Gerald Griffin (18031840) was an Irish novelist, poet, and playwright. Robert Giddings is an eminent literary critic who reviews for such publications as the Guardian, the New Statesman, and the Sunday Times.
The Collegiansby Gerald Griffin, Robert Giddings (Afterword)
Gerald Griffin (1803-40), born in Limerick of middle-class Catholic parents, went to London in 1823 to eke out a living in journalism. His collection of regional tales, Holland-tide, brought him some success, and he returned to Ireland where he produced a number of stories and novels set in Munster. Troubled by an unrequited love and increasingly uncertain about the morality of writing fiction, Griffin joined the Christian Brothers and destroyed almost all his unpublished work. In 1839 he became a teacher in Cork, and died there the following year of typhus fever. The Collegians is the best-known of Griffin's novels; it was described by Yeats as 'the most finished and artistic of all Irish stories', and hailed as 'the best Irish novel' by Aubrey de Vere, Gavan Duffy, and Justin M'Carthy. Based on an actual event, it gives a vivid picture of Irish provincial and rural society through a plot which involves the murder of a young peasant girl by her well-born husband and his crippled servant.
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