John Augustus O’Shea


1839-1905 [“The Irish Bohemian”]; b. Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, son of a journalist; ed. Catholic University, Dublin; became London journalist, 1859; he became the Paris correspondent for the Irishman, edited and owned by Richard Pigott, moving to Paris with letter of introduction to John Mitchel from John Martin (MP for Meath); stayed in Pension Bonnery, rue de Lacépède (5ième arr.); succeeded Mitchel as Paris correspondent for a NY newspaper [Daily News], and covered the trial of Pierre Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon III, for the London Daily Standard; he returned to London to work for the Standard, which he served for 25 yrs; Bavaria before being posted to Paris in 1870;


reported the Franco-Prussian War, and followed the French army to Metz and back to Paris., via Luxembourg; lodged on rue de Clichy (9ième arr.) during the winter of 1870-71; got out of Paris just before the destruction of the Commune, May 1871; later reported the Carlist War and the Bengal Famine; he enjoyed a journalistic scoop in interviewing Pope Pius IX, and also wrote a memoir of J. H. Newman; chiefly remembered for his account of the Siege of Paris in An Iron Bound City, 2 vols. (1886); ultimately disenamoured of the French, whom he considered ‘swollen with pride’, and duly beaten in the war with Prussia;

wrote three novels including Military Mosaics (1888), set in 2nd Empire France, and Mated from the Morgue (1889); he gave an account of Mitchel in his Leaves from the Life of a Special Correspondent; also issued Roundabout Recollections (1892); he was paralysed at the end of his life, and became a recipient of Royal Lit. Fund; d. in London; his sister J. J. O’Shea wrote Dark Rosaleen (1884). ODNB DIW DIB SUTH

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  • Stephen Joseph Meany, Fenian Convict “3498” (Dublin: “Irishman” Office, 33 Lower Abbey-street [...]; NY: distrib. by American News Company, Nassau-street [1869]), [i-v] vi-viii, [1] 2-108pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls., port.]. 17cm. [rep.from The Irishman [p.v.]
  • Blonde and Brunette: An Original Comedietta / by J.A. O'Shea. (London: D. Lane, 1875), 27pp. [acting copy];
    An Iron-bound City, or, Five Months of Peril and Privation, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1886);
  • with S. J. MacKenna, Brave Men in Action: Thrilling Stories of the British Flag (London: W[ard] & Downey 1889); Do. as Brave men in action : thrilling stories of the British flag. New edition (London: W[ard] & Downey, 1890), ill. [by S. L. Wood]; and Do. [another edn.] (London: Chatto & Windus, 1899), viii, 586, 8°.
  • Leaves from the Life of a Special Correspondent, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1885), 8°.
  • Mated from the Morgue: A Tale of the Second Empire (London: Spencer Blackett 1889), 155pp.
  • Military Mosaic: A Set of Tales and Sketches on Soldierly Themes (London: W. H. Allen 1888), viii, 303pp.
    Romantic Spain: A Record of Personal Experiences, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey, 1887).
    Roundabout Recollections, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1892), 8°.

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W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival, Its History, Pioneers and Possibilities (London: Paternoster Steam Press 1894), literary sketch, pp.90-91, John Augustus O’Shea, Catholic University grad.; memories of Newman; journalistic scoop in interviewing Pope Pius IX. &c.

There is a webpage on J. A. O’Shea at Irishmen in Paris online; [accessed 7.11.2010. - see text attached.]

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Kith & Kin? For possible parentage, see John Augustus Shea (q.v.), a Cork-born writer who emigrated to America up, worked there as a journalist, and published several works of poetry and historical romance with Longmans (London) and Appleton (New York).

Mrs O’Shea: Pearse St. Library, Dublin (Gilbert Collection) holds an MS article by R. R. Madden, being materials for a third vol. of Irish Periodical Literature, recording [inter alia] that Mrs. J. A. O’Shea contributed poetry to The Dublin and London Magazine. [chk. initials.]


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