"Between childhood and night" – The role of literature and emotion in the writing of Conor Cruise O'Brien.
Citation:Kelly, Marion Catherine, "Between childhood and night" – The role of literature and emotion in the writing of Conor Cruise O'Brien., Trinity College Dublin.School of English, 2021
Marion Kelly (Tara PhD Final) (ID 1753734).pdf (Thesis submission) 1.940Mb
This dissertation focuses on a number of major influences on Conor Cruise O'Brien's writing. It consequently explores how various pressures — literary, emotional and political — shaped the imaginary of this major figure in modern Irish history. An exploration of the impact of certain writers, and intellectuals, such as Owen Sheehy-Skeffington, Sean O'Faolain, Albert Camus, W.B. Yeats and Simone Weil, who were attractive to O'Brien, in terms of satisfying, or sometimes mirroring, different demands, will to some extent lead to a greater understanding of O'Brien's development as a writer. It will also shed light on the complicated literary and emotional mood of mid-twentieth-century Ireland. Roy Foster has acknowledged the literary complexity of the period following the Civil War, a period when writing often became a struggle to come to terms with sides taken; a society left questioning 'Did we do that? How did it happen? How did we end up here?' The pattern of thought that emerged from O'Briens' literary engagements illuminated a complex literary inheritance that infiltrated his writing. O'Brien's life, and the polemical nature of his work, provide a rich opportunity for exploring the counter-currents of Irish emotional and intellectual history 'an area that merits deeper exploration', according to the historian Tom Garvin. Any attempt to understand O'Brien's political and ethical maturation without tracing the formative, and formidable, influence of Owen Sheehy-Skeffington on him is unsatisfactory. This thesis explores that influence, and the related influence of Sean O'Faolain. O'Brien always maintained that he had been consistent in his thinking despite many claims to the contrary, and if he is approached at the level of imaginative influence, this assertion is credible.
Author: Kelly, Marion Catherine
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of English. Discipline of English
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available