Edna O'Brien

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O'Brien, Edna

O'Brien, Edna, 1932–, Irish writer. Although she moved to London in 1954, her constant theme and recurring setting is Ireland. In richly sensual prose, O'Brien explores the dreams, failed marriages, doomed affairs, brief happiness, and ultimate disenchantment of individual women in her homeland's enclosed, sexually repressed culture, and her first seven books were once banned there. Her early works include a trilogy, The Country Girls (1960), The Lonely Girl (1962), and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964). Among her subsequent novels are Casualties of Peace (1966), Johnny I Hardly Knew You (1977), and The High Road (1988). Her later novels, such as House of Splendid Isolation (1994), Down by the River (1997), and In the Forest (2002), continue to focus on the vicissitudes of women's lives while treating larger themes of the Irish experience. The semiautobiographical Light of Evening (2006), her 20th novel, features a version of her mother as a central character. The Little Red Chairs (2016), her next novel, is partly set in Ireland but treats the wider world in the character of a Balkan war criminal. In Girl (2019), she maintains her theme of women's suffering but focuses on a young woman in West Africa who is kidnapped, raped, and brutalized by Islamic fundamentalists. O'Brien also is known for her beautifully wrought short stories, which are collected in The Love Object (1968), A Scandalous Woman (1974), A Fanatic Heart (1984), Lantern Slides (1990), and Saints and Sinners (2011), and selected from those collections in The Love Object (2015). Other works include brief biographies of James Joyce (1999) and Byron (2009), essays, plays, and screenplays.


See her memoirs, Mother Ireland (1976) and Country Girl (2013); studies by G. Eckley (1974), B. Schrank (1998), A. Greenwood (2003), L. Colletta and M. O'Connor, ed. (2006), and K. Laing et al., ed. (2006).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Contributors include Edna O'Brien, Seamus Heaney, Anne-Marie Duff, Andrew Motion, Jane Horrocks, Cillian Murphy, Alun Armstrong, Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce.
We have Richard Ellmann's exhaustively researched tome and we have the strikingly elegant perceptions of Edna O'Brien's brief life of one of her undoubted mentors.
Maureen O'Connor takes up a comparable position in her essay on Edna O'Brien. She examines the figural connections between animal and woman in O'Brien's work as marking the abjection of the feminine in patriarchal cultures, an abjection that has the power to unsettle and disturb.
In her intertextual analysis of Edna O'Brien's novel Down by the River, Jane Elizabeth Dougherty echoes Fahs's concerns about young women who are prevented from speaking openly about their sexuality.
Haunted Malvern Festival Theatre Edna O'Brien is better known as a novelist than a dramatist, and it is perhaps no coincidence that the best aspects of this play, first staged at the Royal Exchange in Manchester last year, sound like elegant prose.
BYRON IN LOVE by Edna O'Brien, Phoenix, pounds 7.99 LORD George Gordon Byron was the first literary rock star, a fallen angel whose flaws were redeemed by his magnetism, often reckless heroism and tragic destiny.
Christian terms run from "Abbot" to "Virtues." Inconsistently, although "abbot," "friar," "Jesuit," "mendicant," "monasticism," "monk," "pardoner," "parson," and "summoner" are included as Christian terms, for "nuns," "convents," or "priests" the reader must resort to the index to find the terms in an extended discussion of the Catholic boarding school as part of the essay on Edna O'Brien's story "Sister Imelda" (405-07).
SAN FRANCISCO A Magic Theater presentation of a play in two acts by Edna O'Brien, based on her novel "The Country Girls." Directed by Chris Smith.
Edna O'Brien, as McGoohan's wife Kathleen, narrates the film, which also features a rare film appearance by Belfast-born Derek Lord.
The controversies generated by the banning of works by John McGahern and Edna O'Brien in the 1960s helped fuel the movement for reform, and in 1967 the censorship legislation was overhauled.