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Eimar O'Duffy (Eimar Ultan O'Duffy) Biography

(1893–1935), (Eimar Ultan O'Duffy), The Wasted Island, Printer's Errors

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Joseph O'Connor Biography to Cynthia Ozick Biography

Irish novelist, born in Dublin, educated at University College, Dublin, where he qualified as a dentist. He became involved in the Irish cultural and nationalist movement, contributing a few unsuccessful plays to Edward Martyn's Irish Theatre, while joining the Irish Republican Brotherhood and becoming a captain in the Irish Volunteers prior to the 1916 Rising. O'Duffy's first novel, The Wasted Island (1919), is deeply critical of the ideologies and protagonists behind the 1916 Rising, and guaranteed that he would share in the ‘damnation’ reserved for writers such as James Joyce and Brinsley McNamara who had dared express their disillusionment with Ireland. In Printer's Errors (1922) and Miss Rudd and Some Lovers (1923), O'Duffy managed to be more light-hearted while maintaining his impulse to satirize Irish society before and during the Easter Rising and the War of Independence. He worked as a teacher and then at the Department of External Affairs in Dublin until his outspoken views led to the loss of his job and his move to England in 1925. His Cuandine trilogy (King Goshawk and the Birds, 1926; The Spacious Adventures of the Man in the Street, 1928; and Asses in Clover, 1933) is an inventive and highly ironic portrayal of modern Ireland which reveal O'Duffy's belief that capitalism negates the vitality of a developing nation. Late in his short life, illness and financial difficulties forced him to try writing detective stories, a venture which failed miserably.

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