O'Faoláin, Seán, 1900-1991

Alternative names
Birth 1900-02-22
Death 1991-04-20
Irish (Republic of Ireland)

Biographical notes:

Seán O'Faoláin was born John Whelan in County Cork, Ireland; he came from a loyalist family, and initally opposed the Easter Rebellion of 1916, but the excessive force used by the British to suppress the rebellion inspired his sense of Irish nationalism. He took Gaelic lessons and earned a scholarship to University College, Cork, changing his name to the Gaelic form. He studied and worked in America for several years, but was drawn back to Ireland, where he resolved to become a writer. Diverse and prolific, he wrote novels, criticism, essays, biographies, and other non-fiction, but is best remembered for his short stories, distinguished by their irony and craftsmanship. Although he had a realistic and sometimes critical view of Ireland, he remained there, encouraging young writers and serving as a sort of benevolent (but grouchy) uncle.

From the description of Seán O'Faoláin letter to Jon Carroll and typescript foreword, 1946-1964. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 69937543

Irish author and novelist.

O'Faoláin was born in Cork. He attended University College-Cork, and became involved in the Irish Republican Army (1917). He worked as a traveling book salesman but in 1922 he returned to the IRA and worked in a bomb-making shop. Disaffection with the republican cause, O'Faoláin went back to school receiving an M.A. in English and a second M.A. in Irish. In 1926 he set out for Harvard University to study philology under George Lyman Kitteredge, and met and married Eileen Gould (1927). In 1933 he, Eileen and their baby daughter, Julia returned to Ireland and he began his freelance writing career. It is during this time that he established The bell, one of Ireland's finest literary magazines. He encouraged many young Irish writers, including Brendan Behan, James Plunkett, and Bryan MacMahon. He died after a brief illness in Dublin in 1991.

From the description of Seán O'Faoláin papers, 1926-1969, undated. (Boston College). WorldCat record id: 33140919


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  • Authors, Irish
  • Authors, Irish--20th century--Manuscripts
  • Authors, Irish--20th century
  • Authors, Irish--20th century--Correspondence
  • Poets, Irish--20th century--Correspondence
  • Authors, Irish--20th century--Biography


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