Alan Titley

References

Life
1947- ; b. Cork; ed. Coláiste Críost Rí, Cork City, St. Patrick’s College TTC, Drumcondra; taught in Nigeria [West Africa] during the Biafran War; taught deaf children in Dublin while studying for a degree at UCD: appt. lecturer in Irish at St Patrick’s, Drumcondra, 1974, and appt. head of Irish Dept., 1981; appt. Professor of Modern Irish at University College Cork, 2006; contrib. reports on Irish culture to Eire-Ireland, 1982-83; received Irish-American Cultural Institute Award, 1988; author of An tÚrscéal Gaeilge (1991), and a novel, An Fear Dána (1993); edited the Irish side of Books Ireland; his Leabhar Nóra Ni Anluain (1998) celebrates the Gaelic of a grandmother;

issued a play, An Ghráin agus an Ghruaim [The Hate and the Horrors] (1999), winner of Stewart Parker Award (BBC); followed by Tagann Godot, dir. by Tom´s Mac Anna in the Peacock Theatre [Abbey], 1990 [var. 2002] - a sequel to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot; broadcast Scéal na Gaeilge [The Story of Irish’], a 2-part film (TG4, 2012); also wrote documentaries on Liam O’Flaherty, Máirtín Ó Direáin and Máirtín Ó Cadhain; contribs. Irish-language column on contemporary affairs to The Irish Times, from 2003; his selected essays in English gathered as Nailing Theses (2011); elected MRIA, 2012; Titley gave the first Robert A. Welch Memorial Lecture at the University of Ulster in 2014. FDA OCIL

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Works
Fiction
  • Méirscrí na Treibhe [Tribal Scars] (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar 1978) [set in Africa];
  • Stiall Fhial Feola (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar 1980);
  • Eiriceachtaí agus Scéalta Eile (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar 1987).
  • trans., Fourfront: Short Stories from the Irish (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1998), 146pp.
  • Parabolas: stories & fables (Lagan Press 2005), 158pp.
  • Gluaiseacht [Moving] (Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm 2009), 134pp. [set in Africa].
Biography
  • An Fear Dána (An Clóchomhar 1993), 142pp. [based on life of Muireadhach Albanach Ó Dálaigh].
Drama
  • Na drámaí garbha [The Rough Plays] (Indreabhán, Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnacht 2011), 270pp. [incls. ‘An Ghráin agus an Ghruaim’].
Criticism
  • An tÚrscéal Gaeilge [Irish Short Story] (Dublin: An Clóchomhar Tta. 1991), 631pp., with index;
  • Chun Doirne: Rogha Aistí [Fisticuffs: Selected Essays] (Belfast: Lagan Press 1996);
  • Leabhar Nóra Ní Anluain (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1998), rep. in Céad Scéal ó Cheartlár na Cruinne (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1999), 276pp.;
  • Nailing Theses: Selected Essays (Belfast: Lagan Press 2011), 453pp. [see details].
Bibliography
  • Máirtin Ó Cadhain: Clár Soathair (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar 1975);
Miscellaneous
  • ‘The city of words’, in James Kelly & Uáitéar Mac Gearailt, ed., Dublin and Dubliners: Essays in the History and Literature of Dublin City [Helicon History of Ireland] Dublin: Helicon 1990),
  • contrib. to Dermot Bolger, ed., Letters from the New Island, 16 on 16: Irish Writers on the Easter Rising (Dublin: Raven Arts Press 1988), pp.26-27; A Pocket History of Gaelic Culture (O’Brien Press [2000]).


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Nailing Theses: Selected Essays (Belfast: Lagan Press 2011), 453pp. + Index [18]pp. CONTENTS: Introduction; The Dregs of the Pot of Gold: The Irish Experience of Exchanging Dignity for Racism; The Lava of Imagination and the Secret History of Words; The English, Respectability and Football: Gaelic Games Before the Founding of the GAA; ‘Craz’d in Her Intellectuals’: The Case of Goody Glover, the Irish-speaking Witch; The Queer Mind and Sean O’Faolain; The Reshaping of Tradition: The Case of Frank O’Connor; The Wordsmithiness of Austin Clarke; The Irish Language and Synge; Gnawing on the Same Old Bone: How Ireland Has Not Changed At All; The Return of the Native; the Plebs and Parnell; The Quick and the Croaked: Aspect of Irish-Gaelic Tradition Between Two Worlds; The Summons of The Midnight Court; Literacy and the Irish Book; The Prose of the Twentieth Century; The Expectations of Irish Literature; The Turning Inside and Out: Translating and Irish 1950-2000; ‘Neither the Boghole Nor Berlin’: Drama in the Irish Language from Then until Now; The Writer and Agitator that Was Mairtin O Cadhain; The Novel in Irish; The New Poetry in Irish: Innti and Out; The City of Words; The Disease of the Irish Short Story; ‘The Rough Rug-Headed Kerns’: The Gunman in the Popular Novel; ‘The Ravelling of Narratives’: Irish and Scottish Life Stories Compared; The Russians and Us; The World, Wittgenstein and Ireland; Index.

[Note: Excerpts from this work and quotations given in it have been copied at various points on this website - e.g., Frank O’Connor, (q.v.),]

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Criticism
Seán Ó Tuama, ‘An Domhan a chruthaigh Titley’, in Comhar (Nollaig 1987); also, Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, review of An Fear Dána (1993) in Fortnight (July-Aug 1994), ‘Summer Books’ sect.

See also Brian Ó Concubhair, ed., Why Irish? Irish Landugage and Literature in Academia (Arlen House 2008), which incls. sect. on the novels of Alan Titley.

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Commentary
Máire Mhac an tSaoi, review of Méirscrí na Treibhe, in Comhar (Meitheamh 1978); ‘Rug-headed Kerns, The Irish Gunman in the Popular Novel’, in Eire-Ireland (Geimhreadh 1980), pp.15-38.

Éamon Ó Cíosáin, Buried Alive: A Reply to The Death of the Irish Language [Hindley] (Dáil Uí Chadain 1991), pamphlet, observes that in a Books Ireland review Titley judges the assumptions about the oppression-free abandonment of Irish by its speakers to be a simplification, given the different social status of the two languages (p.12), but further cites Titley with Ó Drisceoil as claiming that Hindley’s methodology is impeccable. (p.14).

Kevin Barry, review of The Dirty Dust [translation of Cré na Cille by Máirtín Ó Cadhain], in The Guardian (15 April 2015): ‘[...] Titley’s introduction provides context superbly and is notably feisty. He rages against the stage-Irishness of many translations that “make Irish speakers sound like peasants and idiots and simpletons”. He sounds instead a very fresh note – the talk in The Dirty Dust sounds like the talk of an Irish town now, and it is gloriously profane. Terms like “bonking”, “fuck me pink”, “scum bucket”, “slag bag”, “piss flaps” and “cunty gash” may not quite have been on the lips of Irish-speakers in Connemara in the 1940s but Titley’s rendition feels right, and that’s the best you can say of any translation. / So if you do find yourself some lost midnight in a graveyard in the west of Ireland, under a browsing moon, and if you think that beneath the breath of the wind you perceive voices, I believe they will sound very much like the voices in this book.’ (See full-text version in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index, or as attached.)

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Quotations
1916: ‘Our own 1916 has given us a creation story as good as any we were ever likely to get and has shown us men and women more worthy of respect as revolutionaries, poets, social philosophers, and educationalists than all the other loony tools of the running bow-wows of boorjoie adhocracy of then and now. They have given us the Good of Knowledge of Ourselves, and what else is there? [...] Pearse and Connolly and the boys tell me it is better to light your own candle than curse the eternal darkness that another World War would bring.’ (Dermot Bolger, ed., Letters from the New Island, 16 on 16: Irish Writers on the Easter Rising, 1988, p.27)

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3, p.816, ‘An Síscéal de Réir Eoin’, from Eiriceachtaí agus Scéala Eile, translated by author as ‘The Gobspiel According to John’, in Translation, Journal of Literary Translation, Vol. XX (Fall 1989) [870-80]; BIOG, 933-4 [as supra].

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COPAC lists at Jan. 2015 ...
 
  • Máirtín Ó Cadhain: clár saothair, curtha in eagar ag Alan Titley [Leabhair thaighde, 24] (An Charraig Dubh: An Clóchomhar Tta 1975), 3-99pp., leaf of pl.; 1 facsim., 1 port.; [Bibliography];
  • Méirscrí na treibhe (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar Tta 1978), [4], 287pp. [23 cm.] Irish fiction.;
  • Stiall fhial feola (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar 1980), 137pp. [23 cm.] Irish fiction.;
  • “Language report, 1982: one hundred years a-going”, in Éire - Ireland, 17 (1982), pp.127-33;
  • “Language report: valid dictions and thanks”, in Éire-Ireland, 18 (1983), pp.127-34.;
  • Eiriceachtaí: agus scéalta eile (Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar 1987), 206pp.; 23 cm.;
  • An t-Ursceal Gaeilge [Leabhair thaighde; 67u himleabhar; Chead chlo] (Baile Atha Cliath: Clochomhar 1991), 631pp. [23 cm.], bibl. refs., pp.589-612; index.;
  • An fear dána (Baile Átha Cliath: Clóchomhar [1993]), 142pp. [bibl. refs., pp.141-42];
  • An cogadh in aghaidh na critice: an teannas idir litríocht agus teoiri. ([Belfast]: Fortnight Educational Trust 1994), 19pp. [25cm.];
  • Fabhalscéalta [Guth an ealaíontóra; Imleabhar a 10] (Indreabhán, Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1995), 71pp. [18 cm.];
  • Chun doirne: rogha aistí (Belfast: Lagan Press 1996), xv, 203pp.; incs. bibl. refs. and Irish excerpts. CONTENTS: An cogadh in aghaidh na critice; Clocha saoirsinne agus bláithíní an tsléibhe; Litríocht na Gaeilge, litríocht an Bhéarla, agus Irish literature; An scríbhneoir agus an stát; Máirtín Ó Cadhain agus foirm an ghearrscéil; Caiscín an Chadhnaigh; Iain Mac a’Ghobhainn, scríbhneoir; An breithiúnas ar Cúirt an mheán-oíche;
  • Giolla na namhrán: dánta nua agus rogha dánta 1988-1998, Gabriel Fitzmaurice; réamhrá le Alan Titley (Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim 1998), 47pp.;
  • Leabhar Nóra Ní Anluain: céad scéal ó cheartlár na cruinne (Indreabhán, Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta [1998]), 276pp., ill. ;
  • A pocket history of Gaelic culture [O’Brien pocket series] (Dublin: O’Brien Press 2000), 109pp.: ill. [maps, 18 cm.];
  • “Beir lear do shár-Ghaeilge!”: súil siar agus ar aghaidh [Aimsir óg paimfléad 1649-3079 Ser.; 3 (Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim 2004), vi, 44pp. [25 cm.]ar gheall ar litríocht na Gaeilge. Scríbhneoirí faoi chaibidil ab ainm don chlár agus ba é Cathal Póirtéir a léirigh agus bhí mé féin [Alan Titley] á chur i láthair’ (p.3).];
  • Scríbhneoirí faoi chaibidil (Radio Programme [2006]), 134pp. [22 cm.; ‘Sa bhliain 2006 shocraigh RTÉ ar shraith de chláir raidió a chraoladh mar gheall ar litríocht na Gaeilge. Scríbhneoirí faoi chaibidil ab ainm don chlár agus ba é Cathal Póirtéir a léirigh agus bhí mé féin [Alan Titley] á chur i láthair’(p.3). CONTENTS: Máirtín Ó Cadhain / aíonna Eoghan Ó hAnluain agus Liam Mac Cóil; Cathal Ó Searcaigh / aíonna Pádraig de Paor agus Frank Sewell; An aisling / aoi Breandán Ó Buachalla; Pádraig Mac Piarais / aíonna Cathal Ó Háinle agus Regina Uí Chollatáin; Seán Ó Tuama / aíonna Pádraigín Riggs agus Siobhán Ní Fhoghlú; Micheál Ó Conghaile / aíonna Máire Ní Neachtain agus Pádraic Breathnach; Máiréad Ní Ghráda / aíonna Ursula Ní Dhálaigh agus Éamon Ó Ciosáin; Máirtín Ó Direáin / aíonna Eoghan Ó hAnluain agus Máire Ní Annracháin; An Fhiannaíocht / aíonna Ruairí Ó hUiginn agus Dáithí Ó hÓgáin; Peadar Ó Doirnín / aíonna Seosamh Watson agus Lillis Ó Laoire; Séan Ó Ríordáin / aíonna Seán Ó Coileáin agus Louis de Paor; Myles na gCopaleen / aíonna Breandán Ó Conaire agus Louis de Paor. Incls. bibl. refs. Summary: This title contains contributions on the literary giants of the Irish language, past and present. The editor draws on the wisdom and observations of the various contributors and presents an overview of the work of some of Irelands most gifted writers.;
  • Voilà Godot!: tragédie comique en deux actes, traducteur: Láns Ó Baoill [orig. Tagann Godot, 1991] (Baile Átha Cliath: ForSai Publications 2006), 54pp.;
  • An réabhlóid mar ghníomh dínite [Macallaí na Cásca; 6] (Baile Átha Cliath; Béal Feirste: Coiscéim [2008]), 48pp.;
  • Gluaiseacht (Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm 2009), 134pp.: ill. [Youth - Africa - Fiction; emigration and immigration ; Fiction].;
  • Na drámaí garbha [An chéad chló] (Indreabhán, Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnacht 2011), 270pp.
  • An bhailbhe i lár an bhladair: ‘léacht nollaig uí Ghadhra’ [Léachtaí an Fhóraim Díospóireachta; iml. 3] (Binn Éadair, B.Á.C.: Coiscéim 2012), vi, 22pp. [’Foilsithe ag Coiscéim thar ceann Conradh na Gaeilge agus An Fóram Díospóireachta.’];
  • Nailing theses: selected essays (Belfast: Lagan Press 2011), 453pp.;
  • The Colours of Man, by Micheál Ó Conghaile; introduction by Brian Ó Conchubhair; translated by Gabriel Rosenstock, Alan Titley, Frank Sewell and Katherine Duffy (Indreabhán, Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta 2012), 220pp. [17 stories over a 26-year period, orig. published in Irish].
  • An hobad: nó anonn agus ar ais arís / J.R.R. Tolkien a scríobh agus a mhaisigh [eagarthoir, Alan Titley]; Nicholas Williams a d’aistrigh go Gaeilge.Anonn agus ar ais arís (Cathair na Mart, Co. Mhaigh Eo: Evertype 2012), xi, 266pp.: ill. [some col., maps; 22 cm.];
  • Smuf [Foras na Gaeilge] (Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm 2012), 61pp.: ill. [20 cm.], juvenile [dogs];
  • Amach: úrscéal gairid / Aidan Harte a rinne na léaráidí (Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm 2013), 55p., ill. [b&w; 20 cm.; originally published by Foras na Gaeilge, 2003; incls. glossary. Teenagers’ Fiction];
  • Rabhadh: dánta / Poems - Selections (Binn Éadair, B.Á.C.: Coiscéim 2013), 111pp.;
  • Caoimhín Ó Cearnaigh: scéal úrnua / le Liam Ó Riain; réamhrá le Alan Titley (Binn Éadair, Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim 2014), 126pp. [Originally published by Clódhanna Teo. do Chonnradh na Gaedhilge, 1913];
  • Parabolas: stories & fables (Lagan Press 2005), 158pp.; 20 cm.

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Notes
Tribal scar[s]: Note that Michael Hartnett speaks of the ‘tribal scar’ in a pome of his 1992 collection: ‘I have survived the tribal scar, / the decorative tattoo. / What I say is what I am / and is not open to tirades from you: / trying not not [sic] to be is what I do.’ (The Killing of Dreams, 1992, quoted in Gerald Dawe, review, Irish Times, 3 Oct. 1992.)

Word-play: In his Nailing Theses: Selected Essays (2011), Titley is very prone a form of writing in which a degree of phrasal ineptitude is mixed with some whimsical word-play - viz., ‘Although Frank O’Connor was never one to shirk a good row or hide his heart up his sleeve, it appears that his wrestling with this problem of one or two Irish literatures was a genuine one’ (p.012; italics mine), or ‘hutments’ for peasant dwellings in another place where he presumably knows that no such dictionary word exists though ‘hut’ and ‘tenement’ are servicable names for the rural and urban dwellings of the Irish poor in earlier days (p.105.) This little torques in the language are so commonplace and so characteristic of the writer as to call for explanation. This appears to be a involve a kind of testimony to the existence of a kind inter-language as resulting from a bilingual context - in his case actual bilingualism - but it is also the result of the primary context of delivery of the essay as lectures with audiences who he is intent on amusing by comical inflections of thought and expression. One of the effects of this is a rather relentless reiteration of examples - Fr. John O’Reilly’s observations about the moral’ purity of the Irish mind and language contrary to the evidence of the iterature and even 17th-century confessional handbooks in Irish - and another joke which can be variously applied to the satirical target of the moment: ‘Just because X says it, it isn’t necessarily untrue’. Here X stands in for Kevin Myers in one place, or the Irish Independent in another.