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In Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know, award-winning author Colm Tóibín (The Master, Brooklyn) profiles the fathers of three great Irish writers— Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce—as a lens through which to view his country’s literary tradition. “Three compelling portraits...a short but entertaining, thoroughly engaging study on the agony of filial influence.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
From Colm T ib n, the formidable award-winning author of The Master and Brooklyn, an illuminating, intimate study of Irish culture, history, and literature told through the lives and work of three men--William Wilde, John Butler Yeats, and John Stanislaus Joyce--and the complicated, influential relationships they had with their complicated sons.Colm T ib n begins his incisive, revelatory Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know with a walk through the Dublin streets where he went to university--a wide-eyed boy from the country--and where three Irish literary giants also came of age. Oscar Wilde, writing about his relationship with his father, William Wilde, stated: "Whenever there is hatred between two people there is bond or brotherhood of some kind...you loathed each other not because you were so different but because you were so alike." W.B. Yeats wrote of his father, John Butler Yeats, a painter: "It is this infirmity of will which has prevented him from finishing his pictures. The qualities I think necessary to success in art or life seemed to him egotism." John Stanislaus Joyce, James's father, was perhaps the most quintessentially Irish, widely loved, garrulous, a singer, and drinker with a volatile temper, who drove his son from Ireland. Elegant, profound, and riveting, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know illuminates not only the complex relationships between three of the greatest writers in the English language and their fathers, but also illustrates the surprising ways these men surface in their work. Through these stories of fathers and sons, T ib n recounts the resistance to English cultural domination, the birth of modern Irish cultural identity, and the extraordinary contributions of these complex and masterful authors.