Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Over the eleven years of my work on this book I have been blessed with personal and institutional encouragement of many kinds. For their generous support in the form of fellowships and grants, I thank the American Council of Learned Societies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National...

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Introduction. The Two Cycles of Irish-American Fiction

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pp. 1-5

For over two hundred years American writers of Irish birth or background have been exploring what it means to be an immigrant or ethnic in America. Their work has much more to do with America than with Ireland, for it is the product not of a single culture but of a collision of...

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1. Backgrounds and a Habit of Satire

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pp. 6-38

An Irish-American voice first sounds clearly in a broadside that appeared on the streets of New York in 1769: "The Irishmen's Petition, To the Honourable Commissioners of Excise, &c.''
The humble petition of Patrick O'Conner, Blany O'Bryan, and Carney Macguire, to be appointed Inspectors and...

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2. The Profession of Novelist: James McHenry and Charles Cannon

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pp. 39-71

The first Irish-American novel, The Irish Emigrant, An Historical Tale Founded on Fact, was written by "An Hibernian," and published in Winchester, Virginia, in 1817. The author may have been one Adam Douglass, who filed the book with the Virginia state clerk, and the location, at the...

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3. The Famine Generation: Practical Fiction for Immigrants

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pp. 72-113

A typical novel of the Famine immigration and a good illustration of the difference between the first two Irish-American literary generations is Peter McCorry's Mount Benedict, or The Violated Tomb. A Tale of the Charlestown Convent (1871), a fictional version of the burning of the Ursuline...

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4. Mrs. Sadlier and Father Quigley

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pp. 114-152

This chapter considers two novelists of unequal significance. Mary Anne Sadlier was the most prolific and influential writer of the Famine generation, and also the first important Irish-American female voice. In all, she published some sixty volumes in a variety of literary modes, many...

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5. Respectability and Realism: Ambivalent Fictions

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pp. 153-197

Katherine E. Conway's Lalor's Maples of 1901 is a representative novel for its time in a number of ways. Born in Rochester, New York, in 1853, Conway began a career in journalism there, then moved on to Buffalo and finally Boston, where in 1883 she became an assistant editor of the...

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6. Mr. Egan and Mr. Dooley

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pp. 198-237

Maurice Francis Egan and Finley Peter Dunne are representative figures of the third nineteenth-century Irish-American literary generation. Both were sons of immigrants who had made it into the burgeoning Irish middle class, the emergence of which defined the period. Maurice Egan's father...

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7. A Generation Lost

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pp. 238-256

In 1926 Thomas Beer's Irish-American informant in The Mauve Decade wrote: "The Amerirish in X [his home city] who come back fondly to me in memory were the middling kind. They lived in a little colony of frame houses on three parallel streets back of St. Mary's. The men were superior...

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8. James T. Farrell and Irish-American Fiction

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pp. 257-291

In February 1930 a negative review of a new, encomiastic biography of Donn Byrne appeared in the Saturday Review of Literature. The reviewer was the unknown but outspoken James T. Farrell, then twenty-five with one published story. As in his previous assessment of Jim Tully, he had...

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9. Regional Realists of the Thirties and Forties

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pp. 292-311

When asked in 1979 by the New York Times Book Review, "What book made you decide to become a writer and why?" Norman Mailer answered as follows: "I read Studs Lonigan in my freshman year at Harvard and it changed my life. Literature through high school had been works by Sir...

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10. "These Traits Endure": The Irish Voice in Recent American Fiction

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pp. 312-357

When asked about his lrishness in 1985, novelist William Kennedy spoke clearly:
I believe that I can't be anything other than Irish American. I know there's a division here, and a good many Irish Americans believe they are merely American. They've lost touch with anything that smacks of Irishness as we...

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11. Liberating Doubleness in the Nineties

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pp. 358-391

Irish-American literature is alive and it is well. While mass emigration from Ireland is borne back ceaselessly into the past, creative writing of depth and quality identifiable as Irish-American continues to appear. A valid opening question is why, against demographic odds, does such a...

Notes

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pp. 392-411

Works Cited

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pp. 412-432

Index

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pp. 433-448