Anthony West

CriticismCommentary

Life
1910-1988; b. Cathcor Muir, Co. Down; raised in Cavan, various jobs travelling round America, 1930-38; RAF navigator in World War II; ‘Myself and Some Ducks’, his earliest piece published in The Bell in 1945 under pseudonym Michael McGrian censored by printers; novels include The Ferret Fancier (1963); As Towns with Fire (1968); many others, topic usually RAF wartime experience; became member of Aosdana in 1981; settled in London; father of 12 children (acc. cover notice of Ferret). DIW DIL [FDA] OCIL

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Works
Short Stories
, River’s End and Other Stories (NY: McDowell, Oblonksy 1958).

Novels, The Native Moment (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1961); Rebel to Judgement (NY 1962) The Ferret Fancier (NY: Simon & Schuster 1963; Dublin 1983); As Towns with Fire (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1968), Do., rep. (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985), 573pp.; All the King’s Horses (Swords 1981), and other works.

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Criticism
John Cronin, ‘Prose’, in Michael Longley, ed., Causeway: The Arts in Ulster (1971), pp.72-94, espec. pp.73-74; see also J. W. Foster, Forces and Themes in Ulster Fiction (1974).

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References
The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing
, gen. ed., Seamus Deane (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3, notes only theme of growth in adversity [J. W. Foster, ed.], 940.

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Quotations
‘Time and a windless noon, the leaves on the trees limp in the heavy sun and the time he had first learned to appreciate a tree - a thing bone-bare and then clad in a cloud of feathers.’ (The Ferret Fancier, 1983, p.1)

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Notes
As Towns With Fire
(1968), Christopher MacMannan is an Irishman in England in the late 1930s waiting with the rest of the world for the coming conflagration; reviewing his past life and reflecting on ‘everything’s awful wisdom’, drifts from woman to woman, meeting and marrying Moly Chester; ... with the crazy logic of war he finds himself (at heart a pacifist), helping to obliterate German towns as a member of the RAF Pathfinder unit; describes fear filled childhood in bigoted Ireland; Londoners life during blitz, and self-absorbed world of airmen [on] night-raids. Cover picture is David McKittrick oil painting [unnamed].

Not to be confused with Anthony West, the son of Rebecca West and H. G. Wells. [Not in Ormsby, Northern Windows]

West found in At Swim-Two-Birds ‘long passages in imitation of Joycean parody as devastatingly dull.’ (See ‘Inspired Nonsense’ [review] reprinted in Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O! Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds, Dublin: Wolfhound 1985, p.55.)

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