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BRIAN OSWALD DONN-BYRNE

(1889-1928)

A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR OF MESSER MARCO POLO

So Celtic in feeling and atmosphere are the stories of Donn Byrne that many of his devotees have come to believe that he never lived anywhere but in Ireland. Actually, Donn Byrne was born in New York City. Shortly after his birth, however, his parents took him back to the land of his forefathers. There he was educated and came to know the people of whom he wrote so magically. At Dublin University his love for the Irish language and for a good fight won him many prizes, first as a writer in Gaelic and second as the University's lightweight boxing champion. After continuing his studies at the Sorbonne and the University of Leipzig, he returned to the United States, where, in 1911, he married and established a home in Brooklyn Heights. He earned his living, while trying to write short stories, as an editor of dictionaries. Soon his tales began to attract attention and he added to his collection of boxing prizes many others won in short-story contests. When MESSER MARCO POLO appeared in 1921 his reputation in the literary world was firmly established. Thereafter, whatever he wrote was hailed enthusiastically by his ever-growing public, until 1928, when his tragic death in an automobile accident cut short the career of one of America's best-loved story-tellers.




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