Mary Lavin

Zack Bowen

1975
72 pages
ISBN 0-8387-7762-7
Contemporary Irish Writers

Mary Lavin is another contribution to the Irish Writers Series. These monographs have been designed to treat in individual volumes the significant Anglo-Irish writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, encompassing discussions of nearly forty writers.

This volume includes a biographical account gleaned largely from the author's interviews with Mary Lavin and her husband, an interpretation of her vision as reflected in her themes, and an analysis of her style and outlook drawn from her short stories and novels.

In her own statement, Mary Lavin alludes to the most striking characteristic of her work-her intensely personal and autobiographical approach to the art of fiction. There is no doubt that much of what happens to her people is drawn from intimate experience. Her upbringing, devotion to her father, Catholicism, middle-class background, deep knowledge of Ireland, and the hardships of her widowhood are often the ingredients of her portraiture.

In Zack Bowen's view, not many living writers in Ireland, and none among the short-story writers, measure up to Mary Lavin's standard. Her clarity and craftsmanship are the product of an artist of the first rank, an position Mary Lavin has held for more than thirty years.

About the author:

Zack Bowen was born in Philadelphia in 1934. He is married and has three children. His degrees are B.A., University of Pennsylvania 1956, M.A., Temple University 196-, and Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo 1964. His publications include Padraic Colum: A Biographical-Critical Introduction; Musical Allusions in the Works of James Joyce: Early Poetry Through Ulysses; The Brozegold Sirensong: A Musical Analysis of the Sirens Episode in Joyce's Ulysses; articles in the James Joyce Quarterly, Literature and Psychology, Eire-Ireland, and The Journal of Irish Literature as well as a series of recordings of Joyce's Ulysses. He is presently Professor of English and Chairman of the English Department of the State University of New York at Binghamton.

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