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James Clarence Mangan
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Poet
    (May 1, 1803-June 29, 1849)
    Born in Dublin, Ireland
    Séamus Ó Mangáin (Old Irish)
    Irish Romantic, later nationalist, poet
    Works were regularly published in the Dublin University Magazine, and later the Irish nationalist newspapers, 'The United Irishman' and 'The Nation'
    Best known poems include 'Dark Rosaleen,' 'Siberia,' 'Nameless One,' 'A Vision of Connaught in the Thirteenth Century,' 'The Funerals,' and 'To the Ruins of Donegal Castle'
    Spent his final years in poverty and debt; succumbed to malnutrition, alcoholism, and cholera during the Great Irish Famine, at the age of only 46
    Private papers are variously housed at the National Library of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy, and the archives of Trinity College, Dublin
    He was an eccentric reprobate.
    Portraiture tends to depict him as an Edward Scissorhands/Beetlejuice-lookalike.
    His middle name wasn't really Clarence; he tacked it onto his penname in 1820, likely to lend himself sophistication.
    His poems tended to have odd, outlandish titles like ('Woman of Three Cows,' 'Pleasant Prospects for the Land-eaters').
    The fascination with his outrageous and wild lifestyle often overshadows the (inconsistent) quality of his work.
    John Mitcel summed him up by saying he was actually two people: 'one well known to the Muses, the other to the police.'
    He was known for wearing pointy witch-style hats, long dark-green cloaks with matching-colored spectacles and even a blonde wig.
    He was known for literary 'hoaxes' - frequently passing off his own works as 'translations' of more prestigious (usually fictional) writers.
    He fancied himself a necromancer who could contact spirits and ghosts on a nightly basis; his assorted 'conversations' provided the basis for many of his poems.
    Terry Eagelton prefaced his name by calling him 'blanche-haired' and 'weirdly garbed,' while Gavan Duffy described him as 'a spectre out of some German creation, rather than a human being.'
    He wrote a memoir on the advice of a colleague, but he ended it mid-sentence.
    A continuation of his unfinished memoir was published in a 2001 edition of the Dublin Metre; the discovery was received with great fanfare, but turned out to be a clever fake (appropriately).
    He spoke Gaelic, Spanish, French, Italian, and Latin.
    He heavily influenced James Joyce.
    Joyce not only wrote two essays on him, but also referenced him in several of his works ('Dubliners,' 'Ulysses').
    He has been compared to similarly troubled 20th-century Irish luminaries like Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanaugh.
    His works were initially apolitical in nature, but became exceedingly more patriotic in theme as the state of Ireland deteriorated during the Famine.
    His works were ahead of their time - anticipating then-far off notions like Celtic revival and the creation of an Irish state.
    He produced English translations from works in Turkish, Persian, Arabic, and Old Irish (or at least he claimed to).
    William Butler Yeats ranked him as one of the top three best Irish poets, saying: 'To the soul of Clarence Mangan was tied the burning ribbon of Genius.'
    Anglo-Irish poetry enthusiasts have elevated him to the status of martyr, frequently pointing out the symmetry between the tragedy of his own life and the turbulent state of the Irish nation.
    He was one of the only 'high profile' victims of the 'Great Hunger' which decimated the isle, mostly claiming the lives of countless poverty-stricken 'evicted tenants.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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