Niall Sheridan

Commentary

Life
1912- ; b. Co. Meath; ed. UCD.; ed. Cothrom Féinne, with contributions from Denis Devlin, Brian Nolan [Flann O’Brien], Brian Coffey and others; with Donagh MacDonagh, Twenty Poems (1934); Abbey comedy, Seven Men and a Dog (1958); college friend of Brian O’Nolan [Flann O’Brien], he appears as Brinsley in At-Swim Two Birds; served as a Senior Executive, RTÉ; selected Patrick Kavanagh’s Collected Pruse (1967). DIW FDA

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Works
with Donagh MacDonagh, Twenty Poems (Dublin: priv. 1934), 26, [2]pp., 18.7 cm. Also, ed., Comhthrom Feinne (I.1-XI.2: May 1931-May 1935).

The bus-trip: Sheridan is the author/transcriber of an interview with Alf Bergan about John Stanislaus Joyce which appears in full in Richard Ellmann’s life of James Joyce (1959, pp.109-10, n.) JSJ, being drunk to celebrate the purchase of 7 St. Peter’s Terrace in Cabra, is put on a tram at Nelson's Pillar by Bergin and a friend, with instructions to the driver not to let him off before Dollymount where they believe he lived. The interview includes a detailed reconstruction of JSJ’s conversational account of his troubles walking back to Cabra after the last tram into town had passed, retailed to Bergin two or three days after.

Note: Sheridan is the source of several stories of JSJ and James Joyce in Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce (1957) which he, Sheridan, gathered in an interview with Alfred Bergan. Sheridan also interviewed Eva Joyce on 20 March 1949 [JJ, p.760]. (Ellmann himself interviewed her in 1953.)

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Criticism
Irish Book Lover, notice of Twenty Poems (Vol. XXII [q.d.], p.147); Also remarks in Rüdiger Imhof, ‘Brian, Flann and Myles’, Imhof, ed., Alive Alive O!, Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds (Dublin: Wolfhound 1985), cp.74.

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Commentary
Antoinette Quinn, ed., A Poet’s Country: Selected Prose (Dublin: Lilliput 2003): ‘When MacGibbon & Kee […] decided to commission a collected prose in 1965, the task of collecting and editing the material was assigned to Niall Sheridan, a Dublin man of letters who worked for RTÉ. […] Kavanagh gave Sheridan the Some Evocations typescript and Sheridan took all nine pieces from it. Sheridan was also lent The Forgiven Plough from which he took the opening series of aphorisms and one chapter renamed “The Parish and the Universe”. Sheridan also based the opening pages of his book on the opening pages of The Forgiven Plough; the series of aphorisms culled from the “Diaries” [in Envoy] was entitled “Sign-posts”. The overall title of the book, Collected Pruse, was Kavanagh’s choice. It was intended to mimic an affected pronunciation of “prose” and thus undermine the pretentiousness of the endeavour. / Since the prose collection made for Burns and Oates in 1951 was missing and Sheridan was unfamiliar with Kavanagh’s 1930s and 1940s journalism, he mainly relied on extracts from The Green Fool and Tarry Flynn to represent these decades, despite the fact that Tarry Flynn had already been reprinted twice in the 1960s and was widely available. He also bulked out the collection by reprinting Irish Times reports of the 1954 libel action the author took against The Leader, hardly an example of Kavanagh’s prose. Sheridan’s approach was unscholarly: he dated none of the essays, sometimes provided the wrong source or no source, and abridged essays without signalling that he was doing so. (p.20.)

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References
Donagh MacDonagh
, ed., & intro. Poems from Ireland, with a preface by R M Smylie (Dublin: The Irish Times 1944), contains some work and notes that he published short stories here and in America and has collaborated on one book of verse; at present works for a large printing firm and takes pleasure in broadcasting and Dublin conversation.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3, supplies a note in connection with Flann O’Brien (p.548).

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