TWO YEARS BY: LIAM O'FLAHERTY
TWO YEARS BY: LIAM O'FLAHERTY
Liam O'Flaherty (Irish: Liam Ó Flaithearta ; 28 August 1896 – 7 September 1984) was an Irish novelist and short-story writer, and one of the foremost socialist writers in the first part of the 20th century, writing about the common people's experience and from their perspective.
Liam O'Flaherty served on the Western Front as a soldier in the British army's Irish Guards regiment from 1916 and was badly injured in 1917. After the war, he was a founding member of the Communist Party of Ireland. His brother Tom Maidhc O'Flaherty (also a writer) was also involved in radical politics and their father, Maidhc Ó Flaithearta, was before them. A native Irish-speaker from the Gaeltacht, O'Flaherty wrote almost exclusively in English, except for a play, a notable collection of short stories and some poems in the Irish language.
O'Flaherty was born, a son of Maidhc Ó Flaithearta and Maggie Ganley, at Gort na gCapall, Inishmore. Baptised William, he adopted the form 'Liam' in the 1920s. His family, descendants of the Ó Flaithbertaigh family of Connemara, were not well off. The Irish language was widely spoken in the area, and in the O'Flaherty household both English and Irish were used. But according to O'Flaherty, Irish was not approved at home: "permit me to say that English was the first language I spoke. My father forbade us speaking Irish. At the age of seven I revolted against father and forced everybody in the house to speak Irish."
In primary school, Liam and his brother Tom were both pupils of David O'Callaghan, a teacher who had a significant influence on the future writers. Unusually for the times, O'Callaghan taught his pupils in their native Irish and taught the O'Flahertys to write Irish. He also instilled in them a strong sense of separatist patriotism and probably added to the radicalism which they took from their father.
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