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Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know

The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce

By Colm Toibin
Narrated by Colm Toibin / 6 hours 6 minutes

Award-winning author Colm Tóibín turns his incisive gaze to three of the world's greatest writers, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce, and their earliest influences: their fathers.

"A father...is a necessary evil." Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses

In Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know, Colm Tóibín illuminates not only the complex relationships between three of the greatest writers in the English language and their fathers, but also illustrates the surprising ways they surface in their work. From Wilde's doctor father, a brilliant statistician and amateur archaeologist, who was taken to court by an obsessed lover in a strange premonition of what would happen to his son; to Yeats' father, an impoverished artist and brilliant letter-writer who could never finish a painting; to John Stanislaus Joyce, a singer, drinker, and storyteller, a man unwilling to provide for his large family, whom his son James memorialised in his writing, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know brilliantly combines biography and literary appreciation and is a revealing, personal new look at the lives of three major literary icons.

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