An Ode to the Dalkey Archive

Today has undoubtedly been a busy day for Dalkey Archive editor John O’Brien as the Twittersphere exploded with his heavy-handed job-posting for intern positions at their new London office.  Inspired by the backlash, I wrote a little ditty to commemorate this event in literary history, which I posted in The Irish Times comment section, where O’Brien was making his valiant defense.

I have long been a follower and have championed the Dalkey Archive Press for their commitment to making modern European literature accessible to American audiences, but this latest arrogant move on behalf of their  Führer has shaken my faith in the imprint’s integrity, as I would imagine it has for many others.  The outrageous job posting is here, read through to see what I mean.  Within hours, an “official” response was offered through The Irish Times here.  In the comments section, I lamented the poor state of affairs, and the mentality which led O’Brien to his ultimate public-relations downfall:


In search of an heir to his coveted crown

From high on up, John O’Brien looked down

At the rabble of aspirants and sullenly thought,

“I’ll thrash out the chaff from this unworthy lot!”

And sitting to pen his notice most stern,

“They must give all they can without seeking to earn.

In the name of my legacy, this mighty imprint,

You do the work while I make a mint.”

The response he then reaped was not the intent,

Critics spewed ire and would not relent,

And in this embarrassing moment most dire,

He pleaded, “it is merely a Swiftian satire!”

But now the public must surely decide

To nod in compliance or together deride

This self-proclaimed god of the literati,

The king who has lost his humanity.


Let’s hope for his own sake that Mr. Scrooge O’Brien is offered an epiphany from the furore.