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The Church and Its Spire: John McGahern & the Catholic Question

Author(s): N/A

ISBN13: 9781856077286

ISBN10: 1856077284


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  • John McGahern (1934-2006) had a turbulent relationship with the Catholic faith into which he was born. His second novel, The Dark, was banned in 1965 and the authors subsequent sacking as a primary school teacher owed much to the personal intervention of the then Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid. The Ireland of the 1960s was clearly not ready for the raw exposure of some of its less savoury aspects detailed in McGaherns early novels. By the time of his death in 2006, however, people had come to appreciate the authenticity of the writers painstaking portrayal of rural life in Ireland with the result that, instead of revulsion, he came to inspire almost universal acceptance and admiration.

    This book explores the paradoxical relationship that McGahern had with the Catholic Church. Influenced by his beloved mothers deep faith, he was grateful for the mystery and wonder inspired by the church ceremonies of his youth. On the other hand, the repressive aspect of an institution that did not tolerate any challenge to its authority appealed far less to McGahern as a writer. Eamon Maher s study investigates the rich and complex interaction McGahern had with Catholicism and the impact this had on the authors life and work.

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The Church and Its Spire: John McGahern & the Catholic Question