Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957)
From Literary Anecdotes About 20th Century Authors

A GOOD novelist should always be reminded of something artistic. George Moore, when he and I were crossing the railway viaduct at Donabate, was reminded by the sunset of Nathaniel Hone, the landscape painter who lived near by. He said, `I would give ten pounds to see how that sunset will imitate Hone.' I tried to save him five by pulling the communication cord, because the fine is only five pounds if you pull it wantonly. I knew that you could never explain to a railway guard that art is more important than an accident. He must have had artistic sympathies, though, because he `forgot' the incident for ten shillings! Instead of being grateful to me . . . Moore expostulated and told me that I was impossible. I bore that in silence. I could have retorted that he was a plagiarist, for years ago Oscar Wilde had said that Nature was always trying to imitate Art. Do not look for gratitude in novelists.

Oliver St. John Gogarty. It Isn't This Time of Year at All (1954), p. 151.

OLIVER Gogarty was captured by his enemies, imprisoned in a deserted house on the edge of the Liffey with every prospect of death. Pleading a natural necessity he got into the garden, plunged under a shower of revolver bullets and as he swam the ice-cold December stream promised it, should it land him in safety, two swans. I was present when he fulfilled that vow.

W. B. Yeats, The Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936), Introduction, p. xv.

Denis Johnston: I doubt very much if he greatly enjoyed the last years of his life in America. America is not really a country for conversation.

Brian Aherne: On one occasion in New York, in a bar on Third Avenue, there were five or six of us sitting in a booth, and Gogarty was telling many of his wonderful stories. We were about to move off but he said, `Now I want to tell you this.' So he proceeded to tell another story, and when he was about to come to the point, a young man sitting by the bar went over and placed a coin in a jukebox. All hell broke loose. The expression on Gogarty's face changed; he became very sad, a combination of sadness and anger, and he said,

`Oh dear God in Heaven, that I should find myself thousands of miles from home, an old man at the mercy of every retarded son of a bitch who has a nickel to drop in that bloody illuminated coal scuttle.'

Irish Literary Portraits, p. 164.

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