THE UNFORTUNATE FURSEY
by Mervyn Wall
Introduction by Michael Dirda
Printings: March 2015 (350)
Cover image by Jesse Campbell-Brown
Style: Dust jacketed hardback
Length: xviii + 251 pages
Out of Print
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"In Ireland anything may happen to anyone anywhere and at any time, and it usually does." - Abbot Marcus
The forces of evil have launched a determined offensive on the sanctified precincts of Clonmacnoise, and gain a bridgehead in the cell of Brother Fursey. But the hapless monk is so tongue-tied with fright that he cannot utter the necessary words of exorcism. When the other monks discover this, poor Fursey is expelled, and sets forth on the first stage of his travels accompanied by a fantastic procession of cacodemons, hippogriffs, imps, furies, and other dreadful creatures, not to mention the elegant gentleman in black who is their commander-in-chief. Reviewed in the Irish Times as "wildly fantastic, intensely satirical, and wickedly comic" and described by critic E.F. Bleiler as a "landmark book in the history of fantasy", Mervyn Wall's The Unfortunate Fursey remains a classic of modern Irish literature.
Mervyn Wall (1908-1997) was born in Dublin. He was educated in Belvedere College; Bonn, Germany; and obtained his B.A. from the National University of Ireland in 1928. After fourteen years in the Civil Service, he joined Radio Eireann as Programme Officer. In 1957 he became Secretary of the Arts Council of Ireland, retiring in 1975. Known during his lifetime as a broadcaster and critic, he is best remembered for his plays and novels. His book Leaves for the Burning won Denmark’s Best European Novel award in 1952.
Michael Dirda, a longtime reviewer for The Washington Post, is the author of the 2012 Edgar Award-winning On Conan Doyle. His other books include the memoir An Open Book and several collections of essays, including Readings, Bound to Please, Book by Book, and Classics for Pleasure. In 1993 Dirda received the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism and since then has become a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and several other literary periodicals.
Other Swan River Titles by Mervyn Wall
Leaves for the Burning (2020)
A Flutter of Wings (2017)
The Unfortunate Fursey (2015)
The Return of Fursey (2015)
The Demon Angler & One Other (2013)
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