J. P. Donleavy

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J. P. Donleavy
Born James Patrick Donleavy
(1926-04-23) 23 April 1926 (age 93)
New York City, United States
Ethnicity Irish American
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin
Period 1955 – present
Genre Novel, play
Notable works The Ginger Man,
A Fairy Tale of New York

James Patrick Donleavy (born 23 April 1926) is an Irish American novelist and playwright. His first novel is The Ginger Man. Another novel, A Fairy Tale of New York, provided the title of the famous song "Fairytale of New York".


Born in New York City to Irish emigrant parents and receiving his education at various schools in the United States, he served in the US Navy during World War II. After the war ended he moved to Ireland. In 1946 he began studying at Trinity College, Dublin, but left in 1949 before taking a degree. He was first published in the Dublin literary periodical, Envoy. He gained critical acclaim with his first novel, The Ginger Man, which is one of the Modern Library 100 best novels.[1] The novel was banned in Ireland and the United States by reason of obscenity. Lead character Sebastian Dangerfield was in part based on Trinity College companion Gainor Crist, an American Navy veteran also studying at Trinity College on the G. I. Bill, whom Donleavy once described in an interview as a 'saint,' though of a Rabelaisian kind[2] Correctly or incorrectly, his initial works are sometimes grouped with the Kitchen Sink artists as well as the "Angry Young Men".[3]

Donleavy lives at Levington Park, a country house on 200 acres (0.81 km2) directly on Lough Owel, near Mullingar, County Westmeath.[4]

Donleavy declared himself an atheist at the age of 14.[5][not in citation given] He married Valerie Heron in 1946; the couple had two children: Philip (born 1951) and Karen (born 1955). They divorced in 1969. He remarried in 1970 to Mary Wilson Price; that union ended in divorce in 1989.[4]

List of works

  • The Ginger Man (novel) Olympia Press, Paris 1955
  • What They Did in Dublin, with The Ginger Man (a play) MacGibbon & Kee, London 1961
  • The Ginger Man (play) Random House, New York 1961
  • Fairy Tales of New York (play), Penguin, UK 1961 Random House, New York 1961
  • A Singular Man Atlantic-Little, Brown, Boston 1963
  • Meet My Maker the Mad Molecule (stories/sketches) Atlantic-Little, Brown, Boston 1964
  • A Singular Man (play) The Bodley Head, UK 1965
  • The Saddest Summer of Samuel S (novella) Delacorte Press, New York 1966
  • The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1968
  • The Onion Eaters (novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1971
  • The Plays of JP Donleavy Delacorte Press, New York 1972
  • A Fairy Tale of New York (novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1973
  • J.P. Donleavy: The Plays Penguin, UK 1974
  • The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival & Manners (non-fiction) Delacorte Press, New York 1975
  • The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman. Atlantic Monthly Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-87113-289-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (novel) Franklin Library, Franklin Center, Pennsylvania 1977
  • Schultz (novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1979
  • Leila. Atlantic Monthly Press. 1994. ISBN 978-0-87113-288-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (novel) Franklin Library, Franklin Center, Pennsylvania 1983
  • De Alfonce Tennis... (novel) Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1984
  • J. P. Donleavy's Ireland... (non-fiction) Viking, New York, 1986 (Michael Joseph, London 1986)
  • Are You Listening Rabbi Löw (novel), Viking, London 1987
  • A Singular Country (nonfiction) Ryan, Peterborough, UK 1989
  • That Darcy, That Dancer, That Gentleman (novel) Viking, London 1990
  • The History of the Ginger Man (nonfiction) Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1994|Viking, London 1994
  • The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms. Macmillan. 1998. ISBN 978-0-312-18734-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (novella) Thornwillow Press, US 1995
  • An Author and His Image (collected short pieces – nonfiction) Viking, London 1997
  • Wrong Information is Being Given Out at Princeton (novel) Thomas Dunn-St. Martins Press, New York (Viking, London) 1998


  1. Gussow, Mel (28 June 2000). "The Classic With a Pornographic Pedigree". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. An Interview with J. P. Donleavy' Journal of Irish Literature January 1978
  3. Campbell, James (26 June 2004). "The spice of life". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "The spice of life, by James Campbell". The Guardian. London. 26 June 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Series 7 Programme 2". The Meaning of Life, broadcast on RTÉ One, 13 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links