Brendan Bracken Exhibit Opens in Dublin

The Irish Times has published a brief biographical sketch of Brendan Bracken in conjunction with the opening tomorrow of an exhibit on his life at the Little Museum of Dublin. The article explains Bracken’s rackety early life and education and his close relationship with Winston Churchill. After WWII he became a newspaper executive and  was responsible for setting up the Financial Times in the form we know it today. 

As noted in the newspaper article, he also contributed to the character of Rex Mottram:

Evelyn Waugh found in the name-dropping Bracken material for Rex Mottram, a social-climbing colonial in his novel Brideshead Revisited. Noting a chameleon-like quality, an acquaintance said: “Everything about you is phony, Brendan; even your hair, which looks like a wig, isn’t.” Once a suitor of a great society lady, he remained an unattached bachelor; his private life remains something of a mystery.

The article doesn’t mention that Bracken also helped Waugh several times to secure and preserve his military career during WWII. They knew each other from the Bright Young People days.

In an ironic twist, Brecken may himself have been influenced by Waugh’s novel. As described in the article: 

On his deathbed he ordered his nurses not to admit Irish priests (including his own nephew), who longed to reconcile him to his childhood faith. “The blackshirts of God are after me,” he exclaimed. There was no turning back.

Bracken was born a Roman Catholic but renounced that religion earlier in his life and may have wished to avoid a replay of the melodrama surrounding the death of Lord Marchmain. 

The exhibit will display, inter alia, a collection of letters Bracken wrote to his mother which was recently acquired by the Little Museum. It will run through 28 September.

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