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Title: An duine aonair agus an tsochai i saothar Phadraic Ui Chonaire
Author: Mac Bhloscaidh , Marcas
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is a postcolonial study of the work of Padraic O Conaire. From the great surge of the Cultural Renaissance to the reconsolidating of conservative forces under the Free State, O Conaire's career encapsulates the defining period of modern Ireland. As the Introduction discusses, this thesis sites his work centrally in that revolutionary era, with O Conaire influenced by the great writers of European Realism who made a profound critique of their own societies with their central focus on the lived experience of the individual. Instead of the modern alienation of his characters, or the radicalism of the author's own politics, both of which comprise the most prominent strands in his critical portrayal to date, O Conaire is seen to make that necessary synthesis between the psychological and the political aspects as a creative writer. Though rooted in the historical experience of the race, the anti-authoritarian project of Postcolonialism is defined as an ongoing challenge in an age of global capitalism and the working through of the psycho-cultural effects of colonization. Noting their emphasis on the biographical element, the Literature Review examines the main contemporary full-length critical studies of 6 Conaire: P6.draic 6 Conaire - Deorai (1994) by Padraigin Riggs which investigates the themes of alienation and exile in the life and the work; Padraic 6 Conaire - Sceal a Bheatha (1995) by Eibhlin Ni Chionnaith which unearths a wealth of biographical information to finally create a portrait of a bohemian Romantic; and Reabhloid Phadraic Ui Chonaire (2007) by Aindrias O Cathasaigh, which directs its attention on O Conaire's journalism and his articulation of a revolutionary socialism; and Saoirse Anama Ui Chonaire (1984) by Tomas O Broin's which is a monograph on O Conaire's one novel Deoraiocht and argues for its socialist expressionism based on the author's lived experience. Three significant short studies out of the wide range of essays on the writer are then reviewed: 'Padraic O Conaire' by Seosamh Mac Grianna (1936) which portrays O Conaire as a heroic literary pioneer for all his faults, 'Padraic 6 Conaire agus Cearta an Duine' by Declan Kiberd (1983) which emphasizes his eccentric individualism and his socialism, and 'An tOrsceal Readach III' by Alan Titley (1991) which claims a special kind of literary realism for Deoraiocht. The remaining works of the Literature Review develop and deepen the postcolonial basis of this thesis, being significant studies in the international and in the Irish context: The Colonizer and the Colonized by the Tunisian writer AlbeIt Memmi, which is a piercing sociological and psychological exposure of the phenomenon of colonization; Tren bhFearann Breac - an Dilaithriu Culruir agus Nualitriocht na Gaeilge Ie Mairin Nic Eoin which applies a wide range of postcolonial theorizing to modern Irish language literature; and 'Decolonizing the Mind: Language and Literature in Ireland' by Gearoid Denvir which is a polemical account of the psycho-cultural aspect of colonization and also treats of the marginalization of modern Irish language and literature. The Review includes a brief examination of the work which inspired the title of Denvir's essay, namely Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. The first chapter of this thesis discusses Deoraiocht as a powerful anti -colonial novel, a monologue of rebellion located in the heart of empire. The second chapter examines important statements from O Conaire's journalistic output concerning the role of the writer in society, and about Irish society itself in the troubled period from 1917-1921, in a critical context that compares the basic radicalism of the modern Russian writer with the Gaelic literary tradition. The third chapter considers O Conaire's five plays, from their original inspiration in Douglas Hyde's plays about traditional Gaeltacht society, to their development of the comic hero of European theatre. The selection of his short stories in the fourth chapter reflects the arc of O Conaire's opus, from Paidin Mhaire, the tragic victim of the colonial system, to the subversive comedy of Fearfeasa Mac Feasa with his challenge to conventional officialdom. The Conclusion looks forward as well as back in that O Conaire as a postcolonial writer straddled the official British colony founded on political, social and economic repression and the official Free State with its emerging conservative, bourgeois and religious ethos. Just like the great modernist pioneer in Irish writing in English, James Joyce, who was born in the same month as O Conaire, his own work is seen to be intimately bound up with the project of decolonization and with the realization of the individual as the embodiment of a changed society. Also, like the dispossessed Gaelic poet of the seventeenth century and the modern underground writer of the Soviet State, O Conaire's work is shown as retaining from beginning to end the integrity of the outsider committed to the truth of individual expression against the ideological control of the dominant institutions of pre- and post-imperial Irish society. If we Irish want the genuine freedom that O Conaire advocated, then we can discover the hidden foundations of our contemporary society in his work, in which there is a truthful reflection of, and liberating insight into, the period that formed today's Ireland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Padraic O Conaire, Irish literature, Celtic literature, Journalism, Socialism