Frank O'Connor

James H. Matthews

1976
90 pages
ISBN 0-8387-7756-2
Contemporary Irish Writers

Frank O'Connor is another outstanding contribution to the Irish Writers Series. These monographs have been designed to treat in individual volumes the significant Anglo-Irish writer of the 19th and 20th centuries. These studies will prove helpful to literary scholars and to students of literature. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, and will encompass discussions of almost 40 writers.

Michael O'Donovan (1903-1966) was a rebel, born in the slums of Cork a school dropout at 14, a member of the IRA who took his stand with the Republicans during the Civil War. Early in life he came under the influence of writer-critic Daniel Corkery and later W.B. Yeats. He taught Irish in the rural schools after his release from internment camp, directed a theater group in Cork, served as a librarian, managed the famous Abbey Theatre, and wrote, under the name Frank O'Connor, two novels, a book of poetry, translations, three plays, a biography, and, of course, many short stories.

In 1951, in his late 40s, O'Connor came to the United States to teach literature at Northwestern and Harvard. His stories and autobiographical essays soon appeared in The New Yorker and received exuberant acclaim. Scanning Frank O'Connor's writing career, James H. Matthews finds a remarkable unity of purpose underlying the conflicting impulses in the total work.

About the author:

James H. Matthews was born in 1942. He received his B.A. from Seattle Pacific College and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He has taught at the University of Tulsa and is now Associate Professor of Literature at Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida. He is currently preparing a critical biography of Frank O'Connor.

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