Patrick Kavanagh

Darcy O'Brien

1975
72 pages
ISBN 0-8387-7884-4
Contemporary Irish Writers

Patrick Kavanagh is another outstanding 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. The Studies will prove helpful to both 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.

The present volume examines the career of Patrick Kavanagh, a controversial figure who involved himself in the social and political issues of his day, his greatest achievements being the long poem The Great Hunger (1942) and a number of beautiful lyrics. In his satire Kavanagh was blunt, sometimes savage, and often humorous. He provoked spirited responses from his victims, and in 1954 he involved himself in a libel trial that made literary and legal history in Ireland.

But controversy aside, Kavanagh remains a poet and novelist of astonishing vitality and power. Always scornful of Irish nationalism and the "Celtic Twilight" school of poetry, he established himself as an individual writer concerned with his own perceptions about his life, his country, and the universe, indebted to no tradition or school, charting a way for younger poets to follow. His influence on the younger generation of Irish poets has been immense.

About the author:

Darcy O'Brien was educated at Princeton and Berkeley. He is the author of The Conscience of James Joyce, "Some Psychological Determinants of Joyce's View of Love and Sex" (in James Joyce Symposium) and "Some Determinants of Molly Bloom" (in Approaches to Ulysses). He has just completed a novel, and is currently working on a play.

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