor’s “The Riveters” [325]; The Trouble with Alpho Queally [326]; Art [328]; Meditation on a Clare Cliff-top [330].

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Heritage Now: Irish Literature in English (Dingle: Brandon 1982), 255pp. Contents: ‘Maria Edgeworth: The Unlikely Precursor’, pp.17-30; ‘Thomas Moore: The Necessary Bard’, pp.37-46; ‘James Clarence Mangan: The Necessary Maudit’, pp.47-50 ‘William Allingham: The Lure of London’, pp.61-68 ‘George Moore: The Self-Made Modern’, pp.69-74; ‘Somerville & Ross: Women Fighting Back’, pp.75-86; ‘John Millington Synge: Apart from Anthropology’, pp.95-104 ‘The Advent of Bloom’, pp.105-42, also ‘Footnote for a Poet’, pp.143-46; ‘James Stephens: The Gift of the Gab’, pp.147-55; ‘Thomas MacGreevy: Modernism Not Triumphant,’ pp.155-60; ‘Francis Stuart: Religion without Revelation’, pp.161-67; ‘Samuel Becket: Murphy Becomes Unnamable’, pp.169-85 ‘Patrick Kavanagh: Alive and Well in Dublin’, pp.185-96; ‘Louis MacNeice: London and Lost Irishness’, pp.197-202; ‘Flann O’Brien: The Flawed Achievement’, pp.203-14.

“Bibliographical Note” cites Speeches of Eamon de Valera, ed Moynihan; Thomas MacDonagh, Literature in Ireland [Kenniket Edn.]; P. H. Newby, Maria Edgeworth; T. de Vere White, Thomas Moore; Patrick Buckland, Irish Unionism: the Anglo-Irish and the New Ireland 1885-1922; C. C. O’Brien, Writers and Politics; Daniel Corkery, Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature; Robin Skelton, J.M Synge and his World; Frank Budgen, James Joyce ad the Making of Ulysses; Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother’s Keeper; Stanislaus Joyce, The Complete Diary, ed. George M. Healey; W. Y. Tindall, James Joyce: His Way of Interpreting the Contemporary World; J. Mitchell Morse, The Sympathetic Alien: Joyce and Catholicism; A. Walton Litz, The Art of James Joyce; Augustine Martin, James Stephens: A Critical Study; Anthony Cronin, Dead as Doornails.] (See also under “Quotations”, infra.)

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Criticism
  • Frank Kernowski, The Outsiders: Poets of Contemporary Ireland (Texas Univ. Press 1975), pp.17-19, 156-60;
  • Maurice Scully, ‘A Chat with Anthony Cronin’, Icarus (May 1976);
  • Seamus Heaney, The Government of the Tongue (London: Faber 1988), p.8 [extract];
  • James Cahalan, The Irish Novel (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1988), p.300f. [extract];
  • Sean MacMahon, review of No Laughing Matter, The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien (London: Grafton 1989), in Linenhall Review (Summer 1990) [MacMahon describes O’Brien as the essential Dublin man];
  • Gerard Keenan [“Jude the Obscure”], ‘Anthony Cronin’, The Professional, the Amateur, and the Other Thing: Essays from ‘The Honest Ulsterman’ (Honest Ulsterman Publ. 1995), pp.1-12 [extract];
  • [q.a.], review of Dead as Doornails in Books Ireland (Feb 2000), p.33;
  • Rita Kelly, ‘The Sinew of Memory’, review of The Minotaur and Other Poems, in Books Ireland (March 2000), p.65 [extract];
  • Mary Kenny, book notice of Dead as Doornails [rep. edn.], in Times Literary Supplement (4 Feb. 2000) p.32;
  • Brian Fallon, Anthony Cronin: Man of Letters ([Univ. of Ulster:] Cranagh Press 2003), 22pp. [extract];
  • Paul Durcan, ‘Cronin’s Cantos’, in The Poet’s Chair: The First Nine Years of the Ireland Chair of Poetry, with a preface by Seamus Heaney (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2008) [Lect. 7.]
  • Fintan O’Toole, ‘Unfairly neglected? Not now’, [interview-article], in The Irish Times (Friday, 26 Nov. 2004), p.14 [extract];
  • Brendan O’Connor, ‘Let’s Honour Living Greats Like Anthony Cronin’, in Sunday Independent (5 Dec. 2004);
  • Fred Johnston, ‘No Intellectual Tradition’, review of The Book of the Angel [with works of other poets], in Books Ireland (March 2005), p.52-53 [extract];
  • George Szirtes, ‘Passionate in Public’, review of Collected Poems, in The Irish Times (18 Dec. 2004), Weekend [extract].
 
See also Paul Durcan, “Cronin’s Cantos: The Poet as Philosopher”, inaugural lect. as holder of The Ireland Chair of Poetry at The Queen’s University, Belfast (3 March 2005).

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Commentary
Brian Kennedy, ‘The Special Position of John Hearne’, in The Irish Times (8 April 1987) - comments on Cronin’s characterisation of Eamon de Valera as putative author of the 1937 Constitution: ‘Anthony Cronin, in an article titled ‘Matters Constitutional’ (Irish Times, 18 Nov. 1986), has presented de Valera as a pseudo-chef masquerading as a lawyer, spicing up his constitution with “a dash of Maritain”, “a glimpse of coporatism”, and “a good strong dash of the Papal Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno.” Mr. Cronin has overstated his case, although he does so in a most entertaining fashion. He finds the Constitution to be a “Catholic document” full of “hedging statements” and noteworthy for “Dev’s ghostly presence”. / “Besides being a metaphysician with a reationary cast of mind, Dev eas also a hob lawyer whose ability to split hairs and evidence [sic for evident] delight in doing so was far, far greater than that of his Belevedere and Bar Library opponents.” / While debaiting with de Valera has been compared to trying to pick up mercury with a fork, he was not a lawyer, not even a hob lawyer. The responsibility for the legal framework of the Constitution lay with John Hearne and he was not a hob lawyer either. The was an internationally regarded legal expert. / As for the “dash of Maritain”, the “glimpse of corporatism”, the Papal Encyclical of 1931, Hearne may well have contributed to their influence. Both he and de Valera were daily communcants, but inlike de Valera, he had a personal interestin in philosophy and theology which had been nurtured during his years at Maynooth. [...; &c.; see further under de Valera, infra.]

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Seamus Heaney, The Government of the Tongue (London: Faber 1988), p.8; ‘[…] I am aware of a certain partisan strain in the criticism of Irish poetry, deriving from remarks by Samuel Beckett in the 1930s and developed most notably by Anthony Cronin. This criticism regards the vogue for poetry based on images from a country background as a derogation of literary responsibility and some sort of negative Irish feedback. It was deliberately polemical and might be worth taking up in another context’.

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James Cahalan, The Irish Novel (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1988), p.300f.: quotes Cronin’s remarks on Flann O’Brien: ‘He deconstructed his own text long before deconstruction was ever heard of ... Here we have an author who pre-empts the methodology of contempurary criticism and confuses its established categories, misplacing himself in date to such an extent as to cast doubt on whether such a phenomenon as post-modernism can be said to exist, and deconstructing his own text before anybody else can get their hands on it. What, in such a case, is criticism to do?’. Cahalan summarises Life of Riley in these terms: ‘Patrick Riley’s downward progression from itinerant jobs in Dublin to total lethargy in England; serving as ass. ed. to the Trumpet, ill-advised by Marxist editor Prunshios McGonaghy [Peadar O’Donnell] to visit a dosshouse in England to fully understand “the dioloctic process”’ (Riley, p.110; Cahalan, p.300.) Cahalan quotes Cronin as referring to the ‘curious stancelessness’ of Ulysses and its ‘absence of plot’, with further remarks to the effect that some Irish novelists ‘may have been simply incapable of constructing an ordinary machinery of dramatic causation. It may be that, like Joyce, some of them were uninterested in doing so.’ (Heritage Now, p.25, 26). Further quotes the comment: ‘Does anyone read Carleton’s novels nowadays, barring Mr Benedict Kiely and a few students and academics?’ (Irish Times, 1974; quoted in James O’Brien [ed.], Carleton Newsletter, 5, 1974). Also cites Cronin’s view that Somerville & Ross created the ‘stage Anglo-Irishman’ (see chap. on Somerville and Ross in Heritage Now, 1982, p.60),and his calling the “Cruiskeen Lawn” a column that ‘deservedly attained a local celebrity far surpassing that of any individual piece of journalism that twentieth century Ireland has known’ (quoted in de Bréadún, Irish Times, 3 April 1986, p.8).

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Gerard Keenan, ‘Anthony Cronin’, The Professional, the Amateur, and the Other Thing: Essays from ‘The Honest Ulsterman’ (Honest Ulsterman Publ. 1995), pp.1-12: ‘... the pages on Behan are among the most sensistive and stirring in modern Irish literature. Indeed, they are a new dimension in Irish literature, as tenderness and compassion are singularly absent from the literature – we are an island of smart-alecs and hard men, the emotionally scarred ... Cronin writes with admirable candour about Behan’s homosexuality (p.8); ‘’A Characteristic of Behan, overlooked by Cronin, but which seems plain to the [8] reader, is that one of the most driving motivations in all Behan’s actions was social climbing. Cronin was a barrister. To an amusing degree, he appears to hate all reference to this. Yet it meant an awful lot to Behan’. (p.9). ‘Cronin exhibits much art in writing of Doornails. First he establishes the three main characters, Behan, Kavanagh, and Myles; then he begins to reveal the interplay between them, the almost absurd intensity of their relationships. Then he abandons them, shifts the scene to London, relates with equal sensitivity his experiences with the old guard of the 1940s bohemia of Fitzrovia, of the Fitzroy Tavern and the Wheatsheaf in north Soho. By the time he returns to Dublin the characters there have been broken, they are close to death, their talent already dead [9] and recognised by themselves to be dead. Proust must be evoked. ... Dead as Doornails is not a collection of anecdote. Scenes ... always [serve] to develop one’s understanding of [Kavanagh, O’Brien, Behan] (p.10).

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Rita Kelly, ‘The Sinew of Memory’, review of The Minotaur and Other Poems, in Books Ireland (March 2000), p.65: ‘There is no question about it, Anthony Cronin is both a major writer and an major thinker in our times in this country. [...] His poetry is one aspect of expression, there are many, and they all overlap into one large intelligent nebula. Always at ease with the longer poem, unlike Carson, his tone is steady, structured and constant. There is no mad and breathless spill of things. //He may reach moments of great humour when he takes on that ebullience and boyish spills and thrills, there is a serious underlying truth of course, but Cronin holds the position of observer and commentator not voyeur. He takes no prisoners as in “Boys playing football”: ‘Three little boys are playing / with a football / Outside my window [...] / They have now been joined / By what seems to be a fond parent. / Head empty as the ball, / Like all inadequate personalities / He delights in being the instructor. / A very modern Sweet Auburn, a very different Goldsmith.’

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Brian Fallon, Anthony Cronin: Man of Letters (Cranagh Press [Univ. of Ulster 2003): ‘[...] Cronin’s era shone at a kind of high-grade literary journalism and polemical writing which today seems almost extinct. This was particularly suited to the style and spaces of the literary magazine and, in fact, did a good deal to dictate its format [...] Cronin’s often excellent literary criticism goes back to his days on The Bell and to his years in literary London - including anonymous long reviews for the Times Literary Supplement, and no doubt much bedies. His “Viewpoint” column in The Irish Times contained many excellent, encapsulated critical essays, but when he came to publish a selection in book form, he cose to concentrate on the pieces of political and social comment. Heritage Now, one of his vintage publications, contains excellent thinkpieces on Joyce, George Moore, Somerville and Roos, even a reconsideration of Thomas Moore which is a model of level-headedness. But a genre which he has virtually made his own is the literary portrait - especially those of Brendan Behan, Kavanagh and Brian O’Nolan in Dead as Doornails. One of the reasons why I found his biography of O’Nolan anticlimactic was that he had set down the core of it, and more memorably too, in the preceeding work - in fact, the original pen-portrait really left nothing further to say either on the man or on his work. One the other hand his biography of Beckett is a classic of its kind, which gives the lie to hostile critics who hold [11] that he is excellent in the short critical article or the personal snapshot, but lacks the scholarly stamina to tackle a work of sustained, accurate research. Beckett is an author with whom he can identify fully, and in fact Waiting for Godot is quintessentially as much a testament of the Nineteen-fifties as Maeterlinck’s Pelléas and Melisande is of the Nineties. / Dead as Doornails remains my favourite of all Cronin’s prose books and is now a recognised classic, though The Life of Riley is a comic novel with verve and a genuine satiric sting (it is no secret that the magazine editor portrayed, or caricatured, is based on Peadar O’Donnell, editor of The Bell after O’Faolain). Yet Cronin, after all, might claim that he is primarily a poet, though my own feeling is that he is essentially an all-rounder - neither a poet who writes prose, like the late Robert Graves, nor a prose-writer who publishes occasional books of verse. Both activities seem equally essential to him, and he does not rob one to pay the other. His place in Irish postwar poetry has never been quite staked out by critics and anthologists, and as has been mentioned already, he emerged at a time when Auden was the dominant influence on the younger Irish poets. Some of these early poems, particularly the sonnet ‘Baudelaire in Brussels’, quickly became anthology pieces and should still rank as such; but much of the later verse has had no more than a coterie readership and his poetic development has been rather overshadowed in the eyes of the public and the critics by Thomas Kinsella, generally regarded as the laureate of that particular generation. / I do not doubt, personally, that his departure to London at a crucial period of his life and career partially shut him out of the eyes and memories of literary Dublin. [...; 13]The Carcanet Press Collected Poems of 1982 was rather a mixed bag, which was also hampered by an unattractive format; nevertheless it has been badly neglected by critics, and even by fellow-poets. (For example, Thomas Kinsella, normally a sensible and open-minded critic, excluded Cronin entirely from his Oxford Book of Modern Irish Verse in 1986.) In particular, his long poem “H.M.S. Titanic” shows a real ability to experiment expressively with free verse and to develop a theme contrapuntally over a long distance [...] the early verse, by contrast, had mostly been written in rather tiht, almost neo-clasic formats, which at least rules our discursiveness but also makes for short-windedness. Taken as a while, Cronin’s verse is in a wide range of tone and modes, though often deliberately angulea and unmelodic: sometimes ultra-personal and autobiographical, at other times consciously detached and ironic, at other times again narrative and objective, or with an epigrammatic dryness which looks back to the 18th century.’ (pp.11-13.) Fallon reminds us that in London ‘both Cronin and Patrick Swift moved in a milieu which included Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Robert Colquhoun among the painters, and George Barker, David Wright and many others.’ (p.12.)

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Fintan O’Toole, ‘Unfairly neglected? Not now’, in The Irish Times (Thurs, 26 Nov. 2004): ‘[...] With the publication of Cronin’s Collected Poems, bringing together a body of work written over the past half-century, it does not seem at all absurd to suggest that his poetry has not received the attention it deserves. Cronin’s long poems in particular - RMS Titanic , first published in 1961, Letter To An Englishman , written in 1975, and the sonnet sequence The End Of The Modern World , published in 1989 - stand out as a distinctive achievement. Their lucid arguments, muscular but accessible language, technical skill and wry engagement with the contemporary world may stand at an angle to the typical Irish lyric of recent times, but they occupy their own space with an impressive confidence. / If this body of work has tended to drop off the radar of critics and literary historians, however, it is partly because Cronin himself has generated so much interference. His public profile as a combative literary journalist who also wrote about horse racing, as the biographer of Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien and as the cultural politician who helped to create, through his relationship with Haughey, Aosdána, the Heritage Council and the Irish Museum of Modern Art has been at odds with the common view of the contemplative poet. [...]’ (See also Quotations, infra.)

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Fred Johnston, ‘No Intellectual Tradition’, review of Collected Poems [omnibus review], in Books Ireland, March 2005, p.52-53: Johnston suggests that Cronin’s engagement with ‘Great Themes’ and ‘well-intentioned intellectualism’ are in contrast with his ease in a ‘literary world not much larger, if somewhat cosier, than the [one] which he documented so well in Dead as Doornails.’ His account of the poems weighs the ironies of Cronin’s position in regard to his ideas also: ‘His thinking is astute, sharp, concise and worth interrogating even if to question it. It strives towards a world-view, at least a European view, and speaks out of an English sceptical literary tradition.’ Further, quotes “The man Who Went Absent from his Native Literature”: ‘Nevertheless: / He did not bang a local drum. / He did not give a hoot who won the tribal conflicts’ - and comments: ‘This is not merely anti-Yeatsian, it’s anti-Kavanagh, with his heroic local rowars. teh poem rather brusquely rejects most things traditionally considered as accessories in any modern poet’s work-bag; it expresses the paradoxical - and perhaps impossible to filful yet arguably central wish of any thinking rejectionist: to be forward-looking wihtout being utterly Utopian or silly. [...] but the poem is caught up in its own posed dilemma. Rejection of myth is, by most new thinkers, considered to be not really very positive in the long-run. [...]’ Finally, quotes the conclusion from the ‘poignant poem’ “Why?” (‘Why am I always apart and thinking? / Why is my heart so often sinking?’): ‘O let me be one of them sometime soon’.

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George Szirtes, ‘Passionate in public’, review of Anthony Cronin, Collected Poems, in The Irish Times (18 Dec. 2004), Weekend: ‘[...] Anthony Cronin is of the first kind, a thinking man who happens to be a poet and a remarkably fine one at that. The late C.H. Sisson is quoted on the back flap of these Collected Poems to the effect that it is the best of Irish prose that has entered Cronin’s poetry. He is right. Cronin’s gift is for the memorable articulation of experience that might have been rendered less memorably in prose. This makes for a passionate and public kind of poetry. Cronin’s engagement is with the ordinary intelligent man in the city street, not with gods, ghosts, the muse, the unknown or the Other. He is aware of these entities, and in his longest and most important poem, the cycle of sonnets titled “The End of the Modern World” he does fleetingly address the muse in the guise of Diana, the moon goddess, but she is not his main concern. Far from it! In the same poem, which is in effect a spectacular lecture on the history of capitalism, the character Childe Roland appears as a modern man in the world of the market’s Dark Tower. [.] The Dark Tower, it should be added, is in Manhattan, and has been the dark tower to others since Cronin’s poem was first published in the key year of 1989, the year when Reagan’s “evil empire” fell apart, leaving the tower in sole charge. In this respect, ‘The End of the Modern World’ is a tortured meditation on the loss of an ideal that was never fully embodied, and anticipates an argument with Fukuyama’s The End of History.’ Further, ‘Argument is at the core of Cronin’s poetry. [...] Cronin has written beautiful love poems, and some imperious political verse. It was his bad luck that his poem on the Titanic was overshadowed by Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s greater work. But Cronin’s is a major voice: he is Ireland’s modern Dryden, a master of the public word in the public place.’ (See full text and quotation, as infra.)

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Paddy Wordworth, ‘Vita brevis, ars longa’, in “Charles J. Haughey”, special supplement, Irish Times (14 June 2006): ‘A controversy about the genesis of Aosdána, however, ultimately revealed that events of a GUBU nature occurred even in this relatively benigh area of Mr Haughey’s activities. In 1991, a history of the relationship between the State and the arts in Ireland, Dreams and Responsibilities, was published by the Arts Council. The author, Dr Brian Kennedy, inclined to the view that the credit for initiating Aosdina belonged with a former director of the Arts Council, Mr Colm Ó Briain, rather than with Mr Cronin. / After initially publicising the book with great enthusiasm, the council’s then director, Mr Adrian Munnelly, told his officers that he had given Mr Cronin an assurance that he would no longer actively promote it. Mr Cronin has always denied seeking or getting such an assurance, but Mr Munnelly subsequently had -the book displayed for sale with Mr Cronin’s version of events attached to it by a rubber band, a device which was christened “the intellectual condom”. / Mr Munnelly shredded some 200 copies of the book, without informing the author. This was an unprecedented action by a director whose personal integrity was highly respected. Mr Munnelly reaffirmed his belief in the book’s value and accuracy when challenged to account for his action by the resignation of one of his officers, Ms Emer McNamara, but it wasn’t republished under his directorship. That the book also recorded the less-than-happy relationship between Mr, Haughey and the council in the early 1980s inevitably created speculation that the Taoiseach himself would not have been displeased to see the book drop from view. / Knowing what we know about his highhanded actions in other areas has made it harder to give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he really was as distant from this unsavoury little episode as he claimed in the Dáil. [.].’

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Quotations
The End of the Modern World”: ‘[the poet hears above] the murmur of the traffic / A voice ask what it profited to save / One’s solipsistic, self-regarding soul / If one should lose the real world in that saving?’ (Quoted in George Szirtes, ‘Passionate in public’, review of Anthony Cronin, Collected Poems, in The Irish Times, 18 Dec. 2004; as supra.)

The Manifestation”, a poem printed in Books Ireland (March 1997), ends: ‘[W]hy should the goddess / Ever deign to split / Our imprisoning reality again?’ (Rep. Minotaur 1996.)

Our Gaelic poets: ‘Our Gaelic poets, going about the West, / Blinded with rage and sorrow / Among the sodden green hills, and feeling / The destruction of the wind, / Knowing that poor men’s pride / Was only a drunkard’s boast / And wanting a firelit hall / And a prince’s head to be bowed / In acquiescence to the word [...]’ (Quoted in Fred Johnston, ‘No Intellectual Tradition’, omnibus review in Books Ireland, March 2005, p.53.)

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The Master’s Poetry’ [on James Joyce], in Viewpoint (Irish Times [column], 15 June 1979); discusses the poetry of Joyce: ‘When Stanislaus said that “a poet ... was lost to the world in Dublin in 1902”, he was wrong. Ulysses, more than any other prose work in the English language, has the texture, the intensity, the visual and aural qualities of poetry and could only have been written by a poet. Also writes about ‘The Church Triumphant’ in anticipation of the papal visit (Viewpoint, 24 Aug. 1979), and follows up with ‘What Next?’ (Irish Times, 23 Nov. 1979): ‘[...] those nutty ... enough to hope for a Christian transformation of society were bound to be disappointed’; goes on to argue that Christ was ‘a classical anarchist’, and that a Christian society would be one without pensionable jobs.

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The Life of Riley (1964); Patrick Riley is Assistant to the Secretary of to Irish Grocers’ Association; he inhabits “The Warrens” [i.e., the Catacombs of Dublin memory], run by Sir Mortlake; O’Turks [McDaids], The pub population is made up of beggars, steamers, and occasionally an artistic women (foreign) on a Lawrentian mission to the Irish (e.g. Eunice). ‘[...] as has often been remarked, nature has blessed the island of the Gael with a pleniful supply of rainfall and a plentitude of personable females. The shortage lay rather in the circles in which most of those present spent their leisured, in fact their waking hours. ... the Celto-Iberian order of things prevailed, the women closeted in an atmosphere of domestic fecundity ... [O]n this part of the sea-coast of Bohemia, if Bohemia it was, a heterogeneous collection of males had been washed up with an insufficient supply of women. That there was difficulty in recruitment from the outside may be attributed not only to the innate respectability or chastity of the females of the race, but to their fastidiousness as well. [33] Such females as were available to the unattached could no longer gratify the aesthetic sense of possession after difficulty, to say nothing of the Herod complex, with its preference for youth.’ [34] ‘... a girl called Bridget, a student nurse [34], she herself lived in a sort of hostel with fifty or sixty of her fellows, a sort of virginal beehive ... [35]; She had no objection to those occasions to what passions I was shaken or taken by, not to their rudimentary consummation. She was a good girl in that respect. But in spite of my descriptions of the bliss that lay in store for her also, if only she would allow me to finish the matter off properly, she was adamant in her refusal to enter unknown territory where putative social as well as certain moral disaster might lurk.’ [36]; “The Gurriers” become the name of his alternate dwelling; ‘Gurrier is a word I find it rather difficult to define. Not that its not a word of precise application, in the sense that the justness or otherwise of that application is not immediately apparent, but that gurrier elements in a personality can crop up in widely different contexts. Thus, for instance, a Cabinet Minister can be, and frequently is, justly described as a gurrier ... An element of shiftiness is implied, and perhaps an element of braggadacio. A certain lack of respectability is almost certainly imputed, ... An element of shabbiness of style’ [?] Marxist Prunshios McGonaghy and The Trumpet ‘wurred in’; Radio Eireann; Seumas McMurkagaun, the religious novelist, he looked like several common men rolled into one, cattle jobber, schoolmaster, politician, publican, Knight of Columbanus, member of the Gaelic League. Cambden Town dosshouse. ‘Ashtowk, Paddy!’; BBC [personnel], Coosins, the fake Irishman, former Belfast barrister, Boddells, and former business, McLoosh, all at the Stork [pub]; ‘Unemployment had risen sharply during the years of the Labour adminstration. You couldn’t even get a job shouting ‘mind the doors’ on the underground – this I remember particularly because it seemed to me to be a very creative and satisfying job and represented in a quiet secretive dreamy sort of way, an ideal.’ [169]; Interviews with Labour Exchange and National Assistance Board in Southwark. [172] Coosins takes him to a lady with a cotton plantation in Sierra Leone, called Amelia [188]

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The Shame of It (1971): Y: ‘I decided to choose a different kind of segregation. To avoid cross-infection. ... I used to go drinking with the boys, the hard men. (Sings, badly.) “And she’ll put it in, and I’ll put it in, and we’ll both put it in together.” One of these days a thought will strike me in the street and I’ll collapse. A prominent citizen collapsed and died of shame while waiting for a number eleven buss last night.’ X: ‘For fuck ‘s sake be quiet. I can hear them tramplin’ round overhead. ‘ (Dublin Magazine, Autumn 1921, p.65.)

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Heritage Now - Irish Literature in the English Language (Dingle: Brandon 1982) opens with an epigraph framing remarks taken from a speech of Eamon de Valera given at the opening the Radio Eireann in 1933 according a grudging place to the ‘Anglo-Irish writers’ [see De Valera, infra]. Cronin’s “Introduction” sets out from remarks of Samuel Beckett’s “Recent Irish Poetry” reproving the tendency to impose “Irishness” on Irish literature in English and to make it the express subject of that literature. Cronin continues: ‘The present writer does, as it happens, believe that it is important for Irish people anyway to recognise the “Irishness” of their literature. The reflection any country or people obtains from its literature is at least as important a means of strengthening [13] and exploring identity as is anything else. The possession of a literature is as important as is the possession of a language. Again, the establishment of an independent literature is at least as important as the establishment of an independent state; and it could be argued that in may matters the authors have so far shown more signs of independence than the state has.’ He goes on to offer a provisional account if Irish literary qualities: ‘The principal characteristics of the best of our literature in English have been its daring, its humours, its humanity, its true internationalism, its willingness to face ultimates and go to extremes.’; ‘But there are equally those, of whom Synge, and to a degree, Kavanagh, may stand as example, where the Irishness or otherwise has been a source of confusion to criticism and where I have believed it important to put it in its place.’ [14]. In his essay on Beckett, Cronin writes: ‘Murphy … gives expression to an attitude which is at the core of all Beckett’s work: not of renunciation, for there is nothing but filth to renounce, but rather of desire, of yearning for selfhood, true selfhood at last.’ (p.176.) This collection reprints his essay on Bloom and Ulysses from A Question of Modernity. (Note that Cronin does not treat O’Casey.)

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Lord Mountbatten (assassinated): ‘Every time something like this happens, we retreat into the shock of self-abasement and fail to face the difficulties of urging on each other the only way forward that the country can take. [i.e., unity under nationalist banner].’ (An Irish Eye: Viewpoints, 1985; q.p.).

Irish Literary Revival: ‘Once upon a time there was a thing called The Irish Literary Revival, which was connected with another thing called The Celtic Twilight, which was more like a fog. It descended (if that be the word) a long time ago, but it hasn’t cleared away yet and the smell continues to pollute the air [.../]. Now, such as it was, the Irish Literary Revival was an offshoot of British needs. Materialistic, moneyed, torpid late Victorian society wanted an anti-materialist Land of Heart’s Desire whose existence could be checked on the map and whose literary representatives could be produced in drawing rooms once their boots had been cleaned to prove how charming and delightful it all was. Yeats and his friends elected to supply such a never-never land.’ (Irish Times, 3 Nov. 1976; cited in Alan Warner, A Guide to Anglo-Irish Literature, Dublin, 1981, p.8.)

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No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien (1989) ‘The hold of Catholicism in Ireland in those years was partly parental. To disavow the faith, whether in public or in private, was a gesture so extreme that most people who had doubts or reservations suppressed them on the grounds that it would cause their parents too much suffering, might indeed even ‘break their hearts’. True, Joyce had managed the business a quarter of a century or so before, but the extreme song and dance he had made of it showed how difficult he found it; and he had, after all, to refuse to kneel at his mother’s bedside, to go into exile and to render himself both déraciné and déclassé to do it. / For the hold was also partly ideological. A break with Catholicism would involve questions of your very identity, racial, social and historical. It would also involve questions of your future and your position in the scheme of things: even your ability to earn a living might be in jeopardy. Social pressures might not always be overt, but they were not to be forgotten. / The result of these two discomforts - being a beneficiary of a nationalist revolution which you had largely come to despise: though however much you despised it, it was also unthinkable that you could regret the passing of British rule; and being a passive or active upholder of a faith which you often found abhorrent either in its beliefs, or at the very least, its public attitudes - was for some of O’Nolan’s contemporaries a curious kind of latter-day aestheticism. / You were in an ambiguous, not to say a dishonest position, morally, socially and intellectually. You were a conformist among other conformists in terms of the most important social or philosophical [52] questions you could face. But yet you knew about modern art and literature. You had read most of the great moderns and, above all, you had read James Joyce. That was what marked you out as different, the joke you shared against the rabblement of which you were otherwise a part. [52-53] Niall Montgomery was a quick-eyed and quick-witted architectural student who was to play an important role in Brian O’Nolan’s life, not only as a collaborator in some of his journalistic enterprises, but as a sort of intellectual mentor. His attitude to Joyce was obsessive but ambiguous … [he] regarded Joyce’s works as an intellectual playground: esoteric, cabbalistic, logomachic. He left out, in so far as it can be left out, the human content and the compassionate purpose … [55] the resulting synthesis was largely Montgomery’s solution. Joyce and his challenge would be defused by making him a mere logomachic wordsmith, a great but demented genius who finally went mad in his ivory tower. Admittedly he was a great low-life humourist as well, but he was one whose insensate dedication to something called art would finally unhinge him. On the other hand, Joyce and a view of modernism as a predominantly aesthetic philosophy could still provide a sort of absolution and a sort of charm against infection for those who despised the new Ireland while yet conforming to parental and other expectations within it. It was a circular solution, but it had the advantage of neatness. [57] He was not a Francophile or an Anglophile and his elaborate critique of Ireland in later years was based on the rough premise that, with all its shortcomings, it was as good a place as anywhere else: both as Myles na Gopaleen and otherwise he was quick to resent insults to his country or implications that other countries were inherently superior. / His conformism was therefore of a less ambiguous nature than that some of his friend … [57] (For longer extracts, see under Flann O’Brien, infra.)

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Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist (London: Flamingo 1997): ‘To those associated with an Irish literary monthly, Envoy, of whom the present writer was one, had been shown Watt by Con Leventhal and, immediately struck by the dissolving beauty of its prose, had offered to publish an extract. / Except to people like Leventhal who had been his contemporaries and boon companions in the theirties, and who now seemed to most of [403] us to belong to a different era than ourselves, the name Beckett had only very vague connotations for the post-war generation in Ireland. It was known that he had published a comic novel of some sort in the thirties and that he lived in Paris, but he had very little identity otherwise. However, his composer cousin, John Beckett, belonged to the same group as the editors of the magazine. When he produced a copy of Murphy, I had rather disliked its knowing tone and thought the first sentence falsely sophisticated and untrue. Watt suggested a different order of things. Perhaps Irish modernism had not after all come to an end with James Joyce and Flann O’Brien.’ (pp.403-04). [For first chapter, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism - Classics > Anglo-Irish Literature”, Cronin, infra. See further under Beckett, supra.]

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Sundry Remarks
1916 Rising
: ‘[...] One supposes that 1916 was in some sense necessary. It was certainly inevitable, given that “once in every generation” &c. and that the British ruling class, having its own form of death wish, had embarked on a suicidal war. The years of nationalist and Catholic triumphalism that followed left us a craven people; but at least we were craven before our own gods.’ (Contribution to Dermot Bolger, ed., Letters from the New Island, 16 on 16: Irish Writers on the Easter Rising (Raven Arts Press 1988), 47pp., pp.16; also cited in Edna Longley, The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1994, pp.84-85).

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Typecasting: ‘In Ireland for some reason [...] people want the poet to seem poetic, whereas in other countries poets spend a lot of their time avoiding seeming poetic. And ther is a serious disapproval of poets’ complicating matters by doing other things. Right from the beginning, as a young fella writing controversial articles, in the Bell - attacking Sean MacBride’s pretensions, for example - people couldn’t quite believe that someone who was up that sort of thing was a proper poet. Academia is all right, because it’s quiet and separated and never makes waves, but what I was doing typecast me. In volvement with Charlie [Haughey] was only a larger piece of typecasting.’ (Quoted in Fintan O’Toole, ‘Unfairly neglected? Not now’, in The Irish Times, 26 Nov. 2004, p.14.)

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Patrick Kavanagh, ‘In the case of the relationship with nature the critic soon enough comes to another easily discernible full stop, for over and over again the poet says about nature and the visible world that to name it and advert to it and declare on’es consciounsess of it with love and passion is enough, and not infrequently declares further ... that this is all you can do.’ (‘Kavanagh Assessed’, Irish Times, 1977; q.d.).

The Great Humour’ [article on Patrick Kavanagh], Magill (Oct. 1997), incls. the sentence: ‘Few things would have provoked him more than the humourless solemnity with which the new liberal Ireland conducts it self-congratulatory discussions, but it would have provoked him to laughter.’ (p.51; see further under Kavanagh, q.v..)

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The First Bloomsday: ‘The first “Bloomsday” celebration, which took place in 1954 was largely Myles na Gopaleen’s idea. It would be wrong to say that in 1954 Joyce was a neglected figure in Ireland. He was, in many quarters, seriously disapproved of hated might not be too strong a word to describe the attitude. Not only the Church and the devout disapproved of him. Politicians feared to make any reference to a notorious blasphemer and in that very year Sean MacBride, the Minister for External Affairs, had pointedly refused to open a James Joyce exhibition in Paris. Though public rosary recitals had formed part of the attractions on offer in a big tourist drive the previous year, there had been no mention of the sinful Shem the Penman. Even the literary establishment disapproved - most of O’Connor and O’Faolain’s references were in one way or another denigratory, partly, no doubt, because Joyce seemed to have abolished the narrative forms which were their stock-in-trade. And Irish academia was remarkably reticent on the subject of the work that now preoccupies it so greatly. / So our gesture was partly an assertion of his importance to us as well as a rebellion against dullness, hypocrisy and ignorance but it was also a celebration. All those who too part knew the book more or less by heart. Even Kavanagh, who, in accordance with his general policy of running down any Irish writer, young or old, living or dead, who was the object of any praise, here or elsewhere, sometimes expressed reservations, would frequently and for the most part gleefully quote it. And Myles, though fed up with being described by those who knew no better as a “Joycean” writer and therefore occasionally impelled to snarl at the mention of the name, fully understood the greatness of the master and his achievement. And as for my younger self, 1 believed - and, incidentally, still believe - that Joyce was not only the greatest European novelist of the twentieth century, but one of the greatest writers who ever lived, worthy to be mentioned with Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Homer.’ (See Blackrock Society Proceedings 2004, pp.66-67, with port. [detail] and photo. of Cronin in white cap launching Blackrock’s Bloomsday Centenary Celebrations. Another photo shows Cronic outside Goggins of Monkstown, wtih a horse-drawn cab bearing Myles na gCopaleen [Flann O’Brien], with caption ‘[...] Anthony is helping Myles whose hat can be seen emerging from the second cab.)

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3: selects Dead as Doornails [523-35]; from New and Selected Poems, ‘Concord’, ‘Plentitude’, ‘Baudelaire in Brussels’, ‘For a Father’, ‘Prophet’; BIOG, 559 [as above], REMS, 1309 [Others like Cronin found in the squalor of bohemian Dublin vague intimations of the dire poverty that surrounded it, and sought uneasily for analogies in Baudelaire and the writers of the French decadence]

University of Ulster Library holds [b. 1928]; The Life of Riley (Secker & Warburg 1964 & reps.); Identity Paper (Co-op Books 1980); Poems (Cresset Press 1958); Collected Poems 1950-73 (New Writers 1973); Reductionist Poem (Raven Arts 1980); 41 Sonnets, Poems 1992 (Raven Arts 1992, rep. 1989); New & Selected Poems (Carcanet Press 1992); The End of The Modern World (Raven Arts 1989); A Question of Modernity ([Secker] 1966); Heritage Now (Brandon 1982); An Irish Eye (Brandon 1985); Art for the People (Raven Arts 1988); No Laughing Matter, The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien (Grafton 1989, rep. 1990); also “Viewpoint” [weekly, Later fortnightly column on art, literature, politics, philosophy for Irish Times 1974-1986]; contribution to many other journals, television and radio features.

Belfast Linen Hall Library holds An Irish Eye, viewpoints by A. Cronin [from The Irish Times] (1985).

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Notes
The Life of Riley (1964) incls. among its characters to whom Riley turns in his attempts to make a living or regain his poise after another alcoholic collapse: Prionnsías, the lit. ed. of The Trumpet; the Secretary of the Grocer’s Assocation, for whom he acts as secretary to the Secretary; the girlfriend Bridget, how tires of supporting him; Sir George Dermot, owner of Ardash in the Dublin Mountains where he hosets Obe Jasus, a Nigerian intellectual, plays Mahler’s "Song of the Earth" to his guests and is assisted by Uncle Aspey as chef; Sir Mortlake, major domo in the windowless basement on a Georgian square [the Catacombs, on Fitzwilliam Pl., off Merrion Sq.];. The novel includes a sojourn as a literary Irishman in London under the wing of F. R. Higgins. For extended remarks see Catríona MacKernan, in Books Ireland (Dec. 2010), in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index or attached.

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Time and Tide, sometimes called a women’s magazine, was published E. M. Delafield’s Diary of A Provincial Lady (1930) in serial form during the 1930s; it was illustrated by Arthur Watts.

Credit due: Cronin writes about Brian O’Nolan’s [aka Flann O’Brien] uncompleted “Slat[t]ery”s Sago Saga’, ‘the basic joke was suggested by the enthusiastic schemes of a character in a novel of my own, The Life of Riley, who envisages the extraction of electricity from potatoes, the paving of the streets of Dublin with sods of turf [bog] ... &c.’ (See No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien, London: Grafton 1989, p.264.)

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Cronin’s Birthdate is given as 1926 in Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (1979) and also in Cleeve, Dictionary of Irish Writers (1988), but as 1928 in his own submission to Coleraine Dataset (1996).

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To Russia with ...?: The release of State Paper under the 30 years rule, The Irish Times (1&2/1/1993) prints Dublin Castle contains notes on the journey of Anthony Cronin with James Plunkett and others to Russia by sea; Plunkett is described as ‘very religious’ and Liam Mac Gabhann (called McGowan) as a socialist; the whole group described as liberals or left-wing intellectuals’; Irish Times also prints an extract from Cronin’s article following the visit, entitled ‘Behind the Iron Curtain.’ Further, ‘It seemed to me a terribly depressing country [...] We all, I think, went out of curiosity and we are a curious (in both senses of the word) lot of people. Nobody tried to convert us to communism, and our host did go to great lengths to ensure that we saw what we wanted to see and met the sort of people we wanted to meet’; but ‘at least for one western intellectual there was no place like home.’ The party which travelled by air met with demands of money from the Soviet representatives in London; the sea-travellers paid £21 for their fare.

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Aosdana: A Comment’, in The Crane Bag [ Minorities in Ireland [with The Church-State Debate; Special Issue], ed. Timothy Kearney, Vol. 5 No. 1 (1981), pp.783-84, contains a commentary on Cronin’s decision to serve Charles Haughey as Cultural and Artistic Adviser:: ‘Mr Cronin’s decision to join the Civil Service so late in life came as a surprise to some. After all, here was a man who, throughout seventies, had emerged in the columns of the Irish times as one of the few critical commentators in the land, a fearless intellectual whose integrity was uncompromised by an academic posting or a party political affiliation. The news of his appointment came a mater of days after he had shared a platform with the revolutionary Pierre Frank and was something of a blow to his many admirers. But then in Ireland the classical way of silencing a rebel has been to give him a seat next to the boss. / Nevertheless, half a loaf is better than no bread, and few would now question the wisdom of Mr Cronin in taking the job. [… &c.]’ (p.782).

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Aosdana defended: “John Banville and Aosdana”, a letter by Cronin to The Irish Times, argues that Banville is mistaken about ‘the nature and purposes of Aosdána’ in supposing that it is for the support of ‘what he calls “hungry” people’; further expresses surprise at his ‘crusading zeal’, arguing that the most members of Aosdána ‘enjoy, like him, a degree of financial success understand that membership is also an expression of identity of interest with others who have made the same difficult and often dangerous vocational choice as they have themselves but may not have the same good fortune.’ (20 Dec. 2001.)

Rude awakening: 200 copies of Brian Kennedy, Dreams and Responsibilities, The State and the Arts in Independent Ireland (Arts Council 1992), were sent to the shredder and reissued with an appended pamphlet by Anthony Cronin responding to the account of the foundation of Aosdana therein. (See Irish Literary Supplement, Winter 1993.)

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Income stated: In 1992, Anthony Cronin’s income from the Taoiseach’s office became a matter of public record. In answer to a Dáil question it was stated that he received 134 per day five days a week during the Irish EC presidency and the same for four days each week thereafter.

Whiteboys & Defenders: James Smyth, ed. The Men of No Property: Irish Radicals and Popular politics in the late eighteenth century (Gill & Macmillan 1992) 263pp., on Whiteboys and Defenders; ends by quoting Anthony Cronin’s opinion that Defenderism survives as ‘gut atholic nationalism’; a book by revisionist for revisionists.

Hugh Kenner quotes Cronin’s earlier view of the prose descriptions of nature in The Third Policeman as being ‘full of oddly generalised and amorphous description, that of landscape, which occupies such a large part of it, being composed in the most laborious way out of mere landscape-elements, like a child’s picture.’ (Irish Times, 12 Dec. 1975; rep. Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O!, 1985, p.115; cited in Kenner, ‘The Fourth Policeman’, in Anne Clune and Tess Hurson, eds., Conjuring Complexities, 1997, p.64.)

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C. H. Peake (James Joyce: The Artist and the Citizen, London: Arnold 1977), quotes Cronin’s observation that Stephen Dedalus ‘specifically rejects in so many words any aesthetic based on symbolism’ (A Question of Modernity, 1966, p.66; Peake, p.9.)

Zinovy Zinik, ‘Dublin dragomans’, in Times Literary Supplement (25 June 2004), a memoir of Anthony Burgess, recalls a meeting with Burgess and ‘Dublin senator and memoirist Anthony Cronin’: ‘Cronin had also gone down the classic route of a Dublin pilgrim in his day: he left with Brendan Behan for Paris - for the legendary Paris of Joce and beckett - only to return a few years later, disillusioned, to his Dublin, and the Dublin legends of the same genii loci. It was Cronin who told Burgess about my presence in Dublin, on that memorable day in June.’ (q.p.)

Colm Toibin cites Cronin’s Collected Poems in ‘Who Read What in 2004’ (Irish Times, Dec. 2004): ‘The tone and range, from the lyrical to the comic, from the complex and hard to the strangely reverential, are genuinely astonishing and make this an essential book for all tose who care about Irish poetry and all those who don’t.’

Portraits: Cronin features in the series of photographs relating to the first Bloomsday trip of 1954 [see supra], including one of Cronin at the reins of a horse-drawn carriage [i.e, cab] standing in Duke St., with Davy Byrne's in the near background, and with Patrick Kavanagh seated beside him, which is printed with a review by Anne Haverty of The Writers and Artists of Dublin’s Baggotonia, by Brendan Lynch, in The Irish Times (26 Nov. 2011, Weekend, p.26). Not having been seen previously, the photo is possibly in Cronin's own possession, given his relation to the reviewer.

(2011),

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