Frank O’Connor had already become head librarian in Pembroke Library in 1928 when he wrote his masterpiece, the war story ‘Guests of the Nation’. Already drifting away from his pre-Treaty active republicanism, in this acclaimed work O’Connor does not indict the Volunteers nor their raisons d’être for war; neither does he justify violence. Instead, difficult questions of loyalty and morality regarding Ireland’s revolutionary past are directed at the reader. Hilary will examine the political context underpinning O’Connor’s thinking in ‘Guests’, while also tracing his own development as a writer in post-independence Ireland.
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