discipline" that "exerted immense control over the ways a people thought about themselves and others." It is O'Faolain's sensitive engagement with such difficult subjects that leads Delaney to a better understanding of the outrage provoked by the banning of the novel. Delaney continues his discussion of religion in his illustration of the different priest figures surfacing in A Purse of Coppers, in which the priests are sympathetic characters, butare also symbols of entrapment and stasis. Delaney describes the collection as "but are world with clear Joycean echoes, drawing upon naturalist concerns (determinism, inheritance, the writer as diagnostician), and intertwining this with elements of documentary realism." Here, he sees the struggle of the priests in O'Faolain's stories as emblematic of the culture as a whole: it must confront its dependence on the authority of the church for identity formation and reject the psychological control used to contain cultural difference. Arguments like Delaney's depict O'Faolain as in many ways a revolutionary figure, creating space for the midcentury imaginations of future censored authors like Edna O'Brien and John McGahern, among others. In Seán O'Faolain: Literature, Inheritance and the 1930s, Paul Delaney gives us the O'Faolain we want to read--a man who
New Hibernia Review – Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Published: Oct 14, 2016
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