Aidan Higgins (born 3 March 1927) is an Irish writer.
His upbringing in a landed Catholic family in Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland, provided material for his first experimental novel, Langrishe, Go Down (1966). The book was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and was later adapted as a BBC television film by British playwright Harold Pinter, in association with RTĂ.
His 1972 novel, Balcony of Europe was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Various writings have been collected and reprinted by the Dalkey Archive Press, including his three volume autobiography, A Bestiary, and a collection of fiction, Flotsam and Jetsam, both of which demonstrate his wide erudition and his experience of life and travel in South Africa, Germany and London which gives his writing a largely cosmopolitan feel, utilizing a range of European languages in turns of phrase.
Primary Works by Aidan Higgins
A Bestiary. Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 2004. As I was Riding Down Duval Boulevard with Pete La Salle. Dublin: Anam Press, 2003. Balcony of Europe. London: Calder & Boyars, 1972; New York: Delacorte, 1972. Bornholm Night-Ferry. London: Allison & Busby; Ireland: Brandon Books, 1983; London: Abacus, 1985. Dog Days: A Sequel to Donkeyâs Years. London: Secker & Warburg, 1998. Donkeyâs Years: Memories of a Life as Story Told. London: Secker & Warburg, 1995. Felo de Se. London: Calder & Boyars, 1960; as Killachter Meadow, New York: Grove Press, 1961; as Asylum and Other Stories, London: Calder & Boyars, 1978; New York: Riverrun Press, 1979. Flotsam & Jetsam. London: Minerva, 1997; Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2002. Helsingor Station & Other Departures: Fictions and Autobiographies 1956-1989. London: Secker & Warburg, 1989. Images of Africa: Diary (1956-60). London: Calder & Boyars, 1971. Langrishe, Go Down. London: Calder & Boyars, 1966; New York: Grove Press, 1966; London: Paladin, 1987; Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2004; Dublin: New Island, 2007. Lions of the Grunewald. London: Secker & Warburg, 1993. Also as Weaverâs Women. London: Secker & Warburg, 1993. Ronda Gorge & Other Precipices: Travel Writings 1959-1989. London: Secker & Warburg, 1989. Scenes from a Receding Past. London: Calder, 1977; Dallas: Riverrun Press, 1977. The Whole Hog: A Sequel to Donkeyâs Years and Dog Days. London: Secker & Warburg, 2000. Windy Arbours. Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 2006.
Selected Critical work on Higgins
Book Neil Murphy (Ed.) Aidan Higgins: The Fragility of Form (Essays and Commentary). Dalkey Archive Press, 2010.
Essays and Reviews
Beja, Morris. âFelons of Our Selves: The Fiction of Aidan Higgins.â Irish University Review 3, 2 (Autumn 1973): 163-78. Buckeye, Robert. âForm as the Extension of Content: âtheir existence in my eyesâ.â Review of Contemporary Fiction 3.1 (1983): 192-195. Wall, Eamonn. âAidan Higginsâs Balcony of Europe: Stephen Dedalus Hits the Road.â Colby Quarterly Winter 1995: 81-87. Golden, Sean. âParsing Loveâs Complainte: Aidan Higgins on the Need to Name.â Review of Contemporary Fiction 3.1 (1983): 210-220. Healy, Dermot. âDonkeyâs Years: A Review,â Asylum Arts Review Vol. 1, Issue 1, (Autumn 1995): 45-6. Healy, Dermot. âTowards Bornholm Night-Ferry and Texts For the Air: A Rereading of Aidan Higgins.â Review of Contemporary Fiction 3.1 (1983): 181-192. Imhof, RĂźdiger. âBornholm Night-Ferry and Journal to Stella: Aidan Higginsâs Indebtedness to Jonathan Swift.â The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, X, 2 (December 1984), 5-13. Imhof, RĂźdiger, and JĂźrgen Kamm. âComing to Grips with Aidan Higginsâs Killachter Meadow: An Analysis.â Ătudes Irlandaises (Lillie 1984): 145-60. Imhof, RĂźdiger. "German Influences on John Banville and Aidan Higgins", in: W. Zach & H. Kosok (eds), Literary Interrelations. Ireland, England and the World, vol. II: Comparison and Impact. TĂźbingen: Narr, 1987: 335-47. Kreilkamp, Vera. âReinventing a Form: The Big House in Aidan Higginsâs Langrishe Go Down.â The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 11, 2 (1985): 27-38. Reprinted in, Kreilkamp, Vera. The Anglo-Irish Novel and the Big House. New York: Syracuse University Press, October 1998: 234-60. Lubbers, Klaus. âBalcony of Europe: The Trend towards Internationalisation in Recent Irish Fiction,â in Zach & Kosok, eds. TĂźbingen: Gunter Narr 1987: 235-47. Mahon, Derek. âAn anatomy of melancholyâ: Review of Dog Days. The Irish Times, March 7, 1998: 67. Murphy, Neil. âAidan Higgins.â The Review of Contemporary Fiction XXIII No. 3 (2003): 49-83. Murphy, Neil. âDreams, Departures, Destinations: A Reassessment of the Work of Aidan Higgins.â Graph: A Journal of Literature & Ideas 1 (1995): 64-71. Murphy, Neil. âAidan Higgins - The Fragility of Formâ in Irish Fiction and Postmodern Doubt: An Analysis of the Epistemological Crisis in Modern Irish Fiction. NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2004: 37-101. Murphy, Neil. âReview of Lions of the Grunewald.â Irish University Review 25.1 Spring/Summer 1995: 188-190. OâBrien, George. âGoodbye to All That,â The Irish Review 7 (Autumn 1989): 89-92. OâBrien, George. âConsumed by Memoriesâ: Review of Donkeyâs Years. The Irish Times 10 June 1995: W9. OâBrien, George. âOn the Pigâs Backâ: Review of The Whole Hog (2000), in The Irish Times 7 October 2000: 67. OâBrien, John. âScenes From A Receding Past.â Review of Contemporary Fiction 1983 (Spring): 164-166. OâNeill, Patrick. âAidan Higginsâ in RĂźdiger Imhof, ed., Contemporary Irish Novelists [Studies in English and Comparative Literature, ed. Michael Kenneally & Wolfgang Zach] TĂźbingen: Gunter Narr Verlag 1990: 93-107. Proulx, Annie. âDrift and Masteryâ: Review of Flotsam & Jetsam. The Washington Post, June 16, 2002 Sunday: T07. Rachbauer, Otto. âAidan Higgins, âKillachter Meadowâ und Langrishe, Go Down sowie Harold Pinters Fernsenfilm Langrishe, Go Down: Variationen eines Motivs,â in Siegfried Korninger, ed., A Yearbook of Studies in English and Language and Literature Vol. 3 (Vienna 1986): 135-46. Skelton, Robin. âAidan Higgins and the Total Book,â in Mosaic 19 (1976): pp. 27-37; Reprinted as Chap. 13 of Skelton, Robin. Celtic Contraries. NY: Syracuse UP, 1990: pp. 211-23.