Attie O’Brien

Life
1840-1883 [née Frances Marcella Attie, m. name O’Brien]; married name Frances Marcella O’Brien, b. Peafield, nr. Ennis, Co. Clare; lived aunt’s house Kildysart; contrib. Nation; Weekly Freeman, Young Ireland, Tinsley’s Magazine; Irish Monthly, 1878-81 (16 poems incl. 1 posthum.); issued Won By Worth (1892), a novel in which Capt. Arthur Crosbie wins the heart of Mary Desmond by nursing her brother through an attack of smallpox; also a The Carradassian Family (NY Sadlier 1897), rep. from Irish Monthly, with which she was primarily associated; there are no titles in BL. MKA IF

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Criticism
Mrs. Morgan John O’Connell, Glimpses of a Hidden Life: Memories of Attie O’Brien (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1887).

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Commentary
James H. Murphy, Catholic Fiction and Social Reality in Ireland, 1873-1922 (Conn: Greenwood Press 1997), Part I: ‘Upper Middle-Class Fiction 1873-1890’, p.27f. Murphy discusses The Monk’s Prophecy (1882) and The Carradassan Family (1888), the latter displaying ‘a slightly modified version of the inheritance plot’ (p.28.) he quotes the following from Through the Dark Night (1898), calling it one of best written passages from one of the better upper middle-class novelists: ‘Looking at those refined, aristocratic girls, so pure and pale, impressed her with the conviction that she was a coarse daub beside them. She felt tha ther cheeks were at the moment the colour of a full blown peony. she glanced at their hands, as slender and delicate as white flowers, covered with flashing rings. Sixes would fit them; she took six three-quarters herself. She had burst a button on one glove: how horrible, [how fat], red and ill-shaped the hand seemed! Why did she not put a pin in the glove even, to draw it together!’ (Through the Dark Night; or, Thirty Years Ago, in The Irish Monthly, 25 (1897, p.261; here 42.)

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References
Stephen Brown
, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists The Carradassan Family (NY: Sadlier 1897), a novel formerly ser. in Irish Monthly (Vol XVI 1888), concerning the love of Charles McCarthy, protegé of Col. F., for Letty, the colonel’s eldest dg., who is betrothed to Capt. Calvert, and Englishman; Charlie returns from the US to save the family and marry Letty; the whole is set on the Fitzgerald estate on the Shannon.

Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), cites Mrs. Morgan John O’Connell, Glimpses of a Hidden Life, Memories of Attie O’Brien (Gill 1887) 272pp.; also articles by Matthew Russell (‘In Memoriam’) and others in Irish Monthly and Molua. IF characterises her work as writings of ‘high literary value’; lists The Carradassan Family (1897).

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