Kate O'Brien

(1897—1974) writer

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novelist, was born in Limerick, Ireland, and educated at University College, Dublin. After initial success as a playwright, her reputation as a novelist was immediately established by her saga of the Irish bourgeoisie, Without My Cloak (1931). Mary Lavelle (1936), the most romantic of her nine novels, drew on a year spent as a governess in Spain following university. That Lady (1946) also relies on her knowledge of Spain, the country from which she would eventually be banned for her Republican sympathies. A disinguished historical novel, set in the 16th cent., it brought her wide critical acclaim, as did The Land of Spices (1942), a notable portrait of convent life, which (like Mary Lavelle) was censored for ‘immorality’ by the Irish Censorship Board. Conflicts between the Catholic conscience and the self are a keynote of her fiction. Her other work includes the elegiac travel book Farewell Spain (1937).

Subjects: Literature.

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Works by Kate O'Brien

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