My Struggle for Life

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University College Dublin Press, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 308 pages
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This memoir provides an insight into the life of a child reared in a working-class Irish Catholic community in late nineteenth-century Britain. No other author succeeds in depicting so vividly the texture of a life delimited by manual work, home and community ties as experienced by Irish migrants of the period. At the same time, it charts the tortuous route by which a young man struggled to free himself from a life of manual labour by using his literary talents to become a journalist and popular novelist. Published in 1916, it reflects the world and assumptions of an emigre community between the failure of the Fenian movement and the Easter Rising, and it includes a telling vignette of the aged Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa. A picture of the world of those Home Rule supporters who lived outside Ireland emerges from this book.

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Published in 1916, this is novelist Keating's detailed account of his early life in an Irish Catholic community in Wales. He struggled with religious repression and the relegation to a life of manual labor in the mines, which he escaped through writing. Read full review



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About the author (2005)

Joseph Keating (1871-1934) was the son of Irish migrants. He received a rudimentary schooling before starting his working life laboring in the coalmines. Subsequently, he educated himself sufficiently to embark on a career in journalism. He wrote short stories and popular novels. and some of his work achieved a degree of acclaim during the decade before the First World War.

Paul O Leary is a lecturer in history at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the author of "The Irish in Wales".

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