Irish Autobiography

Stories of Self in the Narrative of a Nation

by Claire Lynch (Author)
Monographs VI, 232 Pages
Series: Reimagining Ireland, Volume 7


Ireland has passed through numerous identity crises in the last century, keeping the meaning of Irishness in constant flux. This book explores how diverse writers have positioned their life stories within the wider narrative of the nation’s development. Examining the wealth of autobiographical texts written by Irish writers in the twentieth century, including W.B. Yeats, Tomás O’Crohan, Frank O’Connor, Brendan Behan, Frank McCourt and Nuala O’Faolain, the study highlights the plurality of Irish identity and the main characteristics which typify the genre of Irish autobiography.
In charting the social and cultural history of Ireland through the first-hand accounts of the country’s most celebrated writers, the author also identifies important overlaps between fiction and memory, finds intersections with folklore and the short story, and draws out relationships within and between texts. The book repositions the important and often overlooked genre of Irish autobiography by highlighting its importance within both Irish Studies and the field of Autobiography and by opening up the ways in which lives can be written and read.


VI, 232
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (March)
Culture Autobiography Emigration and diaspora History
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2009. VI, 232 pp.

Biographical notes

Claire Lynch (Author)

The Author: Claire Lynch was educated at the University of Kent and holds a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on contemporary Irish literature and genre borderlines in life writing. She currently teaches in the Graduate School at Brunel University, London.


Title: Irish Autobiography