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Colm Tóibín

Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know
  • Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know

  • An intimate study of three of Ireland's greatest writers from one of its best-loved contemporary voices
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    'A father...is a necessary evil.' Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses

    In Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know Colm Tóibín takes three of Ireland's greatest writers - Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce - and examines their earliest influences: their fathers. With his inimitable wit and sensitivity, Tóibín introduces us to Wilde Senior, the philandering doctor whose libel case prefigured that of his son; the elder Yeats, an impoverished artist who never finished a painting; and to John Stanislaus Joyce, the hard-drinking, storytelling father of James, who couldn't feed his own family. This is an illuminating study of how each of these men cast a long shadow not only over the lives of their famous sons, but over the works for which they are celebrated and cherished.
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    'Astonishing to read. Tóibín has a hawk-like eye for literary subtleties, and a generosity towards his subjects that is warm' Sunday Times

    'Funny, exciting, illuminating, wonderful, so engaging. Tells us more than a little about our own selves along the way' Irish Times

    'There is something interesting and insightful on almost every page' Observer

    'Sparkling, subtle, witty and often deeply moving . . . A classic' Fintan O'Toole, New Statesman

    'Scintillating, imaginative, enlightening and powerfully moving throughout' Roy Foster, Spectator

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy in 1955. He is the author of nine novels including The Master, Brooklyn, The Testament of Mary and Nora Webster. His work has been shortlisted for the Booker three times, has won the Costa Novel Award and the Impac Award. His most recent novel is House of Names. He has also published two collections of stories and many works of non-fiction. He lives in Dublin.