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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 45, December 28, 1857

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Identifier: DX03438832

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 45, December 28, 1857

Description: Describes Fits James O'Brien's habits and personality.


generous — dishonestly so, of course, as it's not based on integrity. And he [Fitz James O'Brien] ranks this virtue above all others — naturally so, because it helps to justify himself to himself. He can talk well, pun with Irish readiness, and if there were not such an air of heavy swell ostentatiousness about him, would be capital company. He has been a fast man and lived with fast men, and fast women — indeed, been as profiligate in morals as may ordinarily be. He affects to hold that people are not accountable for their actions — an opinion equally abhorrent and foolish to me. Of course he only half believes it. He has no veracity — I never knew an Irishman who had, except, perhaps, Dillon Mapother. Not that O'Brien has deliberately, in cold blood; but he flams from conceit and a desire to be thought amazingly well informed about every thing. He used to tell [William] Levison that he (O'Brien) was the Editor of the "Lantern" &c. I fancy if he hears anything, he will be sure to retail it as something he has seen, knows &c. He’s a borrower from his intimates, and they’re never sure of getting paid. When he gets a lump of money — as for instance for a story in the newly-published Atlantic Monthly — his self esteem rises prodigiously; he comes out in some new article of dress, pays up a loan or two, invites people to dinner and flashes round prodigiously. He also speaks of being "closely engaged on the Atlantic" &c — which means, simply, that he's writing articles which they may accept. He can write lively, readable sketches, in pleasant colloquial English, sometimes disfigured by that abominable, easy, high-flown Irish eloquence which is half theatric and wholly bosh. His stories are all conventional and generally melodramic — devil a bit of subtle truth or life-painting in them. He only respects success, in literature,

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1857-12-28

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Debt
Bohemians (New York artistic and literary movement)


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