Bruce Arnold (author)

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Bruce Arnold

Born (1936-09-06) 6 September 1936 (age 85)
OccupationJournalist and author
EducationKingham Hill School
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin
SubjectLiterary criticism and art criticism
Notable worksA Singer at the Wedding, The Song of the Nightingale, The Muted Swan
Notable awardsFellow of Trinity College Dublin, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy, honorary doctorate from University College Dublin

Bruce Arnold OBE (born 6 September 1936 in London) is an English journalist and author who has lived in Ireland since 1957.[1] His main expertise is in the fields of literary criticism and art criticism.[2]

In 1983 it emerged that his telephone had been bugged by Charles Haughey in the Irish phone tapping scandal. He and the other bugged journalists were considered to have "anti-national" views.

Early life[edit]

Arnold was educated at Kingham Hill School and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied modern languages. His wife Mavis Arnold (née Ysabel Mavis Cleave) was also a journalist.[3] Arnold's older brother Guy Arnold is also an author, largely on African politics.


Arnold has worked for the main Irish newspapers based in DublinThe Irish Times from 1965; The Irish Press and the Sunday Independent. He also acted as Dublin correspondent of The Guardian. He has edited Hibernia and the Dublin Magazine (1962–68; formerly The Dubliner).

Partial bibliography[edit]


  • A Singer at the Wedding (London: Hamish Hamilton 1978; rep. Abacus 1991);
  • The Song of the Nightingale (London: Hamish Hamilton 1980; rep. Abacus 1991);
  • The Muted Swan (London: Hamish Hamilton 1981; rep. Abacus 1991);
  • Running to Paradise (London: Hamish Hamilton 1983; rep. Abacus 1991).


  • A Concise History of Irish Art (London: Thames & Hudson 1969), another edn. (New York: Praeger 1968), 215pp;
  • Orpen: Mirror to an Age ed. (London: Jonathan Cape 1981);
  • What Kind of Country? (London: Jonathan Cape 1984);
  • Margaret Thatcher: A Study in Power (London: Hamish Hamilton 1984);
  • An Art Atlas of Britain and Ireland (London: Penguin/Viking, 1991);
  • William Orpen (Dublin: Town House 1991);
  • The Scandal of Ulysses (London: Sinclair Stevenson 1991; New York: St. Martin's Press 1992; Dublin: Liffey 2005);
  • Mainie Jellett and the Modern Movement in Ireland (London: Yale UP 1991; New York: Yale UP 1992), 216pp;
  • Haughey: His Life and Unlucky Deeds (London: HarperCollins 1993; pub. 1994);
  • Swift: An Illustrated Life (Dublin: Lilliput, 1999)
  • The Spire and Other Essays on Modern Irish Culture (foreword by Charles Lysaght) (Dublin: Liffey Press 2003), 280pp.
  • He That Is Down Need Fear No Fall (Publisher: Ashfield Press, 2008, 256 pages)

Quasi-autobiographical based on a selection of his father's letters. Free download from

  • The Fight for Democracy: The Libertas Voice in Europe (2009) (about the Libertas Institute)
  • The Irish Gulag: How the State Betrayed its Innocent Children (2009) (published just before the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report)
  • Biography of Derek Hill (2010)
  • The End of the Party with Jason O'Toole (Gill & MacMillan 2011);


  • The Scandal of Ulysses; Images of Joyce
  • To Make it Live: Mainie Jellett 1897–1944


  • A Passionate Man


He is an honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College Dublin (UCD) and an OBE.



  • Arnold, Bruce (February 2003). "Bruce Arnold: The Spy Who Loves Us". The Dubliner. Archived from the original on 4 April 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  • Doran, Antoinette (2005). "Papers of Bruce Arnold" (PDF). Collection List. National Library of Ireland. No. 114. Retrieved 11 March 2015.