Gaelic Prose in the Irish Free State, 1922–1939 is a continuation of Philip O’Leary’s previous path-breaking book on the prose literature of the Gaelic Revival. The period following the War of Independence and Civil War saw an outpouring of book-length works in Irish from the state publishing agency An Gúm. The frequency and production of new plays, both original and translated, have never been approached since. O’Leary has investigated all of these works, as well as journalism and manuscript material, and discusses them in a lively and often humorous manner. Several writers known for their work in English, such as Liam O’Flaherty, Sean O’Faolain, and Frank O’Connor, who were either writing on occasion in Irish or engaging in debates within the Gaelic movement, emerge as important figures.
With the publication of Gaelic Prose in the Irish Free State, 1922–1939, we have at last an authoritative and balanced account of this major but neglected aspect of the Irish cultural renaissance. This will be an essential reference book for anyone interested in Irish literature in the twentieth century.