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Beautiful Strangers

Ireland and the World of the 1950s

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Gerald Dawe, Darryl Jones and Nora Pelizzari

This groundbreaking collection examines popular and literary culture in the 1950s through the lens of postwar Ireland. The 1950s are at once a site of cultural nostalgia and of vital relevance to twenty-first-century readers. The diverse essays collected here offer insight into the artistic effects of austerity on both creators and consumers of 1950s culture, examining cultural production in Britain and the United States as well as Ireland. The first book of its kind, it blends critical analysis with cultural memory of a unique time in the history of Irish literature and the broader world. From Samuel Beckett to Elvis Presley and Movement poetry to bestselling science fiction, this volume highlights the crucial role Ireland played in the growth of literary and popular culture throughout this fascinating decade and beyond.

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Eoin O’Brien The Baggotonian Movement: Nevill Johnson (1911-1999)

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Eoin O’Brien The Baggotonian Movement: Nevill Johnson (1911–1999) To the memory of six shades of Baggotonia who so enriched my life and that of many others: Con Leventhal, Niall Sheridan, Denis Johnston, Micheál MacLiammóir, Samuel Beckett and Nevill Johnson. I This essay explores not only Nevill Johnson’s artistic impact on the 1950s in Dublin, but also the decadent milieu into which he plunged as he f led the constraints of Protestant Belfast for Catholic Dublin under the ruth- lessly ef ficient moral dictatorship of the Reverend John Charles McQuaid and Eamon De Valera. My exposure to Baggotonia during my early years inf luenced how I was to view life, but of greater import is the friendship I established with so many of the figures who were then just ‘characters’ in a Bohemian oasis but who are now viewed as figures of cultural significance in the pantheon of achievement. I was born in the heart of Baggotonia, in a nursing home in Pembroke Street and taken then for baptism to St. Marys’ Church in Haddington Road, which kept an episcopal watch over the area in more ways than some of its inhabitants would have wanted, but the majority were duly subservient to the dictates of the Bishop of Nara. My childhood during the war years were spent in Fitzwilliam Street Upper, a main tributary of Baggotonia, where my memories are of two parks – St. Stephen’s Green and the private park of Fitzwilliam. Here we were wheeled by nannies...

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