Rebel by vocation

Seán O'Faoláin and the generation of The Bell

By Niall Carson

Rebel by vocation


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3375-5
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £21.00
  • Published Date: October 2018
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Ireland, Regional studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / General, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Cultural studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies


This is a comprehensive study of one of the most influential literary groups in post-independence Ireland: the writers and editors of the literary magazine The Bell. Seán O'Faoláin and the generation of writers that matured in the shadows of W. B. Yeats and James Joyce dominated the literary landscape in Ireland in the build-up to, and during, the Second World War. This is their story, as told through the history of one journal: The Bell. Working with previously unpublished archival material, this study looks to illuminate the relationships, disputes and loves of the contributors to Ireland's most important 'little magazine' under the guiding influence of its founding editor, Seán O'Faoláin. In doing so, it sheds new light on O'Faoláin's early influences and his attitude towards the Church and the state in Ireland.


'The book makes excellent use of archival research, including fascinating material quoted from O'Faolains's dealings with the BBC.'
Claire Connolly, Irish Times, May 2016

'The book is a significant contribution that deserves a wide readership.'
Brad Kent, Université Laval, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol.40


Introduction: Rebel by vocation
1. Beginnings and blind alleys: O'Faoláin and his circle
2. A broken world: Church and State in The Bell
3. The mart of ideas: O'Faoláin and Literature
4. The thin society: O'Faoláin and the descent of The Bell
5. Conclusion: Signing off
Works Cited


Niall Carson is Research Associate at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool

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