Denis Devlin

Biography of Denis Devlin

Denis Devlin (April 15, 1908 - August 21, 1959) was, along with Samuel Beckett and Brian Coffey, one of the generation of Irish modernist poets to emerge at the end of the 1920s. He was also a career diplomat.

He was born in Greenock, Scotland of Irish parents, and his family returned to live in Dublin in 1918. He studied at Belvedere College and, from 1926, as a seminarian for the Roman Catholic priesthood at Clonliffe College. As part of his studies he attended a degree course in modern languages at University College Dublin (UCD), where he met and befriended Brian Coffey. Together they published a joint collection, Poems, in 1930.

In 1927, Devlin abandoned the priesthood and left Clonliffe. He graduated with from UCD his BA in 1930 and spent that summer on the Blasket Islands to improve his spoken Irish. Between 1930 and 1933, he studied literature at Munich University and the Sorbonne in Paris, meeting, amongst others, Beckett and Thomas MacGreevy. He then returned to UCD to complete his MA thesis on Montaigne.

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