August 1965

The Times I've Seen: Oliver St. John Gogarty, A Biography.

Author Affiliations

By Ulick O'Connor. Price, $6.95. Pp 350, with 15 illustrations. Ivan Obolensky, Inc., New York, NY, 1963.

Arch Intern Med. 1965;116(2):302-303. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03870020142026

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The surgeon removed the tonsils of the poet, discussing literature with him as long as he was awake. That afternoon the surgeon returned several times to the nursing home and helped the poet construct a dying speech. Luckily for Western literature, their composition was not required and the poet continued his golden path. The poet was the greatest writing in English in this century—it has been said the greatest since Milton—William Butler Yeats. Some of us may shrink from the thought of a surgeon coming to our sick bed to discuss literature, not because of the possible distracting influence of literature on these men of steel and blood, but because we fear what their taste in literature may be. But the surgeon, Oliver St. John Gogarty, was unusual. As Mr. Ulick O'Connor tells us in this biography, he was a poet, playwright, champion athlete, champion conversationalist, and senator of Ireland.

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