In a Harbour Green: Celebrating Benedict Kiely


George O’Brien (Ed.)

July 2019

First dedicated book about one of Ireland’s best-known writers, Benedict Kiely.


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Novelist, short-story writer, critic, memoirist, broadcaster and journalist Benedict Kiely (1919–2007) was not only one of the best-known but one of the most artistically and culturally distinctive men of letters of his day. His fascination with the island of Ireland, the myths and memories of its people, and the many-voiced quality of its traditions, has secured for him a unique place in the country’s literary history.

His substantial body of fiction and non-fiction is a repository of lore and learning, which amply rewards the interest shown in it over many years, by both the general public and Irish and international literary scholarship.

In a Harbour Green reveals this interest with fresh insight and awareness. Written by leading Irish and international critics, these essays illuminate all facets of Benedict Kiely’s output, providing for the first time a comprehensive account of its formal variety and artistic range, its historic origins and inimitable style.

The result is a long-awaited, informative and warmly appreciative assessment of Benedict Kiely’s imaginative accomplishments and cultural significance. In a Harbour Green breathes new life into his work and places the artist himself at the heart of Irish literature, where he belongs.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Benedict Kiely, Singular and Plural ~ George O’Brien

Brian Fallon
Benedict Kiely in His Own Time

Martina Devlin
Out of Omagh

Gerald Dawe
An Unfortunate Country: Reading Benedict Kiely’s Poor Scholar, 1974–2018

Derek Hand
Benedict Kiely and the 1950s: The Struggle to Be Modern

Patricia Craig
‘He Could Recite All Night’: An Appreciation of Benedict Kiely

John Wilson Foster
The Light of Other Days: Revolving Many Memories

Paul Clements
The Traveller

Christopher Cahill
‘I Was the Stranger Who Had Once Been the Guide’: Benedict Kiely’s Americans

Thomas Kilroy
‘A Dark Writer’: The Other Side of Benedict Kiely

Thomas O’Grady
The Treacherous Waves of Lough Muck: A Hypertextual Reading of Proxopera

Colum McCann
Seanachaí and Silence

Select Bibliography

About the Author

George O’Brien is Professor Emeritus of English at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He has published an autobiographical trilogy – The Village of Longing (1987), Dancehall Days (1988) and Out of Our Minds (1994) – and various books of literary criticism, the most recent of which is The Irish Novel 1800–1910 (2015).

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