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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 RTÉ.

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.

He now lives in Kinsale, County Cork, and is a Saoi of Aosdána.

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 Donkey’s Years. London: Secker & Warburg, 1998. Donkey’s 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 Weaver’s 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 Donkey’s 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. “Felons of Our Selves: The Fiction of Aidan Higgins.” Irish University Review 3, 2 (Autumn 1973): 163-78. Buckeye, Robert. “Form as the Extension of Content: ‘their existence in my eyes’.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 3.1 (1983): 192-195. Wall, Eamonn. “Aidan Higgins’s Balcony of Europe: Stephen Dedalus Hits the Road.” Colby Quarterly Winter 1995: 81-87. Golden, Sean. “Parsing Love’s Complainte: Aidan Higgins on the Need to Name.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 3.1 (1983): 210-220. Healy, Dermot. “Donkey’s Years: A Review,” Asylum Arts Review Vol. 1, Issue 1, (Autumn 1995): 45-6. Healy, Dermot. “Towards Bornholm Night-Ferry and Texts For the Air: A Rereading of Aidan Higgins.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 3.1 (1983): 181-192. Imhof, Rüdiger. “Bornholm Night-Ferry and Journal to Stella: Aidan Higgins’s Indebtedness to Jonathan Swift.” The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, X, 2 (December 1984), 5-13. Imhof, Rüdiger, and Jürgen Kamm. “Coming to Grips with Aidan Higgins’s Killachter Meadow: An Analysis.” Études Irlandaises (Lillie 1984): 145-60. Imhof, Rüdiger. "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. Tübingen: Narr, 1987: 335-47. Kreilkamp, Vera. “Reinventing a Form: The Big House in Aidan Higgins’s Langrishe Go Down.” 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. “Balcony of Europe: The Trend towards Internationalisation in Recent Irish Fiction,” in Zach & Kosok, eds. Tübingen: Gunter Narr 1987: 235-47. Mahon, Derek. “An anatomy of melancholy”: Review of Dog Days. The Irish Times, March 7, 1998: 67. Murphy, Neil. “Aidan Higgins.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction XXIII No. 3 (2003): 49-83. Murphy, Neil. “Dreams, Departures, Destinations: A Reassessment of the Work of Aidan Higgins.” Graph: A Journal of Literature & Ideas 1 (1995): 64-71. Murphy, Neil. “Aidan Higgins - The Fragility of Form” 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. “Review of Lions of the Grunewald.” Irish University Review 25.1 Spring/Summer 1995: 188-190. O’Brien, George. “Goodbye to All That,” The Irish Review 7 (Autumn 1989): 89-92. O’Brien, George. “Consumed by Memories”: Review of Donkey’s Years. The Irish Times 10 June 1995: W9. O’Brien, George. “On the Pig’s Back”: Review of The Whole Hog (2000), in The Irish Times 7 October 2000: 67. O’Brien, John. “Scenes From A Receding Past.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 1983 (Spring): 164-166. O’Neill, Patrick. “Aidan Higgins” in Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Contemporary Irish Novelists [Studies in English and Comparative Literature, ed. Michael Kenneally & Wolfgang Zach] Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag 1990: 93-107. Proulx, Annie. “Drift and Mastery”: Review of Flotsam & Jetsam. The Washington Post, June 16, 2002 Sunday: T07. Rachbauer, Otto. “Aidan Higgins, ‘Killachter Meadow’ und Langrishe, Go Down sowie Harold Pinters Fernsenfilm Langrishe, Go Down: Variationen eines Motivs,” in Siegfried Korninger, ed., A Yearbook of Studies in English and Language and Literature Vol. 3 (Vienna 1986): 135-46. Skelton, Robin. “Aidan Higgins and the Total Book,” in Mosaic 19 (1976): pp. 27-37; Reprinted as Chap. 13 of Skelton, Robin. Celtic Contraries. NY: Syracuse UP, 1990: pp. 211-23.

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