Mary Lavin entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Mary Lavin, an Irishwoman with US experience publishing in the mid and later twentieth century, is primarily known as a writer of short stories (nineteen collections published). She also produced some poetry (early), two novels and two books for children. Most of her stories depict personal struggles among Irish working-class or lower-middle-class characters, often in domestic settings: the intense feelings of people trained not to show their feelings. She is admired for her subtlety, restraint, and acute awareness of social conditioning, especially of women. Mary Lavin's work was slow in coming to critical attention. Critics have attributed this neglect to her not being explicitly nationalistic or political. Bibliographic Citation link.
11 June 1912 ML was born in the 'yellow house', 133 Washington Street, East Walpole, Massachusetts; she remained an only child. Bibliographic Citation link.
By June 1946 ML published The Becker Wives and Other Stories, containing four pieces; it was reissued in 1971 as The Becker Wives, and remains one of her best-known works. Bibliographic Citation link.
April 1961 ML published The Great Wave and Other Stories; seven of the stories had first appeared in the New Yorker. Bibliographic Citation link.
After April 1995 A volume by ML, In a Café (all previously printed stories except for one unpublished, but several revised) was edited by her daughter Elizabeth and appeared in the last year of Lavin's life. Bibliographic Citation link.
25 March 1996 ML, aged eighty-three, died in the Dublin nursing-home where she had been living. Bibliographic Citation link.
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