Imatge de l'autor

George A. Birmingham (1865–1950)

Autor/a de Spanish Gold

80+ obres 302 Membres 5 Ressenyes 1 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Obres de George A. Birmingham

Spanish Gold (1908) 30 exemplars
The Hymn Tune Mystery (1931) 14 exemplars
The Simpkins Plot (2008) 12 exemplars
The red hand of Ulster (1912) 12 exemplars
The Search Party (1909) 12 exemplars
The Inviolable Sanctuary (1910) 11 exemplars
The Island Mystery (1918) 10 exemplars
Wild Justice (1935) 9 exemplars
General John Regan (1913) 8 exemplars
Lalage's lovers (1923) 8 exemplars
The northern iron (1907) 8 exemplars
The lighter side of Irish life (1911) 7 exemplars
Irish Short Stories 7 exemplars
Hyacinth (1906) 7 exemplars
Gossamer (1915) 7 exemplars
A Padre in France (2008) 7 exemplars
Our Casualty and Other Stories (1970) 6 exemplars
The Adventures of Dr. Whitty (1913) 6 exemplars
The bad times, (1918) 5 exemplars
Lady Bountiful (2010) 5 exemplars
King Tommy (1923) 5 exemplars
Up the Rebels (1919) 4 exemplars
Irishmen all (1913) 4 exemplars
The runaways (1928) 3 exemplars
Famous Murders (1929) 3 exemplars
The Smuggler's Cave (2014) 3 exemplars
A Sea Battle (1948) 3 exemplars
The seething pot, (1905) 3 exemplars
Elizabeth and the Archdeacon (1932) 2 exemplars
Send for Dr O'Grady (1923) 2 exemplars
Laura's Bishop (1949) 2 exemplars
An Irishman Looks at His World (1919) 2 exemplars
The Grand Duchess (1924) 2 exemplars
Fed Up (1931) 2 exemplars
Jeremiah The Prophet (1956) 2 exemplars
Inisheeny (1920) 2 exemplars
A Wayfarer in Hungary (1930) 2 exemplars
The lady of the abbey, (1926) 2 exemplars
Benedict Kavanagh (1907) 2 exemplars
Daphne's fishing (1940) 2 exemplars
The Major's Niece 2 exemplars
The Piccadilly Lady (1946) 2 exemplars
Fidgets (1927) 2 exemplars
Bindon Parva (1926) 2 exemplars
Found Money 2 exemplars
Appeasement (1939) 1 exemplars
Good Intentions (1945) 1 exemplars
Connaught to Chicago (1914) 1 exemplars
Doctor Whitty 1 exemplars
Now You Tell Me One 1 exemplars
The Gun-Runners 1 exemplars
The Lost Lawyer (1921) 1 exemplars
Do You Know Your Bible? (1958) 1 exemplars
Isaiah 1 exemplars
Angel's Adventure 1 exemplars
Two scamps (1950) 1 exemplars
Poor Sir Edward (1944) 1 exemplars
The Lost Tribes (1914) 1 exemplars
Golden Apple (1947) 1 exemplars
Lieutenant Commander (1944) 1 exemplars
Over the Border (1942) 1 exemplars
Magilligan Strand, etc (1938) 1 exemplars
Good Conduct (1920) 1 exemplars
The Simpkins plot 1 exemplars

Obres associades

Great Irish Detective Stories (1993) — Col·laborador — 89 exemplars
The Legacy of England (1935) — Autor — 6 exemplars
My Funniest Story (1933) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars


Coneixement comú



Farce, but not bad if you like some silliness. 1920s Europe has a small country in need of a king, and one British official has decided that his nephew, Lord Norhey, would fit the bill. The catch is, he has to marry the princess, and he's already engaged. Throw in a "missing" curate on holiday in Berlin, a determined middle-aged spinster who is going to single-handedly accomplish world peace if the bureaucrats will only give her a passport, and an ex-king who is now head waiter at a night club, and see how stories converge. Very laughable sometimes. Shades of P.G. Wodehouse.… (més)
Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
Light humorous fiction about a crime in a cathedral. While a murder occurs, it's not a murder mystery in the Golden Age detection style. The small cathedral city of Carminster has a charming old dean who likes to translate medieval Latin lyrics, the dean's daughter who is uncomfortable with the word "kiss" (though she runs the committee on purity), the archdeacon who manages the affairs of the cathedral, and a young Irish precentor who manages the boys' choir. Jewels were stolen five years ago and now the organist (who drank too much) has been found dead in the organ loft. Recommended for those who enjoy light English fiction of the '20s and '30s.… (més)
NinieB | May 3, 2020 |
This is a book aimed at testing the general knowledge of school children from the ages of seven years upwards. It was published in 1927 and as you may expect contains a great may references to current affairs at the time, which could easily be skipped if testing later generations, although may questions are still relevant even today.
The test papers are split into age groups; and, there are specific papers on:

-General knowledge
-Nursery Rhymes
-The Bible
-Games and Sport
-Fairy Stories
-Natural History
-Puzzles, Riddles, Proverbs and Tongue twisters.

My wife and I had a great deal of amusement testing ourselves, even though we were both born forty years after the book was first published! We have not yet tried it on our own children, although it would be interesting to see the results.

However, it must be mentioned that some of the questions could have been phrased slightly better; and, to add to the frustration, some questions ignored other correct answers except that which the author was expecting. Not to mention a few answers that were technically wrong or based on hearsay.

Overall a good brain teaser worth plucking off of the bookshelf once in a while just to keep yourself on your toes if you can still find a copy.
… (més)
Sylak | Mar 28, 2013 |
Hyacinth was George A. Birmingham’s second novel and was, like The Seething pot before it, used by his detractors in the Gaelic League to accuse him of being a Protestant bigot who was slandering the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The part of the book used to support this accusation was his depiction of how a Convent run textiles factory, using grants from the “Congested Districts Board” and paying its employees very low wages, undercut a Protestant competitor and put him out of business. According to Birmingham he had not had a particular enterprise in mind when he wrote the book, but given there was only one such enterprise in Ireland at the time, The Providence Woollen Mill at Foxford, run by the Sisters of Charity, he was accused of criticising the good work of the sisters.

This all happened in 1906 when the book was published. Unfortunately for Birmingham, whose real name was the Rev. James Owen Hannay, Church of Ireland Curate in Westport, County Mayo, the publication of Hyacinth and the subsequent furore, coincided with his real identity being made public as a result of the on-going debacle over his inferred slurs on the character of a Catholic Priest in The Seething Pot. As a result of the continued bickering and, not to put too fine a point on it, discrimination, Hannay resigned his position on the ruling body of the Gaelic League where he had been Douglas Hyde’s right-hand-man.

Getting back to Hyacinth itself, the book tells the story of the son of a Church of Ireland vicar from the west of Ireland. His father’s parish is in a small fishing village where the Protestant congregation dwindles to nothing. Hyacinth, the boy, grows up with Irish as his first language and his friends and companions are all Catholic; his pursuits those of any child and young man in a fishing village.

Growing up in a remote part of Ireland means our protagonist seldom experiences the company of other Irish Protestants and as a result, when, thanks to his father’s home tuition, he goes to Trinity in Dublin to study in the School of Divinity, he is astounded to find most of his colleagues are English speaking and care more about union with England than the future of Ireland. Being more inclined towards Irish nationalism and having distaste for England, Hyacinth finds few friends amongst the student body and takes to roaming the streets of Dublin. In his rovings he discovers Irish speakers and ends up befriended by a group of people promoting Irish freedom.

It is hard to read this novel and not see the protagonist’s struggle of conscience as being autobiographical as the author was himself an Irish Protestant with strong nationalist beliefs. Being from Belfast he was from a community where loyalty to England was the strongest in the country and it can only be surmised that Hannay’s nationalism was even more difficult for him than that of Hyacinth.

Hyacinth struggles with following a path of possible violence based on hatred of England, or a path of gentle domesticity based on love of God with the likelihood of a life of poverty and frustration; the latter is prompted by his falling in love with the daughter of the local Protestant Minister.

Again we have echoes of Hannay’s own life. He married the daughter of a Minister and was poor for many years until his novels made sufficient money to facilitate a somewhat comfortable existence. In fact it was his modest means that prompted his novel writing as he wished to raise money for his children’s education.

Hannay was not only a novelist but wrote many works of theological importance and his work on Irish monasticism was one of the earliest studies of the subject and was highly regarded. Everything I have read to date indicates Hannay had a strong belief in Christian values and, one would assume, an abhorrence of violence. The conflict in Hyacinth makes me wonder if Hannay himself considered a stronger approach to gaining Irish independence but opted for the gospel of love as opposed to the gospel of hate, as Hyacinth’s future father-in-law put it.

Women in Birmingham’s books tend to be either strong, independently minded souls, such as Augusta Goold (presumed to be based on Maud Gonne) who took to organising Irish volunteers to fight against the British in the Boer War, or meek, mild beings, full of heavenly love, whose only desire is to marry a good man, have children, and be happy with a life of “womanly servitude”.

While Birmingham is a frequent user of satire, I suspect his personal attitude to women could be glimpsed in his descriptions of wives subservient to her husband in everything and trusting in the husband’s benign authority. All indications are that he and his wife had a very close and supportive partnership, but there are indications that his desires took precedence eventually.

In my readings of Birmingham novels I am watching out for hints to the nature of society and attitudes prevailing at the time. In relation to women, Birmingham makes a big issue of how shocking some people consider the idea of women smoking. His strong female characters smoke and make a great show of it as a protest against the norm. The girl his Hyacinth marries, however, is of the non-smoking variety.

A key feature of Birmingham’s novels is his humour. This humour is predominantly satirical and Hyacinth provides plenty of examples.

“Mr. Clifford was an Englishman who had been imported to assist in governing Ireland because he was married to the sister of the Chief Secretary’s wife. He was otherwise qualified for the task by possessing a fair knowledge of the points of a horse. He believed that he knew Ireland and the Irish people thoroughly.”

Birmingham is great at making political statements in his novels and at one point in Hyacinth he states that there are only two significant political parties in Ireland; the landowning Protestant unionists and the Catholic Church, which, he points out, is ironically closer to the English government than the unionists. He does not shy away from describing how the English government sees the Catholic Church as the means of controlling the bulk of the Irish population and of preventing the violent elements in the Irish Catholic population from gaining popular support in the short term.

The novel contains a description of Masonic nepotism in relation to the appointment of a man to the position of station-master at Clogher.

“Now, far to the east of Clogher, on a different branch of the railway-line, is a town with which the people of Mayo have no connection whatever. In it is a very flourishing Masonic lodge. Almost every male Protestant in the town and the neighbourhood belongs to it, and the Rector of the parish is its chaplain. Among its members at that time was an intelligent young man who occupied the position of goods clerk on the railway. The Masonic brethren, as in duty bound, used their influence to secure his promotion, and brought considerable pressure to bear on the directors of the company to have him made station-master at clogher.”

Birmingham goes on to make a general comment about the selection of people for posts in Ireland.

“It is said with some appearance of truth that no appointment in Ireland is ever made on account of the fitness of the candidate for the post to be filled. Whether the Lord Lieutenant has to nominate a Local Government Board Inspector, or an Urban Council has to select a street scavenger, the principle acted on is the same. No investigation is made about the ability or character of a candidate. Questions may be asked about his political opinions, his religious creed, and sometimes about the social position of his wife, but no one cares in the least about his ability.”

In Hyacinth we see a number of characters from The Seething Plot making cameo appearances. The main protagonist of the earlier novel, Sir Gerald Geoghegan, another Irish Protestant Nationalist, reluctantly attends an event at the Robeen Convent when they are showcasing the work of their factory for visiting dignitaries. Fr. Fahey of Clogher, the character at the centre of the perceived slurs, is also featured.

Hyacinth was an enjoyable read and supports my decision to continue in my efforts to read the sixty-three George A. Birmingham novels in order of publication.
… (més)
pgmcc | Jan 29, 2012 |

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