Liam O’Flaherty (1896-1984)

1896: [orig. Liam Ó Fleahairtaigh]; b. 28 Aug., Gort na gCapall, nr. Kilmurvey in [SW] Inishmore, Aran Island, of family prominent in Land League; his father Michael [prop. styled Michael Mhicil Phadraic Mhicil Bartley Mhicil Bartholomew], later called a man ‘immune to pain or joy’ by his son, was a Fenian land-leaguer who also insisted on English as the language of the home; his mother, Margaret Ganly [m. 20 Feb. 1872], a descendant of Plymouth Brethern from Antrim who built the lighthouses on the island, was a lively and humorous story-teller [seanchaí] with a marked reverence for nature; ed. at Oakquarter Boys’ National School to 1909, under tutelage of David O’Callaghan, an Irish language revivalist (though himself an first-language English speaker) and the inspiration for the title-character of Skerrett; school managed by a Fr. Farragher, PP, the model of Moclair in the same novel; beaten at school, by his own account, for writing for a story in which a farmer murders his wife with a spade; on visiting the school Roger Casement proposed sending him to Summerhill College, Sligo, while presenting his br. Tom with a copy of Fr. Peadar Ó Laoghaire’s Séadna (1904); recruited by Holy Ghost Fathers for missionary priesthood and hence went to Rockwell College, Co. Tipperary, on a scholarship; showed himself to be a gifted classical student; won Gold Medal for Irish essay on emigration, the prize being put up by an American supporter; refused to take the soutane [i.e., the priesthood], as normally expected, after four years (later professing himself agnostic); transferred to Blackrock College, Co. Dublin, 1913; established there a unit of the Irish Volunteers, also in 1913;
1914: proceeded to UCD on Classics scholarship; commenced attending Clonliffe Diocesan Seminary also; passing reference to Marxism in UCD lecture of Fr. Finlay aroused his interest; enlisted in Irish Guards [British Army] under name of “Bill Ganly”, 1914; trained at Catterham barracks; wounded in head during bombardment at Langemarck, Sept. 1917, and discharged with melancholia acuta after several terms in hospitals, incl. in George V Hosp., Dublin; returned home on disability pension (‘you have to go through life with that shell bursting in your head’); regarded as a renegade in Aran; supported the IRA in the War of Independence [Anglo-Irish War, 1919-21]; passed a month in London and greeted Armistice celebrations with ambivalence; set out for S. America as trimmer in stokehold of tramper [steamer] bound for Rio de Janiero, where he jumped ship, living as a hobo and beach-comber on water-front; taught Greek in Collegio Anglo-Brazileiro; heard news of Irish independence while in Rio after a sojourn inland; signed up for Mediterranean trip in Liverpool rather than return to peace-time Ireland; involved in gun-running transaction at Smyrna; proceeded via Gibraltar on the same ship to Montreal, Canada; worked as agricultural labourer; travelled to Toronto and worked in lumber industry in N. Ontario; lost his job there through involvement with IWW (Wobblies); moved to Port Arthur, and then to USA where he visited elder br. and sis., living in Boston; worked as Western Union messenger, assistant printer, pastry-maker and construction worker; moved to New York with his brother Tom, and worked in Du Pont Explosives, NY; encountered trans. of Maupassant; unsuccessfully attempted writing;

1921: returned to Ireland and visited Aran, showing symptoms of neuresthenia; became fnd.-mbr. Irish Communist Party, Nov. 1921; led the seizure of the Rotunda Rooms [see note], Dublin, as self-styled Chairman of Council of Unemployed, and proclaimed an Irish Soviet Workers’ Republic, 18 Jan. 1922; attacked by Provisional Govt., and withdrew to avoid bloodshed, 22 Jan., fleeing to Cork with two companions; published an article on Larkin’s American imprisonment, in The Plain People (June 18 1922); joined Republicans in Civil War and supported Rory O’Connor at the Four Courts, escaping before the capitulation [surrender], 30 June; O’Flaherty’s 4 unit of the IRA disbanded, 4 July 1922; rumoured to have been shot dead in Capel Street; fled by ship, taking his revolver; arrived Liverpool, 9 July 1922, and met up with Jim Phelan; moved to London, staying with a Mrs. Casey, an earlier friend; experienced ecstatic memory of Aran in a London street and turned to writing (‘it seemed as if the dam had burst somewhere in my soul’); commenced writing seriously in London, Sept. 1922; encouraged in literary ambitions by Mrs Casey’s dg.; submitted ‘trashy’ novel set in London to Allen & Unwin, and received scathing response incl. sarcastic verses on its ineptitude; began to write about Aran; contrib. “The Sniper” to British Socialist weekly The New Leader (Jan. 12 1923), a short story in which one brother kills another during Civil War fighting in Dublin; advised by its editor Mrs. Hamilton to contact Edward Garnett, reader for Jonathan Cape whom O’Flaherty afterwards called his ‘literary godfather’;

[1921 cont.] wrote Thy Neighbour’s Wife (1923), the passionate story of Lily McSherry and Fr. Hugh McMahon, the local curate, her first love whom she meets again when she returns to the island with her husband; the novel incorporate numerous superstitious and folk-beliefs; the novel accepted by Garnett, who began to supply him with books incl. Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, George Borrow’s Romany Rye and novels of Joseph Conrad, as well as stories by Maupassant and Chekhov; proposed enthusiastically to Miss Casey but soon withdrew his proposal; worked on The Black Soul, dealing with Red John, a semi-human figure, while living in Oxfordshire farmhouse shared with H. E. Bates (another protegé of Garnett); returned to Dublin and rented cottage, at Lackandaragh, Glencree, Co. Wicklow - nr. the Hell Fire Club - early 1924; returned to Dublin and attended AE’s ‘at homes’; issued Spring Sowing (1924), a highly-acclaimed collection of stories which incls. “The Sniper”; issued The Black Soul (1924) which was praised by AE but damned by the London critics, and which he came to regard as damaged by his reading of Conrad; retreated to Aran, where he found his father in mental decrepitude and left after three days;
1924: formed the Radical Club with Francis Stuart, Cecil Salkeld, Austin Clarke, F. R. Higgins, Brinsley MacNamara and Padraig Ó Conaire; contrib. “The Red Petticoat” (story) to To-morrow (1924), edited by Stuart, and also probably the clarion-call editorial; wrote a letter to Irish Statesman defending the ‘wild tumult’ of contemporary Ireland as a creative influence (18 Oct. 1924), and was answered by “AE” [George Russsell] in the same issue; issued The Informer (1925), a novel set in the aftermath of the Civil War and concerning Gypo Nolan, a Republican gunman who inadvertantly betrays a former comrade responsible for the accidental shooting of a policeman, and is hunted down and killed, ultimately turning from a Judas figure to a Christ-figure in the process; sells his former comrade and shifts the blame to another man before being tracked down; written in an Expressionist style with German film options in mind; sold 200,000 copies and took won James Tait Memorial Prize; wrote Dorchadas, play in Irish [as Ó Flaithearta], staged in Dublin in 1926 by a group called ‘Comhar’ and later revived by Thaidhdhearc [Tabhaidhreac] na Gaillimhe in 1929; issued Mr Gilhooley (1926), a psychological thriller, thick with sex and violence, and set in post-revolutionary Dublin of the 1920s, in which the title-character murders his girl Nelly; the novel inspired some nudes by Harry Clarke [as infra]; eloped with and m. Margaret Barrington, wife of Edmund Curtis, 1926, with whom a dg. Pegeen; lived at Lackandaragh, the relationship breaking down after a year (though not legally separating until in Sept. 1932); protested with others at the opening of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, 8 Feb. 1926 ( ‘the protest of Mr. Yeats, against the protest of the audience, was an insult to the people of this country’, 20 Feb. 1926);

1927: issued The Wilderness, an allegorical novel about ex-revolutionary Henry Lawless who has repudiated his own Anglo-Irish class and takes up residence in the Fairy Glen [viz., Glencree], only to be boycotted by the parish priest, leading to his death in the manner of an Irish Messiah; published in the Humanist (7 June 1927); answers Padraic Colum’s charge of not writing in his native Irish with the claim that English was the first language that he spoke (New Statesman, IX, 1927); his movements and activities during 1927-32 remain uncertain [Sheeran, op. cit., 1976, p.92]; won contract from Jonathan Cape for life of Tim Healy (1927), on the grounds that both author and subject of the portrait had made themselves ‘most unpopular in Ireland’; contrib. long letter to Irish Statesman (17 Dec., 1927), responding to charges of neglecting the Irish language made by Padraic Colum; issued The Assassin (1928), in which Michael McDara, a returned Irish-American, with another - Daniel McFetterich, aka ‘Gutty Fetch’ - play a role like that of the killers of Kevin O’Higgins [here called HIM]; issued The Return of the Brute (1929), a violent account of trench warfare centred on Bill Gunn and his British-army fellow-servicemen; elected fnd.-mbr. of the MIAL on Yeats’s invitation, 1929; quit Edward Garnett as his literary agent for A. D. Peters, 1929; issued Tourist’s Guide to Ireland (1929), which divides the Irish people into priests, peasants, publicans, and politicians;

1930: travelled to Russia by ship, April 1930, remaining several months; issued Two Years (1930), autobiography, and I Went to Russia (1931); issued The Ecstasy of Angus (1931); visited Stonehenge with James Joyce, [1931]; spends time on island in Brittany, re-establishing contact with nature; reports to Edward Garnett having ‘deliberately undergone a rather stupid cycle of experience’ in recent years, and professed to have ‘arrive[d] at a clearer consciousness of what [he] want[s] to do’ (Feb. 1932); issued The Puritan (1932), in which the eponymous Ferriter, a journalist, murders a prostitute Theresa Burke as part of a crusade, and is tracked by Chief Supt. Lavan; issued The Martyr (1933), centred on the sacrificial patriotism of Comm. Brian Crosbie and dealing with the Civil War events at a fictional Sallytown in Co. Kerry in Sept. 1922, culminating with his crucifixion by the sinister Major Tyson (written in England, July-October 1932, and completed on Aran); issued Shame the Devil (1934), second autobiographical volume - commencing, ‘Man is a born liarö; moved to Holywood to work on script for The Informer, 1934, which was filmed by John Ford, 1935 (being a remake of the uncommercial version by Arthur Robinson); won 4 Oscars but it made little money for O’Flaherty due to copyright disputes; meets Kitty Tailer (‘Kitty Pie’) at Santa Barbara; issued Hollywood Cemetery (1935), satirising life in California; a br. Tom issued Aranmen-All (Dublin: 1934)
1935: issued Skerrett (1935) a novel set on ‘Nara’ [viz., Aran] and dealing with the conflict between David Skerrett, a head-strong teacher, and Fr. Moclair, a dictatorial parish priest; issued Famine (1937), ded. to Ford, and dealing with the life of the Kilmartin family during 1845-49; Famine immediately recognised as a superior Irish historical novel; supported socialist wing of IRA and the Spanish Republicans; stayed on in America - chiefly California - throughout the World War II, mixing with writers in Arizona, Florida, West Indies, and S. America; gave strenuously anti-colonial lecture entitled “Hands Off Ireland”, at Town Hall, NY, 1941; returned to Ireland, 1945; issued Land (1946), centred on Fenian captain Michael Dwyer and unfrocked priest Francis Kelly, pitted against Inspector Fenton and Fr. Costigan during the Land War in Co. Mayo, 1879-1882, and with a renegade Anglo-Irishman in Raoul St. George; issued Insurrection (1950), a treatment of the 1916 Rising, which draws in the central character Bartley Madden and set him in the company of Capt. Kinsella and George Stapleton, respectively ascetic and the poet types engaged in that adventure;
1953: ed., Dúil [Desire] (1953), a collection of Irish stories from Gaelic League magazines; started working on a novel in Irish under the title Coirp agus Anam [Body and Soul], destined to remain unfinished and reported to be about gambling; lived with Kitty in flat nr. Baggot St., becoming increasingly reclusive while working on his ‘interminable novel’ (acc. Kitty, who managed his affairs); refused to write preface for Folio edn. of The Informer; received Hon D.Litt. NUI, 1974; d. 7 Sept, 1984; there is a portrait in pastel by Harry Kernoff [appeared in NGI Yeats Centenary; lent by artist]; interest in his work revived by Seamus Cashman of Wolfhound Press, who reissued The Wilderness (1987) as well as children’s stories (Test of Time and All Things Come of Age), going on to reprint all the novels; the 100th anniversary of his birth was celebrated on Inis Mór in August, 1996; many of his papers held in the Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas (Austin), his letters to Edward Garnett having been sold by his son (to the novelist’s annoyance); others preserved by Kitty Tailer, contrary to his insistence; Letters edited by A. A. Kelly (1996); The Informer was dramatised by Tom Murphy in 1981; “The Sniper” (1923) has enjoyed a curious revival and a favourite Youtube film of relatively simple amateur manufacture - often in contemporary or otherwise unlocalised settings; Breandán Ó hEithir [q.v.] was a nephew. PI IF NCBE DIW DIB DIH KUN OCEL ANJ DIL FDA OCIL

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  • Thy Neighbour’s Wife (London: Jonathan Cape 1923; NY: Boni & Liveright 1924).
  • The Black Soul [Traveller’s Library] (London: Jonathan Cape 1924; NY: Boni & Liveright 1925; Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1996) [ded. to Edward Garnett].
  • The Informer (London: Jonathan Cape; NY: Alfred A. Knopf 1925), Do., rep edn. [New English Library] (London: Dent/Four Square 1958); Do., with a preface by Denis Donoghue (NT: Harcourt 1980); and Do. [rep edn.] (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1999), 267pp.
  • Mr Gilhooley (London: Jonathan Cape 1926; NY: Harcourt, Brace 1927; Dublin: Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1991), 288pp. [ded. ‘To Pegeen’].
  • The Assassin (London: Jonathan Cape; NY: Harcourt, Brace 1928), Do. [other edns.], 1935, 1940, 1959, 1969, 1983, 1988, & pb. rep. (Dublin: Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1993).
  • The House of Gold (London: Jonathan Cape 1929; NY: Harcourt, Brace 1930).
  • The Return of the Brute (London: Mandrake 1929; NY: Harcourt, Brace 1930) [see extract, attached].
  • The Ecstasy of Angus [priv.] (London: Joiner & Steel 1931), and Do. (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1978), rep. with afterword by A[ngeline] A. Kelly.
  • The Puritan (London: Jonathan Cape 1932; NY: Harcourt, Brace 1932).
  • Hollywood Cemetery (London: Victor Gollancz 1935).
  • Famine (London: Victor Gollancz; NY: Random House 1937; rep. London: Readers Union 1938; rep. Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1980; 2004), 432pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] (Boston: David R. Godine 1982).
  • Insurrection (London: Gollancz 1950; Boston: Little, Brown 1951; London: Four Square Book 1966; rep. Wolfhound Press 1993), and Do. [French trans. as] Insurrection [Livre de poche 2012] (Paris: Calman Lévy 1953).
  • The Martyr (NY: Macmillan; London: Victor Gollancz 1933).
  • Skerrett (London: Victor Gollancz 1935), 287pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1978) [var. 1977]; also French trans. as Skerrett (Paris: Stock 1948).
  • Land (London: Victor Gollancz; NY: Random House 1946) [Gollancz edn. 234pp.]; Do., rep. (London: Four Square Books 1969), 320pp.
  • The Wilderness (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1978; rep. 1996), 222pp. [first pub. as ‘The Wilderness’, ser. in 6 pts., in The Humanist (1927) - novella.]
Short stories
  • Spring Sowing (1924).
  • Civil War (London: E. Archer 1925).
  • The Terrorist (London: E. Archer 1926).
  • The Child of God (London: E. Archer 1926).
  • The Tent (London: Jonathan Cape 1926).
  • The Fairy Goose and Two Other Stories (London: Crosby Gaige 1927).
  • Red Barbara and Other Stories (London: Crosby Gaige 1928) [‘The Mountain Tavern’; ‘Prey’; ‘The Oar’].
  • The Mountain Tavern and Other Stories (London: Jonathan Cape 1929), and Do. [another edn.] (Tauchnitz 1929).
  • The Wild Swan and Other Stories, foreword by Rhys Davies (London: Joiner & Steel 1932), frontis. by P.V. Moon.
  • Two Lovely Beasts and Other Stories (London: Victor Gollancz 1948; NY: Devin-Adair 1950).
  • Dúil [Desire] (Dublin: Sairseál & Dill 1953).
Modern collections
  • The Stories of Liam O’Flaherty, intro. by Vivian Mercier(NY: Devin-Adair Co. 1956), 419pp..
  • Roger Mansfield, ed. [comp.], Bill Naughton - Liam O’Flaherty [Contrast Ser., 1] (Pergamon 1968), q.pp.
  • The Wounded Cormorant and Other Stories, pref. by Vivian Mercier (NY 1973).
  • The Pedlar’s Revenge and Other Stories (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1976) [var. 1975].
  • Short Stories of Liam O’Flaherty (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1989), 222pp.
  • ‘Dorchadas/Darkness’, in Beltaine (Márta 1926), and Do. [trans. as] Darkness [3 act tragedy] (London: E. Archer 1926).

See also Tom Murphy, The Informer: Adapted from the Novel of Liam O’Flaherty (Carysfort Press 2008), 89pp. [performed at Dublin Th. Fest. in 1981].

Articles (Selected)
  • ‘National Energy’, in Irish Statesman, [3] (1924), p.171.
  • ‘Mr Tasker’s Gods’, in Irish Statesman, 3 (1925), p.828.
  • ‘A View of Irish Culture’, in Irish Statesman, 4 (20 June 1925), pp.460-61.
  • The Plough and the Stars’, in Irish Statesman, 5 (1926), p.739.
  • ‘Literary Criticism in Ireland’, in Irish Statesman, 6 (4 Sept. 1926), p.711.
  • ‘Fascism or Communism?’, in Irish Statesman (8 May 1926), pp.231-32.
  • ‘Writing in Gaelic’, in The Irish Stateman (17 Dec 1927), p.348.
  • ‘Art Criticism’, in Irish Statesman, 9 (1927), p.83.
  • ‘Red Ship’, in New Republic (23 Sept. 1931), pp.147-50.
  • ‘The Kingdom of Kerry’, in Fortnightly Review, CXXXXVIII (Aug. 1932), pp.212-18.
  • ‘The Irish Censorship’, in American Spectator (Nov. 1932), p.1.
  • ‘Autobiographical Note’, in Ten Contemporaries [2nd Ser.] (London: J. Gawsworth 1933).
Writings in Irish (Selected)
  • ‘Fód’, in Dublin Magazine (Bealtaine 1924).
  • ‘Smaointhe i gCéin’, in Dublin Magazine, 2 (Meán Fómhair [Dec.] 1924).
  • ‘An Fiach’, in Fáinne an Lae (27 Meatheamh 1925).
  • ‘Bás na Bó’, in Fáinne an Lae (18 Iúil 1925).
  • ‘Daoine Bochta’, in Fáinne an Lae (19 Lúnasa 1925).
  • ‘An tAonach’, in Fáinne an Lae (5 Méan Fómhair, 1925).
  • ‘Na Blatha Craige’, in Seán Ó Tuama, ed., Nuabhearsaíocht (Dublin 1951).

Note: Most of the foregoing cited in Brian Ó Conchubhair, ‘Liam Ó Flaithearta agus an Chinsearcht I nGaeilge’, paper presented at IASIL Conference, Limerick 1998.

  • Autobiographical Note [with a bibliography],in Ten Contemporaries [... &c.], ed. John Gawsworth [pseud.] [Second series] ([London] 1933), 8º.
  • Two Years (London, Toronto: Jonathan Cape 1933; NY: Harcourt, Brace 1930), 352pp.].
  • I Went to Russia (London: Jonathan Cape; NY: Harcourt, Brace 1931), 299pp., ill. [front. port. dated Moscow, 1930].
  • Shame the Devil (London: Grayson & Grayson 1934; [2nd imp.]1939), 284pp. [with port.], 8°.
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  • Life of Tim Healy (London: Jonathan Cape 1927).
  • A Tourist’s Guide to Ireland (London: Mandrake 1929).
  • Joseph Conrad: An Appreciation (London: E. Lahr 1930).
  • Introduction to Alfred Lowe, Six Cartoons (London 1930) [Barrie, Bennett, Chesterton, Kipling, Shaw & Wells].
  • Foreword to Rhys Davies, The Stars, the World and the Women (London 1930 );
  • A Cure for Unemployment [Blue Moon Booklet No. 8] (London: E. Lahr 1931).
  • ‘The Irish Censorship’ [orig. in The American Spectator, 1 (Nov. 1932)], and Do., rep. in Banned in Ireland: Censorship & the Irish Writer, ed. & intro. Julia Carlson (Georgia UP; London: Routledge 1990).
  • ‘The Agony of the World’, in Adelphi Magazine (1 Meán Fómhair 1925).
  • A. A. Kelly, ed., Letters of Liam O’Flaherty (Dublin: Wolfhound 1996), 458pp.

Correspondence: Flaherty’s letters to Edward Garnett, 5 May 1923-3 March 1932, are among those held in the Academic Centre Library of the University of Texas at Austin, Texas (USA). His letters to F. R. Higgins are held in the National Library of Ireland. (Patrick Sheeran, Novels of Liam O’Flaherty, 1976, Bibl.; p.315.)

Contributions to journals

[See attached]

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Major studies
  • James H. O’Brien, Liam O’Flaherty [Irish Writers Ser.] (Bucknell UP [1973]), 124pp.
  • Paul Aloysius Doyle, Liam O’Flaherty [Twayne’s English Authors Ser., 108] (NY: Twayne 1971), 154pp.
  • A[ngeline] A. Kelly, Liam O’Flaherty the Storyteller (London: Macmillan 1976), xiii, 154pp. [contents]
  • Patrick F. Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism (Dublin: Wolfhound; NJ: Atlantic 1976), 319pp. [see extracts].
  • James M. Cahalan, Liam O’Flaherty: A Study of the Short Fiction [Twayne’s Studies in Short Fiction, 23] (Boston: Twayne 1991), xvii, 186pp., ill. [port.].
  • Hedda Friberg, An Old Order and a New: The Split World of Liam O’Flaherty’s Novels (Uppsala UP 1996), 266pp. [publ. diss.]

Monographs & Articles

  • Richard Church, review of Spring Sowing, in Spectator [Literary Supplement] (4 Oct. 1924), p.468.
  • George Russell [‘AE’], review of The Black Soul, in Irish Statesman (3 May 1924), p.244.
  • Richard Church, review of Spring Sowing, in Spectator (4 Oct. 1924), [Literary Supplement], p.468.
  • Maboth Moseley, ‘The Humanity of Liam O’Flaherty’, in The Humanist (May 1927), pp.223.
  • William Troy, ‘The Position of Liam O’Flaherty’, in Bookman [NY], LXIX (March 1929), pp.7-11.
  • Willam Troy, ‘Two Years’, in Bookman [NY], LXXII (Nov. 1930), pp.322-3.
  • Henry C. Warren, ‘Liam O’Flaherty’ in Bookman [London], LXXVII (Jan. 1930), pp.235-6.
  • J. Von Sternemann, ‘Irische Geschichten: Novellen von Liam O’Flaherty’, in Die Neue Rundschau, XLII (April 1931), pp.521-39.
  • Rhys Davies, ‘Introduction’, The Wild Swan and Other Stories (London 1932), pp.7-10.
  • Salvatore Rosati, ‘Letteratura Inglese’, in Nuova Antologia, 69 (16 Sept. 1934), pp.317-19.
  • Louis Paul-Dubois, ‘Un romancier realiste en Erin: M. Liam O’Flaherty’, in Revue des Deux Mondes, XXI (15 June 1934), pp.884-904.
  • Jeanine Delpech, ‘Aux Courses avec O’Flaherty’, in Les Nouvelles Litteéraires (May 1937), [q.p.].
  • Seán O’Faolain, ‘Don Quixote O’Flaherty’, in London Mercury, 37 (Dec. 1937), pp.170-75 [rev. in The Bell, 2, June 1941, pp.28-36].
  • Gerald Griffin, ‘Liam O’Flaherty’, in The Wild Geese: Pen Portraits of Famous Irish Exiles (London 1938), pp.191-95.
  • H. E. Bates, The Modern Short Story (London: T. Nelson), pp.157ff.
  • John V. Kelleher, ‘Irish Literature Today’, in Atlantic Monthly (March 1945), pp.70-6, and The Bell X (1945), pp.337-53.
  • Frank J. Hynes, ‘The Troubles in Ireland’, in Saturday Review of Literature, XXIX (25 May 1946), p.12.
  • Peadar O’Donnell, review of The Land, in The Bell, 12, 5 (1946), pp.42-44.
  • Frank J. Hynes, ‘The Troubles in Ireland’, in Saturday Review of Literature, XXIX (25 May 1946), p.12.
  • Francis Hackett, ‘Liam O’Flaherty As Novelist’, in On Judging Books: In General and in Particular (NY: J. Day 1947), pp.288-93.
  • Benedict Kiely, ‘Liam O’Flaherty: A Story of Discontent’, in The Month (Sept. 1949), pp.184-93.
  • Benedict Kiely, ‘Liam O’Flaherty: From the Stormswept Rock …’, in The Month (Sept. 1949), rep. in A Raid into Dark Corners and Other Essays (Cork UP 1999), pp.192-202.


  • Riley Hughes, ‘Two Irish Writers’, in America, LXXXIII (2 Sept. 1950), pp.560-61.
  • Benedict Kiely, Modern Irish Fiction: A Critique (Dublin 1950), pp.17-18, 32-8, 88-90.
  • Horace Reynolds, ‘A Man, A Mouse and a Wave’, review of Two Lovely Beasts, in NY Times (16 July 1950), [q.p.].
  • Vivian Mercier, ‘Introduction’, The Stories of Liam O’Flaherty (NY: 1956), pp.v-viii.
  • David H. Greene, ‘New Heights’, in Commonwealth, LXIV (29 June 1956), p.328.
  • Frank O’Connor, ‘A Good Short Story Must be News’, review of The Short Stories of Liam O’Flaherty, in NY Times Review of Books (10 June 1956), 1, p.20.
  • Donagh MacDonagh, ‘Afterword’ to The Informer (New York 1961), pp.183-88.
  • Seán O’Faolain, ‘Fifty Years of Irish Writing’, in Studies, LI (Spring 1962), pp.102-03.
  • George Brandon Saul, ‘A Wild Sowing: The Short Stories of Liam O’Flaherty’, in Review of English Literature, 4 (July 1963), pp.28-36 [var. pp.108-13].
  • Vivian Mercier, ‘The Irish Short Story and Oral Tradition’, in Ray B. Brown, William John Rocelli and John Loftus, eds., The Celtic Cross (West Lafayette 1964), pp. 98-116.
  • W. B Yeats, ‘Modern Ireland: An Address to American Audience, 1932-33’; rep. in Irish Renaissance, ed., Robin Skelton and David R. Clark [from ‘Irish Gathering’, in Massachusetts Review, 1964] (Dublin: Dolmen 1965), pp.13-25; pp.24.
  • Vivian Mercier, ‘Man Against Nature: The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty’, in Wascana Review, 1, 2 (1966), pp.37-46.
  • Anthony Canado, ‘Liam O’Flaherty: Introduction and Analysis ‘ (Washington Univ. 1966) [diss.].
  • Thomás de Bhaldraithe, ‘Liam O’Flaherty-Translator (?)’, in Éire -Ireland, 3, 2 (Summer 1968), pp.149-53.
  • O’Faolain, ‘Speaking of Books: Dyed Irish’, in NY Times (12 May 1968) [q.p.].
  • Michael H. Murray, ‘Liam O’Flaherty and the Speaking Voice,’ in Studies in Short Fiction, V, 2 (1968), pp.154-62.
  • John Broderick, ‘Liam O’Flaherty: A Partial View’, in Hibernia (19 Dec. 1969), p.17.


  • Angeline A. Kelly, ‘O’Flaherty on the Shelf’, Hibernia (20 Nov. 1970), p.8.
  • John Zneimer, The Literary Vision of Liam O’Flaherty (Syracuse UP 1970), xiii, 207pp.
  • Benedict Kiely, review of John Zneimer, The Literary Vision of Liam O’Flaherty, in New York Times (3 Jan. 1971), p.4.
  • Angeline A. Hampton, ‘Liam O’Flaherty: Additions to the Checklist’, in Éire -Ireland, 6, 4 (Winter 1971), pp.87-94.
  • Paul A. Doyle, Liam O’Flaherty (NY: Twayne Publ. 1971), 154pp. [incls. Bibliography, pp.137-49].
  • Paul A. Doyle, Liam O’Flaherty: An Annotated Bibliography (NY: Whitston Publishing Co., 1972), iii, 68pp.
  • Helene O’Connor, ‘Liam O’Flaherty, Literary Ecologist’, in Éire -Ireland, 7, 2 (Summer 1972), pp.47-54.
  • Maureen [O’Rourke] Murphy, ‘The Double Vision of Liam O’Flaherty’, in Éire -Ireland, 8, 3 (Autumn 1973), pp.20-25.
  • James H[oward] O’Brien, Liam O’Flaherty (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP 1973), 124pp.
  • Angeline A. Hampton [afterwards Kelly], ‘Liam O’Flaherty’s Short Stories, Visual and Aural Effects’, in English Studies, 55, 5 (Oct. 1974), pp.440-47.
  • Richard Ryan, ‘Liam O’Flaherty: A Blackened Soul’, in Hibernia (10 May 1974), p.24.
  • Brian Donnelly, ‘A Nation Gone Wrong: Liam O’Flaherty’s ‘Vision of Modern Ireland’, in Studies, 63 (1974), pp.71-81.
  • A[ngeline] A. Kelly, Liam O’Flaherty the Storyteller (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1976), xiii, 154pp. [contents].
  • Patrick F. Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism (Dublin: Wolfhound; NJ: Atlantic 1976), 319pp. [prev. as Do., UCG PhD Diss., 1972; a copy held in Princess Grace Irish Library].
  • Breandán Ó hEither, ‘Liam Ó Flaithearta agus a dhúchas’, in Comhar (Lúnasa 1976) [q.p.].
  • Seán Ó Faolain, ‘Dúil’, in John Jordan, ed., The Pleasures of Gaelic Literature (Mercier/RTÉ 1977) [q.p.].
  • Peter Costello, The Heart Grown Brutal: The Irish Revolution in Literature from Parnell to the Death of W. B. Yeats, 1891-1939 (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan; NJ: Rowman & Littlefield 1977), pp.113-16.
  • Richard J. Thompson, ‘The Sage Who Deep in Central Nature Delves: Liam O’Flaherty’s Short Stories’, Everlasting Voices: Aspects of the Modern Irish Short Story (NY: Whitston Publ. Co. 1989), [Chap. 4] pp.62-79.
  • Brendan Kennelly, ‘Liam O’Flaherty, The Unchained Storm: A View of His Short Stories’, in The Irish Short Story, ed. Patrick Rafroidi & Terence Brown (Lille 1979), pp.175-87 [rep. in Journey into Joy: Selected Prose, ed. Ake Persson, Bloodaxe 1994, pp.198-208.
  • Maureen [O’Rourke] Murphy, ‘“The Salted Goat”: Devil’s Bargain or Fable of Faithfulness?’, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 5, 2 (1979), pp.60-61.


  • John Broderick, ‘Roots’, review of Famine, in The Irish Times (19 Jan 1980), [q.p.].
  • Micheal D. Higgins, ‘Liam O’Flaherty and Peadar O’Donnell: Images of Rural Community’, in Crane Bag, 9, 1 (1985), pp.41-48.
  • George Jefferson, ‘The Man from Aran’, London Magazine (Aug.-Sept. 1985), pp.73-81.
  • Alexander Gonzalez, ‘Liam O’Flaherty’s Urban Short Stories’, in Études Irlandaises, 12, 1 (1987), pp.85-91.
  • William Daniels, ‘Introduction to the Present State of Criticism of Liam O’Flaherty’s Collection of Short Stories: Dúil’, in Éire-Ireland, 23, 2 (Summer 1988), pp.124-32.
  • Brendan Kennelly, ‘O’Flaherty His Mark’, in The Irish Times (3 Sept. 1988), ‘Week-end’, p.7.
  • John Hildebidle, Five Irish Writers: The Errand of Keeping Alive (Harvard UP 1989), [10], 245, [1]pp. [with Elizabeth Bowen, Kate O’Brien, Seán O’Faoláin & Frank O’Connor]
  • Hedda Friberg, ‘Women in Three Works by Liam O’Flaherty: In Search of an Egalitarian Impulse’, in Birgit Bramsbäck, ed., Homage to Ireland: Aspects of Culture, Literature and Language [Acta Univ. Usaliensis] (Uppsala 1990) [q.p.].
  • James Cahalan, Liam O’Flaherty: A Study of the Short Fiction [Twayne’s studies in short fiction, 23] (Boston: Twayne 1991), xvii, 186pp., ill. [port.].
  • George Jefferson, Liam O’Flaherty: A Descriptive Bibliography (Dublin: Wolfhound 1992), 176pp.
  • Hedda Friberg, An Old Order and a New: The Split World of Liam O’Flaherty’s Novels [dissertation] (Uppsala UP 1996), 266pp. [incls. primary & sec. bibl.].
  • Peter Costello, Liam O’Flaherty’s Ireland (Dublin: Wolfhound 1997), 125pp., ill. [16 photos].
  • James M. Cahalan, Double Visions: Women and Men in Modern and Contemporary Irish Fiction (Syracuse UP 1999), 234pp.


  • John Cronin, ‘Liam O’Flaherty’s Letters’, in ABEI Journal: The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies, 3 ([São Paolo] June 2001), pp.151-58.
  • Patrick F. Sheeran, The Informer [Ireland into Film Ser.] (Cork UP 2002), 98pp.
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘After the Revolution: O’Casey and O’Flaherty’, in Irish Classics (London: Granta 2000), pp.482-99.
  • Andrea Mayr, The Aran Islands and Anglo-Irish Literature: a Literary History and Selected Studies (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang 2008) [‘Liam O’Flaherty’, pp.153-76].
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Bibliographical Details
A. A. Kelly, Liam O’Flaherty: The Storyteller (London: Macmillan 1976), 154pp. CONTENTS: Pt. I: Themes, Narrative Structure and Style [1]; Animal and Nature Stories; Stories of Emotional Response; Urban and War Themes; Man in Community: The Teller and the Tale; The Control of Style and Language; Pt. II: The Protest of Vitality [65]; Man as a Part of Nature; Violence and Obsession; From Ridicule to Contempt; Attitudes towards Death; Conclusion [121]. Notes; Bibl. & Index.


An online biography by Peter Costello is available at BooksConsult > O’Flaherty page.

Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction, Pt. II (1985), lists Thy Neighbour’s Wife (London: Jonathan Cape 1923); The Black Soul (London: Jonathan Cape 1924, also NY 1925 and Bath: Lythway 1972); Spring Sowing (Cape 1924), stories; The Informer (London: Jonathan Cape 1925); Darkness (London: E. Archer, 1926), trag. in 3 acts; The Fairy Goose and Two Other Stories (London: Crosby Gaige 1927; Faber 1928), stories; The Tent and other stories (London: Cape 1926); Mr. Gilhooley (London: Jonathan Cape 1926); The Assassin (London: Jonathan Cape 1928); The House of Gold (London: Jonathan Cape 1929); The Mountain Tavern (London: Jonathan Cape 1929); The Ecstasy of Angus (London: Joiner & Steel 1931); Skerritt (London: Gollancz 1932); The Wild Swan and Other Stories (London: Joiner & Steel 1932), Two Years (1930); I Went to Russia (1931); stories; The Martyr (London: Gollancz 1933); Shame the Devil (London: Grayson & Grayson 1934); Hollywood Cemetery (1935), novel/autobiog.; Famine (London: Gollancz 1937); Land (Gollancz 1946); Two Lovely Beasts and Other Stories (London: Gollancz 1948); Insurrection (Gollancz 1950); The Short Stories of Liam O’Flaherty (London: Jonathan Cape 1937); The Stories of Liam O’Flaherty (NY: Devin-Adair 1956), intro. Vivian Mercier; The Pedlar’s Revenge (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1976) [mostly any with same-year American eds. by sundry publishers in New York); Dúil [Desire] (Dublin: Sairseal & Dill 1953), stories; Darkness (1926), a play [corr. DIL]. Also The Return of the Brute (London: Mandrake 1929); A tourist’s Guide to Ireland (Mandrake 1929).

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, selects only ‘The Mountain Tavern’ from the collection of stories of that name (1929), which it ranks along with ‘Guests of the Nation’ (O’Connor) and ‘Midsummer Madness’ (O’Faolain) as dramatizations of war and its havoc on the human family. Author cited in Vol. 3 as Liam Ó Flaithearta (Liam O’Flaherty), with BIOG [as supra]; notes two distinct periods of short-stories in Irish, early 1920s, and late 1940s early 1950s. Bibl. lists Dúil, Sáirseal & Dill 1953. Vol. 3 selects from Spring Sowing, ‘Going into Exiles’ [117-22]; Dúil, ‘An Chulaith Nua’, ‘The New Suit’ [pp.838-44]; pp.815-16, BIBL, 128 incl. Brendan Kennelly, ‘Liam O’Flaherty, The Unchained Storm. A View of His Short Stories’, in P. Rafroidi and T. Brown, eds., The Irish Short Story (Lille 1979), pp.175-87; John N. Zneimer, The Literary Vision of Liam O’Flaherty (Syracuse UP 1970); also, Peadar O’Donnell, review of The Land by Liam O’Flaherty in The Bell, 12, no. 5 (1946), pp.42-44; BIO-BIBL, 933 [as above].

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Film studies
Helena Sheehan, Irish Television Drama (1987), citing The Informer, dir. John Ford (USA 1935), 91 mins.; concerns Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen), with strength and brain of ox, betrays his only friend, IRA man Frankie McPhillip, to Black and Tans; adapted from novel by O’Flaherty, evokes expressionist night-city with almost non-existent sets; insistent musical score and relentless crucifixion symbolism can be hard going today, feeling of society in grip of civil war as electric as ever. [Program of Walter Reade Theatre, 1994]. RTE Film, Going into Exile, Liam O’Flaherty/Tony Barry, adpt. Eoin Ó Suilleachain (1969); Land, 94, 107, 114, 121, Liam O’Flaherty/Louis Lentin (1966), 8 episodes.

Kevin Rockett, et al., eds., Cinema & Ireland (1988), citing The Informer (1929), 59 [silent version made in Britain by American born dir. of German films, Arthur Robison]; The Informer (1935), 17 [dir. John Ford and made in Hollywood, featuring J. M. Kerrigan, previously Irish director of eight films for the Film Company of Ireland], 59 [led directly to his Ford’s second Irish project, The Plough & the Stars], 96 154 [national attempt to build on Ford’s success], 183 [Cal compared to], 185, n.11 [film noir], 234 [compared with Odd Man Out by C. C. O’Brien], [compared in Irish violence genre 265]. Also: The Puritan (filmed in French 1938, dir. Jeff Musso), Rockett, op. cit. p.59. 185n2.

Anthony Slide, in Kevin Rockett, et al., eds, Cinema and Ireland (1988), pp.79-81 [ill.], discusses Ford’s version of The Informer won him the first of four Academy Awards for direction, as well as Best Actor for McLaglen as Gypo Nolan, Best Music for Max Steiner, and Best Writing for Dudley Nichols. Slide comments: ‘Although the film is well made and intelligently produced, The Informer fails to come to grips with the political situation in Ireland and seems to go out of its way to avoid controversy; despite this, the film was initially banned in the then-Irish Free State.’

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A. N. Jeffares & Anthony Kamm, eds., An Irish Childhood: An Anthology (London: Collins 1987), incls. ‘The New Suit’.

Bernard Share, Far Green Fields, 1500 Years of Irish Travel Writing, ed. (Blackstaff 1992), incls. an extract from Two Years (Jon. Cape 1933; first publ. 1930).

Peter Fallon & Seán Golden, eds., Soft Day: A Miscellany Of Contemporary Irish Writing (Notre Dame/Wolfhound 1980), incls. The Mermaid’.

Andrew Carpenter & Peter Fallon, eds., The Writers: A Sense of Place (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1980), incls. ‘The Widow’ [unfinished story], with photo-port., pp.154-56.

Alexander G. Gonzalez, ed., Short Stories from the Irish Renaissance: An Anthology (Whitston 1993), incls. ‘Spring Sowing’, portrait of newly-married couple performing this ritual for the first time; ‘The Tramp’, balancing allure of road with appeal of security in flavoured conversation; ‘The Outcast’, driven to suicide by unforgiving orthodoxy; ‘The Fall of Joseph Timmins’, domestic drama of sexuality, greed and blackmail.

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COPAC, ORIGINAL EDITIONS: The wild swan and other stories; by; with a frontispiece by P.V. Moon; and a foreword by Rhys Davies (1932); The martyr (1934); The assassin (1928); The mountain tavern and other stories (1929); The wild swan, and other stories; by; with a frontispiece by P.V. Moon and a foreword by Rhys Davies (1932); The house of gold (1929); Return of the brute (1929); Shame the devil (1934); Skerrett (1932); The tent (1926); The Puritan (1932); The stars, the world, and the women; By Rhys Davies with a foreword by and an illustration by Frank C. Pape (1930); The informer (Dent/Four Square 1958); The black soul (1928); Shame the devil (1934); Spring sowing (1927); Skerrett (1932); I went to Russia (1931); Duil; Liam O Flaithearta (1953). INTERMEDIATE EDITIONS: The informer: a novel [new rep. edn.] (London: Cape 1971) [i.e.1972], 272pp.; More short stories of Liam O’Flaherty (Dent 1971); Thy neighbour’s wife (Bath: Lythway Press Ltd 1972), 350pp. [Portway Combe Park, Bath, Somerset BA1 3NF]; The short stories of [New English Library] (London: Dent 1970); The Puritan (Bath: Lythway Press 1973), 3-326pp.; Der Stromer: 21 Erzahlungen aus Irland; [von]; herausgegeben, ubersetzt und mit einem Nachwort versehen von Elizabeth Schnack [...]; 8 Farbzeichnungen und 41 einfarbige Abbildungen nach Radierungen von Gertrude Degenhardt Frankfurt am Main: Buchergilde Gutenberg 1975), 180pp., ill. [short stories]; The sniper; [and], Spring sowing; [and], Going into exile; [edited and simplified by Michael Reynolds] [Cambridge English language learning, 5] (Cambridge UP 1977), [1], 34pp. [text on inside cover]; Die Landung: 12 stories [Story - Bibliothek; hrsg. und aus dem Englischen ubersetzt von Elisabeth Schnack] (Munchen: Nymphenburger 1959), 144pp.; Das Zicklein der Wildgeiss: Tiergeschichten; [ubertragen von Elisabeth Schnack] (1958); Famine [New English Library] (London: Dent 1966); The assassin (Bath: Cedric Chivers 1969). MODERN EDITIONS: Short stories (1990); The informer (1989); 3. The short stories of (1986); Leargas ar ‘Duil’ Ui Fhlaithearta; le Fiachra O Dubhthaigh (1981); Land (1946); The black soul (1972); The pedlar’s revenge; selected and introduced by A.A. Kelly (1976); The ecstasy of Angus; illustrated by Lucy Kilroy; afterword by A.A Kelly (1978); The wilderness; illustrations by Jeanette Dunne; edited for publication by A.A. Kelly (1978); The informer (1989); Liam O’Flaherty’s short stories (1981); Liam O’Flaherty’s short stories (1981); Shame the devil (1981); The black soul (1981); Famine (1979) [counter details: St Lucia, University of Queensland Press 1980, 448pp. orig. London: Gollancz, 1937); Short stories: The pedlar’s revenge and other stories; selected and introduced by A.A. Kelly (1982); The test of courage (Dublin: Wolfhound 1977), 2-27pp., illustrations by Terence O’Connell; 41. All things come of age and The test of courage; illustrated by Terence O’Connell (Wolfhound 1984); The wave and other stories; selected and edited by A.A. Kelly (1980); The test of courage; illustrations by Terence o’Connell (Wolfhound 1977); Liam O’Flaherty’s short stories (1981); All things come of age: a rabbit story (1977); Skerrett (Dublin: Wolfhound 1977); Insurrection (Wolfhound 1988), 254pp.

Belfast Public Library The Black Soil (1925, 1928); Ecstasy of Angus (1931); Fairy Goose (1927); Famine (1937); Hollywood Cemetary [corrig.] (1935); House of Gold (1929; The Informer (1929); Life of Tim Healy (1927, 1929); The Martyr (1933); Mr. Gilhoolery (1926); Spring Sowing (1924); Thy Neighbour’s Wife (1923); A Tourists Guide to Ireland (1930); Two Years (1930). ALSO, Liam O’Flaherty, Das Zicklein de Wildgeiss, Tiergeschichten; ubertragen von Elisabeth Schnck zichnungen von Gerhard M Hotop (Munich: Kosel-Verlag 1958), 129pp.

Hyland Catalogue (No. 214) lists The Informer (1st US edn., 1925); The Assassin (1928); The Mountain Tavern and Other Stories (1929); Do. (Tauchnitz ed., 1929) [contemporary with 1st ed.]; Two Years (1930); The Puritan (1st gen. ed. 1932) [dated 24th Jan. 1932, one day before official publ.]; Skerrett (1932); Famine (1937); Two Lovely Beasts and Other Stories (1948).

Wolfhound Press Catalogue (1993), lists Short Stories of Liam O’Flaherty (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1989), 222pp [pb 0 86327 225 8]; George Jefferson, Liam O’Flaherty, A descriptive bibliography of his works, [hdb. 35£]; Skerrett; The Assassin; Insurrection; also A. A. Kelly, The Letters of Liam O’Flaherty (Wolfhound 1993), 200pp [0-86327 380 7; actual release 1996].

Wolfhound Press, The Assassin (1993 Edn.), title-page verso lists Famine; Short Stories [“The Pedlar’s Revenge and Other Stories”]; The Wilderness; Skerrett; The Assassin; Mr. Gilhooley; Thy Neighbour’s Wife; The Ecstasy of Angus; The Black Soul; Shame the Devil (autobiography); All Things Come of Age [and] The Test of Courage, illustrated by Terence O’Connell; also forthcoming, A Tourist’s Guide to Ireland; A. A. Kelly, ed., Letters of Liam O’Flaherty, ed.; George Jefferson, A Descriptive Bibliography; The Collected Stories of Liam O’Flaherty.

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David O’Callaghan (I) [the model for the eponymous school-teacher in Skerrett]: Tom O’Flaherty writes in Aranmen-All (1934) that the model for Skerrett in the novel of that name ‘had no word of irish when he came to Aran’ and that ‘after he had mastered it he impressed upon the islanders the importance of preserving it and taught them to pride themselves on its possession’ (p.158.) Further: ‘Mr. O’Callaghan did great work. He was no cheap jingo nationalist of the type who froths at the mouth at the mention of an Englishman; but he hated British imperialism with all its works and pomps.’ (Ibid.; quoted in Patrick Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism, UCG 1972, p.40.)

David O’Callaghan (II): Patrick Sheeran documents a letter written by David O’Callaghan, O’Flaherty’s former teacher, to the Galway Express (28 Feb. 1914) giving a plaintiff account of his eviction ‘at the suit of Rev. M. Farragher, PP, Aran Islands’, and continuing: ‘The late Mr W. E. Gladstone styled an eviction “a sentence of death”. These sentences were carried out in the past by a few evicting landlords, but it is rather a novel incident for a priest professing national sentiments to play the role of an evictor. Trusting you will kindly insert this - I am [&c.]’ Sheeran notes that the circumstances are treated by Elizabeth Rivers in Stranger in Aran while ‘various fantastic elaborations of it’ have entered local folklore. (Novels of Liam O’Flaherty, 1976, p.174.)

David O’Callaghan (III): See A. C. Haddon (MA Cantab.) and C. R. Browne (BA, MD, MRIA), The Ethnography of the Aran Islands, County Galway [Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (1889-1901)], Vol. 2 (1891-1893), pp.768-830: ‘When the Anthropometric Commission was first constituted, it was decided that the main portion of its work should fall into two categories: 1, the routine observations made in the Anthropometric Laboratory; 2, researches in the districts. [...] The present communication is the first of what we hope to be a series of studies in Irish Ethnography. (p.768.) We are further told that ‘The senior author is indebted to Mr. David O’Callaghan, the National school-master’. In the ensuing there are references to Beddoe’s The Races of Britain (1885) and the “Index of Nigrescence”. [see JSTOR copy, online; accessed 18.05.2010.]

Mr. Johnson [the model for Mr. Burke, a run-down Anglo-Irish landlord in Skerrett)]: his home Kilmurvey House was called by Tom O’Flaherty ‘the family seat’ in view of his [Johnson’s] marriage of a young woman who was dg. of the senior chief line in the wider family O’Flaherty. George Petrie recorded his surprise at finding court-paintings of the O’Flahertie ancestors in the house of one of the members of this line. (See Patrick Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism, UCG 1972, p.22 & seq.)

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Harry Clarke’s “nude” inspired by Nelly in Mr Gilhooley (1926)

Nelly by Clarke
“She came towards him dancing, moving the folds of the
veil, so that they unfolded slowly, as she danced.”
Mr Gilhooley by Liam O’Flaherty (Municipal Gallery, Dublin).
Photo credit: Frank Callery via Facebook (25.08.2018.)

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The Informer [1] Novel of 1925, set in the immediately post-Civil War period, and concerning with Gypo Nolan, a brutish man who sells his fellow-revolutionary Frankie McPhillip for £20 and lays the blame on Rat Mulligan, another quasi-communist revolutionary before dying in a hail of bullets in a church after his mistress Katie Fox betrays him to Commandant Gallagher.

The Informer [2]: O’Flaherty wrote the story with a view to having it made into a German film, with the result that all the hallmarks of German Expressionism are contained in the original writing. John Ford shifted the events back to the War of Independence in order to make the Black and Tans the bad guys and to accord with the simplified view of Irish history among Irish Americans. (according to Patrick Sheeran (The Informer [Ireland into Film Ser.], Cork UP 2002.)

The Informer [3]: recounts the last hours of Gypo Nolan, a hunted man who has inadvertanly betrayed a Republican gunman responsible of the accidental shooting of a police officer. (See Eamonn Kelly, review of Tom Murphy, The Informer: Adapted from the Novel of Liam O’Flaherty, in Books Ireland, March 2009, p.56.)

The Informer [4]: O’Flaherty’s novel was adapted for stage by Tom Murphy for the Dublin Th. Fest. in 1981 (see Kelly, op. cit. [supra], in Books Ireland, March 2009, p.56). Note however that Micheál MacLiammóir is said to have appeared as Gypo in a Gate Theatre adaptation which can only have occurred before his death in 1978 (see Michael MacLiammóir, Enter Certain Players, Dolmen 1978).

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To-morrow? James Cahalan attributes the founding of short-lived To-morrow to O’Flaherty - though normally attributed to Francis Stuart, and cf. Life, supra: ‘contributed a clarion-call editorial of To-morrow (1924)’.

Radical Club: The Radical Club that O’Flaherty formed with Francis Stuart, Cecial Salkeld, Austin Clarke, F. R. Higgins, Brinsley MacNamara and Padraig Ó Conaire is the subject of remarks in Sean O’Casey’s Inisfallen, Fare Thee Well: ‘a group of young writers disliked his [Yeats’s] booming opinions on literature and insubstantial things without any local habitation or name [... &c.’]. (See Patrick Sheeran, Novels of Liam O’Flaherty, 1976, p.84-85; see further remarks under O’Casey, Quotations, infra - viz., ‘he [Sean] saw clear enough that O’Flaherty [...] was worse than Yeats, without the elder man’s grace and goodwill [... &c.]’.)

Reading matter (1): Tom O’Flaherty, Liam’s elder brother, was presented with a copy of Séadna by Roger Casement. (Patrick Sheeran writes: ‘Novel is too large a term of Séadna, which is essentally a retelling in novel form of the folktale of the man who sold his soul to the devil. This book, with two others, A. M. Sullivan’s The Story of Ireland and the Gaelic Version of Fairies at Work by William P. Ryan, are the only books we hear of in the O’Flaherty household.’ (Novels of Liam O’Flaherty, 1976, p.57.)

Reading matter (2): Sheeran also gives an account of the English curriculum at Rockwell, where O’Flaherty read Kingsley’s Heroes [?Carlyle], Macauley’s Lays of Ancient Rome; Scott’s Lady of the Lake and selections from the Spectator; and sel. chaps. of Coleridge’s Biog. Literaria with selections from Wordsworth - respectively in Junior, Middle and Senior classes. (Sheeran, op. cit., p.59.)

All those tailors: - cf. the Famine: ‘It was there [Navan] I became acquainted with a learned tailor named Gaynor, who, although no classical scholar, was one of the most naturally eloquent men I ever met. This tailor had great influence, and was looked up to as a prodigy, and indeed it was well for me that he possessed this influence, because he took me under his patronage and protection. He was also very pious, one of the most singularly religious men I ever met.’ (Autobiography, 1896; Belfast: White Row Press 1996, p.148.)

Tom O’Flaherty: In Aranmen-All (1934) Tom O’Flaherty writes: ‘I liked the emotional, soft, witty, story-telling Ganlys better than the hard quarrelsome, haughty, “ferocious O’Flaherties [...].”’ (p.163., quoted in Patrick Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism, UCG 1972, p.17.)

Francis Stuart: For an account of Liam O’Flaherty’s life in London - or those parts of it having to do with gambling - see Francis Stuart, Black List, Section H (Southern Illinois UP 1971; rep edn. London: Martin Brian & Kee 1975).

Banned: John Ford’s film version of The Informer moved the action from Civil War to the War of Independence to circumvent hostile reception, but was nevertheless banned in Ireland.

Double-vision: see titles James M. Cahalan, Double Visions: Women and Men in Modern and Contemporary Irish Fiction (Syracuse UP 1999), 234pp. and Maureen Moseley, ‘The Double Vision of Liam O’Flaherty’, in Eire-Ireland, VIII, 3 [q.d.], pp.20-25.

Rotunda Soviet: The soviet, which was declared by the Committee of the Unemployed on 18 Jan. 1922, arose from the occupation of he Rotunda in Cavendish Row between Wednesday and Friday of that week, involving a force of approx. 200 men. The occupation and its communist intent gave rise to hostile gatherings outside the building and the firing of some shots over the heads of the crowd from within the building. The chief aim of the crowd was apparently the removal of the red flag flown from a window and a young man was injured by a fall in so attempting to do, being removed to Jervis St. Hospital but soon released. The actual site of the occupation was the present Gate Theatre on the eastern side to the Rotunda building whose larger chamber was the scene of the foundation of the Irish Volunteers under Lord Charlement in 1778. Contemporary reports were printed in The Irish Times and the Irish Independent. (See ‘Raising the Red Flag at the Rotunda. The workers occupation of January 1922’, at Come Here to Me [blog] by Donal 27 Aug, 2010 - online; accessed 17.12.2021 - following an enquiry from Mike Millotte addressed to Ricorso via email.) See also Emmet O’Connor, The Red and the Green:  Ireland, Russia and the Communist Internationals, 1919-43 (UCD Press 2005) where the episode is mentioned.

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