A Critical Study of Sean O’ Faolain’s Life and Work

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This first full-length critical study of Sean O’Faolain’s oeuvre in 25 years explores this neglected Irish writer and puts his achievement in historical and political context. Arndt’s theoretical framework uses primarily Foucault and Fanon. Though O’Faolain tried to convey a picture of himself as an internationalist, he also remained emotionally attached to his Irish roots. This study proposes that these fundamental points lie at the heart his often contradictory arguments on contemporary Irish issues such as the Gaelic heritage, Catholicism, nationalism, and the Anglo-Irish and English colonial presence in Ireland. Essential reading for those interested in cultural, political, historical and literary aspects of 20th century Ireland.


“. . . one of the best contributions for a full understanding and appreciation of O’Faolain’s life and work that I have read so far. It is both a biography and critical study. As a biography, it is accurate and updated; as a critical study, it shows the critic’s great insight and reveals a very perceptive mind. Her style – clear, fluent, humorous - makes some very pleasant reading. . . . publication of this book by Marie Arndt will be greeted as an event by all the students of Irish literature and will persuade many readers, including specialist readers, to take a closer look at Sean O’Faolain.” – Giuseppe Serpillo

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Introduction: A Product of the Colonial Periphery
1. 1930s: Post-Independence Backlash
2. 1940s: Public Debate
3. 1950s: Searching for an Intellectual and Liberal Catholic Ireland
4. 1960s-1980s: Surrender to Imagination of the Past
Conclusion; Works Cited; Select Bibliography; Index

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