Politics of Disillusionment: Violence and Idealism in Liam O’Flaherty’s “Civil War” and Frank O’Connor’s “Guests of the Nation”


  • Rodrigo Moreira Pinto Trinity College Dublin




Irish War of Independence, Easter Rising, Martyrdom, Idealism, Disillusionment


Having their formative years in the period right before the Irish revolution, Liam O’Flaherty and Frank O’Connor were deeply influenced by nationalistic propaganda. Inspired by Republican ideals, both writers-to-be took an active, though modest, role in the War of Independence and in the ensuing Civil War. The literature they produced when the conflicts had ceased, however, displays a very critical and contrasting perspective to the one that had driven them to support the revolution. Analysing the short stories “Civil War” (1924), by Liam O’Flaherty, and “Guests of the Nation” (1932), by Frank O’Connor, this essay explores why and how both authors resorted to stark, gruesome, and nihilistic approaches to the Irish revolutionary period instead of adhering to more romantic and idealistic perspectives.

Author Biography

  • Rodrigo Moreira Pinto, Trinity College Dublin

    Rodrigo Moreira Pinto holds a master’s degree in English literature from USP – University of São Paulo (2015). In his thesis, “Suspended Tonality: Music in James Joyce’s Dubliners,” he pursued the use of music, both in form and in content, in Joyce’s collection of short stories. In 2019 he was recipient of the ABEI-Haddad scholarship to study at Trinity College Dublin where he obtained the title of Masters of Philosophy in Irish Writing (2020). In his thesis “The Disembodied Voice: A Comparative Study of the Songs at the Stairs in “The Dead” and “Telemachus,”” he analyzed the similarities of the use of the songs “The Lass of Aughrim” and “Who Goes With Fergus?” exploring their historical and sociological references and how hearing them raises awareness in respect of Irish identity and its continuity over time and space.


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Comparative Studies

How to Cite

Pinto, R. M. (2021). Politics of Disillusionment: Violence and Idealism in Liam O’Flaherty’s “Civil War” and Frank O’Connor’s “Guests of the Nation”. ABEI Journal, 23(1), 161-174. https://doi.org/10.37389/abei.v23i1.192601