Author

Jean Baird

Date of Award

1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

Supervisor

A. Hammond

Abstract

Twentieth-century writers present distinct problems for the academic, the bibliographer and the biographer. Popular authors often write not only novels and short stories, but also plays for the stage as well as television, commissioned pieces for large and small magazines and journals, children's books, essays, travel books and articles as well as book reviews. The large and diverse canon of Edna O'Brien illustrates the complex and difficult nature of researching modern authors. The thesis describes the methodology of such research, outlining problems and creative, often unorthodox approaches required to obtain information. The Handbook section is intended to provide a guide for other researchers. It lists reference sources, methods of organizing material, computer searches and particularly focuses on the problems of unpublished material. The annotated check-list bibliography lists published and unpublished works by Edna O'Brien. This section is followed by one of criticism, interviews and reviews of O'Brien's work. O'Brien's reputation in academic circles as well as in the literary press is anything but established. Each new publication creates clashes and controversy. The nature of the research presented in this thesis provides opportunities for a different approach to criticism of O'Brien. The final chapter briefly explores these opportunities.

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