Banim Brothers

   , Michael (1796-1874) and John (1798-1842)
   Irish brothers who collaborated in many writing novels and dramas. They were born in Kilkenny to a prosperous businessman who ensured that his sons had a good education. Michael studied law, but had to take over the family business; John studied art at the academy of the Royal Dublin Society. While Michael carried on the business, John became a teacher of drawing in Kilkenny, falling into emotional distress over the death of a woman he loved. Now living in Dublin, he turned away from art and devoted himself to writing poetry. In 1824 the brothers started publishing a series of novels, Tales, by the O'Hara Family, which some say were on a par with Scott's Waverley Novels. The Banims may be justly called the first national novelists of Ireland, and John Banim has been called "the Scott of Ireland." John moved to London and worked in journalism, and over the years the brothers continued to cooperate on their novels. Ill health plagued John; nevertheless, he labored on, suffering crippling pain, and at the age of twenty-eight he looked forty. He tottered as he walked, and he died in his hometown. Illness afflicted Michael also, and, like his brother, he carried on writing. Michael lived to a good age, and when he died Benjamin Disraeli granted his widow a pension from the civil list. Although it is their novels for which they are famous, John also wrote a few poems. "The Celt's Paradise" is one. Another, "The Irish Mother in the Penal Days," is a vivid portrayal of the suffering endured in the struggle for Catholic emancipation. Some of their other poems: "Chaunt of the Cholera," "Song. As We Are Men and Irishmen," "Song. Yes! Discord's Hand to the Last It Was," "The Clare Election," "The Irish Mother to Her Child," "The Irish Peasant to His Child," "The Irish Priests' Song," "The Irish Soldier," "The New Reformation," "The Peasant's Unarmed Police," "The Reconciliation," "The Shamrock and the Lily."
   Sources: An Anthology of Irish Verse: The Poetry of Ireland from Mythological Times to the Present. Padraic Colum, Padraic ed. Kilkenny Press, 1948. Bibliography of 19th-c. Irish Literature (http://info.wlu.ca/Banim Brotherswwweng/faculty/jwright/irish/biblio-main.htm). Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org). Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. ChadwyckHealey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/ search/epoetry/author.html). Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (http://library.stanford.edu). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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