A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Banim, John

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For works with similar titles, see John Banim.

Banim, John (1798-1842). -- Novelist, began life as a miniature painter, but was led by the success of his first book, Tales of the O'Hara Family, to devote himself to literature. The object which he set before himself was to become to Ireland what Scott has been to Scotland, and the influence of his model is distinctly traceable in his writings. His strength lies in the delineation of the characters of the Irish lower classes, and the impulses, often misguided and criminal, by which they are influenced, and in this he has shown remarkable power. The first series of the O'Hara Tales appeared in 1825, the second in 1826. Other works are The Croppy (1828), The Denounced (1830), The Smuggler (1831), The Mayor of Windgap, and his last, Father Connell. Most of these deal with the darker and more painful phases of life, but the feeling shown in the last-named is brighter and tenderer. B. latterly suffered from illness and consequent poverty, which were alleviated by a pension from Government. He also wrote some poems, including The Celt's Paradise, and one or two plays. In the O'Hara Tales, he was assisted by his brother, MICHAEL BANIM (1796-1874), and there is difficulty in allocating their respective contributions. After the death of John, Michael wrote Clough Fionn (1852), and The Town of the Cascades (1864).