There can be few writers more deserving of Backlisted’s attention than the Irish writer, Maeve Brennan. An adopted New Yorker, Brennan died there in 1993 and was by that time so thoroughly forgotten in her native land, that she received no obituaries in any Irish papers. We are joined by the writers Sinéad Gleeson and David Hayden to discuss her collection, The Springs of Affection – subtitled ‘stories of Dublin’ – which was first published posthumously by Houghton Mifflin in 1997, although all but one of these first appeared in the New Yorker, where Brennan was a staff writer for twenty-seven years. It was the enthusiastic praise from other writers including Alice Munro, Edna O’Brien and Mavis Gallant among others, that helped get The Springs of Affection the kind of international attention that the two collections published in Maeve’s lifetime failed to achieve. Since then, Maeve Brennan’s reputation has grown steadily, and her stories are now regularly and favourably compared to those of Joyce, Chekov and Colette. In Ireland, in particular, she has won the admiration of a new generation of women writers, who in Anne Enright’s phrase, see her as ‘a casualty of old wars not yet won.’ This episode also features Andy revisiting the Linda Nochlin’s classic 1971 essay, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? while John is impressed by Orlam, P.J. Harvey’s dark and brooding verse novel, written entirely in Dorset dialect.
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