May Laffan entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Although she is relatively unknown today, May Laffan's journal attack on the convent education system, her four novels, one novella, and four short stories about late nineteenth-century Ireland (most published anonymously) were controversial and well-known in her time. She was also responsible for a translation and miscellaneous political writings. Her work deals with explicitly political subjects, such as Irish Home Rule, the Fenians, and poverty. She voices sympathy for the condition of the Irish people melded with a desire to achieve change through educational reform. Her writing is lively, and her characterizations particularly good.
3 May 1849 Mary Laffan, who later called herself May, was born in Dublin. Bibliographic Citation link.
June 1874 At the age of twenty-five ML published in Fraser's Magazine the anonymous article "Convent Boarding-Schools for Young Ladies", an attack on the Catholic system of women's education. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
Spring 1876 ML's first—and most successful—novel, the satirical Hogan, M.P., appeared anonymously in three volumes. Bibliographic Citation link.
By 1 March 1879 ML's highly regarded story about Irish street children entitled Flitters, Tatters and the Counsellor: Three Waifs from the Dublin Streets appeared in a small volume from Simpkin and Marshall in London, and Hodges, Foster, and Figgis in Dublin. Bibliographic Citation link.
Before August 1896 Eight years after her final novel appeared, and fourteen after she stopped writing fiction, ML (solicited by Sir Horace Curzon Plunkett) submitted a paper to the Recess Committee on aspects of Irish Home Rule. It remains unpublished. Bibliographic Citation link.
23 June 1916 ML died in the Bloomfield Institution, an insane asylum in Dublin, from the lingering effects of a brain haemorrhage two months earlier. Bibliographic Citation link.
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