Born OTD in 1854, Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. In Praise of Disobedience draws on works from a single miraculous year in which Wilde published the larger part of his greatest works in prose the year he came into maturity as an artist. Before the end of 1891, he had written the first of his phenomenally successful plays & met the young man who would win his heart, beginning the love affair that would lead to imprisonment & public infamy. In a witty introduction, playwright, novelist & Wilde scholar Neil Bartlett explains what made this point in the writer’s life central to his genius and why Wilde remains a provocative and radical figure to this day.

Included here are the entirety of Wilde’s foray into political philosophy, The Soul of Man Under Socialism; the complete essay … More

Born OTD in 1856, Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist, Bernard Shaw. Andrew Undershaft, a millionaire armaments manufacturer, loves money and despises poverty. His estranged daughter Barbara, on the other hand, shows her love for the poor by throwing her energies into her work as a Major in the Salvation Army, and sees her father as another soul to be saved. But when the Army needs funds to keep going, it is Undershaft who saves the day with a large cheque – forcing Barbara to examine her moral assumptions.

Are they right to accept money that has been obtained by ‘Death and Destruction’? Full of lively comedy and sparkling … More

Born OTD in 1947, Irish civil rights leader and former politician, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. After engaging, on the side of the residents, in the Battle of the Bogside, she was convicted of incitement to riot in 1969, for which she served a short jail term. After being re-elected in the 1970 general election, Devlin declared that she would sit in Parliament as an independent socialist.

Having witnessed the events of Bloody Sunday, Devlin was infuriated that she was later consistently denied the floor in the … More

Born OTD in 1923, Irish poet, short story writer, novelist & playwright who wrote in both English & Irish. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish writers of all time, Brendan Behan. This diverse little collection of 21 short prose pieces by Behan, some fictional, some autobiographical, together with a selection from his 1950’s Irish Times column, caused something of a stir when it first appeared in 1981. The title story, After the Wake, was the talking point at the time, since it appeared to be about what was then something of a forbidden subject, homosexual love.

When the present collection appeared the same people dismissed the story as part of the pornographic hack work which, according … More

Born OTD in 1856, George Bernard Shaw. Andrew Undershaft, a millionaire armaments manufacturer, loves money & despises poverty. His estranged daughter Barbara, on the other hand, shows her love for the poor by throwing her energies into her work as a Major in the Salvation Army, & sees her father as another soul to be saved…

But when the Army needs funds to keep going, it is Undershaft who saves the day with a large cheque … More

Connolly was a peerless organizer, sharp polemicist, & highly original thinker. His positions on the relationship between national liberation & socialism, revolution in colonized & under developed economies, & women’s liberation in particular were often decades ahead of their time.

“James Connolly was an uncompromising fighter for Irish freedom and a socialist for all the world. He lived in tumultuous … More