Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Encyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography

Brinsley McNamara, pseudonym of John Weldon Biography

(1890–1963), John Weldon, The Valley of the Squinting Windows, The Silver Tassie, The Clanking of Chains

abbey irish novels production

Irish novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, born in Delvin, Co. Westmeath. In 1910, while studying in Dublin for a career with the Customs and Excise, he joined the Abbey Players and accompanied them on their first tour of the USA. His first, and most notorious, novel, The Valley of the Squinting Windows (1918), is a vituperative study of the narrow-mindedness and religious orthodoxy of a rural community; it was burned in Delvin and vilified from pulpits throughout Ireland. In 1924 he became registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland, succeeding James Stephens. He was also a founding member of the Irish Academy of Letters and, for a brief period in 1935, a director of the Abbey Theatre; ironically, he resigned in protest over the production of O'Casey'sThe Silver Tassie (1935). The reaction to his first novel did not deter McNamara's satiric impulse, and in The Clanking of Chains (1919) and The Irishman (1920) he undermined the Irish pastoral which had been made fashionable by Lady Gregory. He began writing fiction and his novels became increasingly self-reflective until he wrote his experimental masterpiece, The Various Lives of Marcus Igoe (1929). McNamara's other works include the novels Return to Ebontheever (1930) and Michael Caravan (1946); a novella, The Story of XYZ (1951); and two collections of short stories, The Smiling Faces (1929) and Some Curious People (1946). As a playwright, his connections with the Abbey saw the production of nine of his plays between 1919 and 1945, including The Glorious Uncertainty (1923), Look at the Heffernans (1926), and Margaret Gillan (1933).

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or