The Ginger Man (1962) | Press Cuttings

The Ginger Man is a 1955 novel by J. P. Donleavy.

First published in Paris, the novel is set in Dublin, Ireland, in post-war 1947. Upon its publication, it was banned in Ireland and the United States of America for obscenity.

Plot introduction

It follows the often racy misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American living in Dublin with his English wife and infant daughter and studying law at Trinity College.

This book may be considered part of the fictionalised roar of the end of the Second World War hiatus, also represented by the colossi of American literature: John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. Dangerfield is an American Protestant of Irish descent, commonly believed to be a thinly fictionalised version of the author, but is more broadly based not only on Donleavy but also some of his contemporaries at Trinity. The hero, Dangerfield, is a portrayal of lifelong bohemian and friend of Donleavy, Gainor Stephen Crist, as told by the author in The History of The Ginger Man.

The book gives us the map of the terra incognita of late 1940s sexual encounters in Dublin. Donleavy’s later books spell out the aftermath (particularly A Fairy Tale of New York, which later inspired Shane MacGowan’s song “Fairytale of New York”, recorded by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl).

The BBC produced a 90-minute made-for-television version of the play, directed by Peter Dews, and aired on 23 March 1962 in the United Kingdom. Ann Bell played “Marion Dangerfield”, Ronald Fraser as “Kenneth O’Keefe”, Ian Hendry as “Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield”, and Margaret Tyzack was “Miss Frost”.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Ann Bell … Marion Dangerfield
Ronald Fraser … Kenneth O’Keefe
Ian Hendry … Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield
Margaret Tyzack … Miss Frost

Peter Dews

Produced by
Peter Dews …. Producer

Production Design by
Margaret Peacock

Production Companies
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (1962)