Peadar O'Donnell

Grattan Freyer

1973
124 pages
ISBN 0-8387-1362-9
Contemporary Irish Writers

Peadar O'Donnell 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 more than 50 writers.

The present volume treats in detail one of Ireland's most colorful and flamboyant characters, Peadar O'Donnell, who was born in County Donegal in 1893. "The greatest agitator of his generation" is how the American historian of the IRA, Bowyer Bell, described him in The Secret Army. But he also wrote six fine novels shrewdly mirroring life in remote rural Ireland, often under the shadow of "the Troubled Times."

O'Donnell was among the Republicans taken prisoner by the Irish Free State forces after the bombardment of the Dublin Four Courts in 1922, which inaugurated the first Irish civil war. He described his adventures in various Irish jails and his eventual escape in one volume of reminiscences, The Gates Flew Open. The outbreak of the Spanish civil war in 1936, where he was also an eyewitness, gave material for a second, Salud! From 1946 to 1954 O'Donnell was editor of Ireland's most controversial postwar literary magazine, The Bell.

About the author:

Grattan Freyer is a free-lance writer and lecturer. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, with a Ph.D. from Dublin University, he has traveled extensively in Europe and North Africa and is a regular visitor on the American lecture circuit. He has contributed articles on literature and politics to many European and American periodicals. He wrote "The Irish Contribution" for the Pelican Guide to English Literature. When at home in Ireland he is a craftsman-potter, farmer, and horse-breeder.

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