The Year of the French

The Year of the French

by Thomas Flanagan, Seamus Deane

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In 1798, Irish patriots, committed to freeing their country from England, landed with a company of French troops in County Mayo, in westernmost Ireland. They were supposed to be an advance guard, followed by other French ships with the leader of the rebellion, Wolfe Tone. Briefly they triumphed, raising hopes among the impoverished local peasantry and gathering a group of supporters. But before long the insurgency collapsed in the face of a brutal English counterattack.

Very few books succeed in registering the sudden terrible impact of historical events; Thomas Flanagan’s is one. Subtly conceived, masterfully paced, with a wide and memorable cast of characters, The Year of the French brings to life peasants and landlords, Protestants and Catholics, along with old and abiding questions of secular and religious commitments, empire, occupation, and rebellion. It is quite simply a great historical novel.

Named the most distinguished work of fiction in 1979 by the National Book Critics’ Circle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590176863
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 11/14/2012
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 285,403
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Thomas Flanagan (1923–2002), the grandson of Irish immigrants, grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he ran the school newspaper with his friend Truman Capote. Flanagan attended Amherst College (with a two-year hiatus to serve in the Pacific Fleet) and earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he studied under Lionel Trilling while also writing stories for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. In 1959, he published an important scholarly work, The Irish Novelists, 1800 to 1850, and the next year he moved to Berkeley, where he was to teach English and Irish literature at the University of California for many years. In 1978 he took up a post at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, from which he retired in 1996. Flanagan and his wife Jean made annual trips to Ireland, where he struck up friendships with many writers, including Benedict Kiely and Seamus Heaney, whom he in turn helped bring to the United States. His intimate knowledge of Ireland’s history and literature also helped to inspire his trilogy of historical novels, starting with The Year of the French (1979, winner of the National Critics’ Circle award for fiction, reissued by NYRB Classics in 2004) and continuing withThe Tenants of Time (1988) and The End of the Hunt (1994). He is also the author of There You Are: Writings on Irish and American Literature and History (2004). Flanagan was a frequent contributor to many publications, including The New York Review of BooksThe New York Times, and The Kenyon Review

Seamus Deane, formerly Professor of English and American Literature at University College, Dublin, is now Keough Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Among his books are Selected PoemsCeltic RevivalsStrange Country: Ireland and Modernity, and the novel Reading in the Dark. He was General Editor of the three-volume Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing.

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The Year of the French (New York Review Books Classics Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Currently reading this book, after reading Flanagan's 19th & 20th century era novels set in Ireland. Excellent command of the language, highly descriptive, gripping connection of reader to characters.
Doondeck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful and classic writing. The first of a great trilogy.
urhockey22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A remarkable novel. I have not read it since college, but I remember not being able to put it down in spite of its length. I must read it again at some point.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A novel to rival War and Peace or I Promessi Sposi in scope. I'd say this guy has more important stuff to say about Ireland than worthless Joyce and his Ulysses piece of trash.
TravelerCharlie More than 1 year ago
I found this to be informative and insightful about the Irish, but be prepared to read slowly and carefully. Perhaps my opinion is clouded by the fact I thought I had used a Barnes & Noble gift card to order the book, and when I attempted to read it after a long flight to the Caribbean, I could not open it without entering into the Nook the credit card number by which I had ordered the book! Needless to say, I had no idea what number to fill in and took quite some time back home to straighten out the mess with Barnes & Noble. So much for the Nook for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book! Brings Ireland in 1798 to life. Best book to read on this historical situation.