Talk:John Banville

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Double wiki links[edit]

This page contains many links twice or many times. For example, to The Sea, there are about 4-5 links. This is against Wikipedia style. Please remove every link except the first (or most relevant). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.78.180.148 (talk) 20:22, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

A few points of information[edit]

I thought John Banville did a spell at teacher training in the UK circa 1970 ish? Long Lankin came out of this period. As a teenager John (whom we knew as 'Jack') was an accomplished amateur cabinet maker. In the sixties Renault cars were imported into Wexford for assembly. The parts were packed in large plywood crates which were sold off to locals. They were frequesntly used for pidgeon house and furniture (shelves, cabinets etc.). The ply was top quality - no voids. Jack's mother grew the most wonderful roses. Tall, long stemmed with potent scent. He tends to use Wexford surnames in his fiction - e.g Quirke in The Sea. Where he grew up in Wexford (a council estate called Bernadette Place)once had a vista onto a large rock outcrop called Trespan which rose out a rocky bramble covered field. Behind Trespan, the country side of South Wexfrod rolled out to the sea many miles off in Rosslare. A recently built housing estate completely cut offs off any view of the rock from his old house. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.42.37.104 (talk) 13:49, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The section on John Banville as Literary Editor of the Irish times is wholly inaccurate in its dates. John was appointed Literary Editor circa 1990 when the Irish Times split the functions of Features, Arts, Literary and Weekend into four. Brian Fallon had previously been the Editor for all four. He was replaced circa 1998 by Caroline Walsh, who had previously been Features Editor as part of a re-org of the Features Dept. However he retained his salary until circa 1990 when the IT, under financial pressure, offered redundancies to reduce its headcount. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.198.140.142 (talk) 16:31, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

J's Openion[edit]

John Banville is a bit of a clown; if that's the word I'm looking for. Misty sonambulism; clouds. j —Preceding unsigned comment added by 155.137.0.9 (talkcontribs) 10:19, 12 August 2005

He's very far from a 'clown', anonymous ip. + Ceoil 19:44, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

'John' is a pretentious twat, looks up big words in a dictionary and writes paragraphs around them in the well-known -'Only "we" REALLY intelligent and sensitive people understand works such as this - "you" peasants are the illiterate unwashed not fit to comment on these great works!' Blow it out your ear - everyone in Wexford will tell you the man IS a clown, if a very successful one - but still a hoity toity clown. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:304:6828:58C0:688E:2A99:6765:9955 (talk) 14:00, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Style[edit]

Is this article in an appropriate style for an encyclopedia? The "reputation" and "according to his friends" sections are surely typical of the things frowned upon by any unbiased source of info. {Jiggers 22:13, 17 January 2006 (UTC)}?

Yeah, it is. Bit odd to have it. Skinnyweed 15:24, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Totally inappropriate...but kind of entertaining...--Staple 09:33, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

But seriously, the "Reputation" and "According to his Friends" sections are trivial. "Typical descriptions of his style", while well-written, seems to be based entirely on a reading of The Sea and is riddled with POVesque statements. His style is painterly (I read somewhere that he tried his hand early on as a painter, is that in the article?) but the tone of the section seems somewhat distainful--"this sort of writting might win Booker Prizes"...ect. I would add that in much of his fiction, the descriptions tend toward the grotesque or macabre. I personally don't have a problem with the quotations, although they're unusual. I feel like a killjoy complaining about such a playful article, but as we all know, humorlessness always triumphs on Wikipedia.--Staple 06:21, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree totally. "reputation" & "according to his friends" do not belong in this article - unless in reference to his work or importance as an author; or perhaps if attributable to a notable source.
re: the "descriptions of style" ... this is POV criticism, and not encyclopaedic, so I think that should either be toned down significantly; or excised completely. Mackinaw 05:05, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Overhaul[edit]

I removed the two offending sections. If someone would like to reintroduce some of that material in a more appropriate form, by all means do. I pasted them below so that they'd be easily accesible. I'd love some help on the "style" section--I don't know quite where to begin... Reputation

Mysterious; Compelling; Disdainful; Fastidious; Serious; Aloof; Intellectual snob; Magisterial; Arrogant; Professorial; Withering; Surly; Lugubrious; Solemn; Vain; Awkward; Other-worldly; Cold fish; Pompous boffin; Austere; Godlike.

According to his friends

Funny; Dry; Sardonic; Barbed wit; A high opinion of his own talents; Warm friendships; Calm presence; Kindly; Droll; A raconteur; Self-deprecating sense of humour; Very pleasant to work with and a stickler for grammar and punctuation but he didn't read newspapers or watch television, so he never knew what was going on in the real world; Stayed to drink tea and read Henry James in his Irish Press office while his colleagues went next door to Mulligan's pub. Thanks, --Staple 06:20, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I'll take a bash at style, see what I can come up with. Mackinaw 15:00, 5 April 2006 (UTC)Ι
OK I cleaned the Style section out; it's a bit bare now, but encyclopaedic. It should be filled in, and perhaps the original editor can revisit. I'll post the removed section here. There was some good stuff in there before, but it needs to be referenced to critics - wikipedia can't do original research, or be a repository of editor criticsm of art. Mackinaw 17:25, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
And here is the removed section:
Banville's style has been described as perfectly crafted and beautiful; stunning, lyrical prose; dazzling writing. But if there is a weakness in the style of the 2005 Man Booker prizewinning novel, The Sea, it may be that it is excessively miniaturist and painterly, even if that is precisely the effect this mordant writer is seeking through his narrator, Max Morden. The style is the man, certainly, but the stylistic patina that Banville adopts requires a particularly difficult dance of appearances, language that is at once narcissistic and a mirror held up to nature.
Perhaps the stylistic affectations are deliberate, but the personifications can seem overwrought and sentimental: "...the car's sashaying back-end scooting around a bend in the road with a spurt of exhaust smoke. Tall grasses in the ditch, blond like a woman's hair, shivered briefly and returned to their former dreaming stillness." And yet the stylist may simply be pulling his reader's leg.
If the picturesque pretentiousness is deliberately contrived, it helps to create a "tableau" in which a character "stands in the very pose of Vermeer's maid with the milk jug." But like Vermeer's use of the camera obscura, such pictorialism can seem strangely studied and anachronistic in an Irish writer, swimming in the post-modern wake of Joyce and Beckett. The first-person narrator, if not the author himself, reveals some of this sense of displaced style in a reference to his character Rose, looking like "one of those fiddly Picasso portraits"; and later, she resembles "a Duccio madonna". The jaundiced art historian narrator, having apparently dismissed Picasso, seems to prefer to think in terms of neo-romantic, Turner-esque references - a "salt-bleached triptych...on the wall of my memory."
This is the kind of writing that may win Booker prizes, but it has more than a whiff of the nineteenth-century Dickensian fashion for overly descriptive, pathetic prose: "The steel kettle shone, a slow furl of steam at its spout, vaguely suggestive of genie and lamp." In a sense, Banville's style could almost be described as pre-modern, but perhaps it is simply more Proustian than Joycean in its attempt to create a remembrance of a time past; and in the author/narrator's mind's eye, "memory dislikes motion, preferring to hold things still."
On that point, Joyce and Banville could agree: the teenage Joyce, in a preternaturally intelligent discussion of aesthetics, called for art to be static, not kinetic. But Banville's stylistic stasis, however witty its artifice, is akin to a studio still-life, a nature morte, in which a character is depicted "in the very pose of Whistler's mother", or "a nocturnal study by Gericault, or de la Tour."
Mackinaw 17:27, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


The list of works needs editing. # The Sinking City (forthcoming[10]) refers to an early draft of one of the chapters of The Infinities which appeared in the Manchester Review. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.94.251.150 (talk) 08:13, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Residence[edit]

as far as I am aware Banville lives in Howth, Co. Dublin rather than central Dublin. found this bio to corroborate http://www.dublintheatrefestival.com/artist/John_Banville/11.htm

No, that biography dates from 2000, and doesn't mention any of his books since "The Untouchable". He lives on Bachelor's Walk on the quays of the Liffey in central Dublin. (He has said that it is a very inappropriately named place for him to live.) The only proof I have is that one sees him in the Jervis Street shopping centre which is 5 minutes away. Rory.

Bachelor's Walk is right - [see this] —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.94.251.150 (talk) 08:11, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

addition[edit]

I think perhaps the following quote regarding Banville's work would be useful at some point in this article, perhaps at the end of the opening paragraph.

Banville's work has been described as ‘one of the most startling of the century’s varied achievements in Irish writing’ The source is Seamus Deane, A Short History of Irish Literature, (London: Routledge, 1986), p.223) What do you think?IrishGothicJournal 13:16, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Copyright problem[edit]

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On the unavailability of oneself[edit]

Upon visiting the article to determine suitability for WP:ITN, I am intrigued by something in a sentence here about the Franz Kafka Prize that I think should be explored at greater length:

"He was unavailable for comment as John Banville due to the release of the latest Benjamin Black novel the following week, but when asked by the Irish Independent if Banville's writing was Kafkaesque, Benjamin Black replied: "All I can say is that John Banville and Franz Kafka deserve each other".

Perhaps this is a moment's drollness and more pedestrian than it sounds, but I'm interested to learn more about the nature of this duality that occasions such Black commentary on Banville. I mean, do "they" dress differently? Different hairstyles? Different beverages at the book signing? Yes, I'm having fun but I'm serious, I find this fascinating and while the different genres and styles of writing are obviously the biographical springboard, that's secondary to the in-person quotes, manner, and any other idiosyncratic distinctions between the public Black and the public Banville. Thanks to anyone who can illuminate this for me and the reader. Abrazame (talk) 09:48, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Banville clearly draws amusement from presenting imagined dialogue and mutual opinion between his two "selves", one real but presented as a slightly fictional character for the sake of fun and self-deprecation ("Banville") and the other one, "Black". Banville just plays this game in interviews to amuse himself; there really is nothing serious to be inferred from his playfulness. — O'Dea (talk) 09:55, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
You might be interested in (or perhaps in this context amused by) the article dissociative identity disorder. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.40.111.125 (talk) 18:20, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Word choices/trivia[edit]

Have edited for some odd word choices - he didn't "blame" Koestler for his interest in scientists, but (going back to the source) said that Koestler's novel about Kepler stimulated his own interest. Added more content to show a concept that related to his exploring scientists through his historical novels, that he thought scientists, in trying to impose order, did something similar to writers. Similarly, it seemed odd to say he "admitted" trying to combine poetry and prose in a new form; "said" is sufficient; he wasn't confessing a crime or sin. Journalists try to add human interest content; an encyclopedia doesn't need such trivia as Doyle's side comment related to the Kafka Prize - does not relate to Banville or the significance of the prize. Deleted this.Parkwells (talk) 15:56, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your work. Span (talk) 23:16, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

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