Sunday, January 06, 2019


Click on any image for a larger version

I'll really have to stop reading incoming emails. There are just too many of them. And then there's the content. I haven't enough room left in my head to evaluate and store it all. I am definitely not up to the level of the Village Master in Goldsmith's Deserted Village:
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
Anyway the email was from Martin Ryan. You may remember him for his wonderful photo of the waitress in Donaghmede.

Well, he was drawing my attention to a publication on Flann O'Brien, the cover of which you can see above. It is a great read if you have the least interest in Brian O'Nolan.

I'm just setting out below some of the thoughts I had as I read through it.

It reproduces this plaque from Flann's birthplace. The English is fine but a rough back translation of the Irish would be along these lines:
the strange birth of something approaching a writer
And it's not as though they lacked the odd fada, and someone must have proof-read it.

There is some material on the original Bloomsday which brought to mind the above modification I made to a photo of this from another source a while back - the day that Myles was streched. Not a unique day by all accounts.

For me Myles has always been An Béal Bocht - the original MOPE in the Irish language. It was first published in 1941 but it is Colm O'Loughlin's edition from Dolmen Press in 1964 that really gives the work its due - a really beautiful production, which I am proud to possess. The cover carries the same illustration by Seán O'Sullivan as the 1941 original but it has an additional air of quality to it in 1964.

The 1964 frontespiece is a work of art (above) and you can compare it with the original (below).

But what really makes the 1964 edition is the text, well, more precisely the font. The 1942 edition text is shown above and is the standard Cló Gaelach of its day.

But the 1964 font is something else. Essentially the more modern Cló Rómhánach but short of substituting the "h" for the séimhiú and retaining some characters from the earlier font. Mind you, it takes you a few seconds to acclimatise to it, but is it not a thing of beauty.

And Seán O'Sullivan's map - a whole psycho realm. You'd be tempted to do a rework for today's Brexit but you'd be hard put to find the wit.

Before I go, and nothing to do with the publication under discussion here, you might like to peruse this account by O'Brien on some Disturbances in Howth.

I'll finish with this sketch of Myles by Seán O'Sullivan.

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