The man the bourgeoisie forgot: James Clarence Mangan

Here is somebody’s well considered appraisal (forgiving the misdirected boilerplate socialism and the occasional editorial lapse – though “true and true” for through and through does reflect a certain Dublin charm) of Clarence Mangan’s place in the literary cosmos. Cheers. ~Q~

Workers' Arts League

(originally published in The Plough, reprinted with permission)

One would find it odd that a man who walked around Dublin City in the early 19th century ashen faced, dressed in a voluminous cloak, wearing green spectacles, a blond wig and a pointed hat with two umbrellas under each arm would be as inconspicuous to the public as this man is today. Eccentricity though is not what should have made James Clarence Mangan more popularly known. His poetry and essays are prepared with enough beauty and originality to break through the bourgeois face of literary Ireland but alas it isn’t so. Literary Ireland consults Britain and America before it declares which Irish poets are great. Mangan is not one of “the greats” because he was a true Dubliner. To juxtapose him with someone like James Joyce is to create a distinction between a Euro-American prose and a true Dublin prose. Joyce’s…

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