Paul Vincent Carroll MARY HAMILTON and DIANE ROMAN - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

During the ten year period preceding his dramatic debut [in 1930], Carroll wrote more than thirty stories. Apart from their somewhat nebulous literary value, these stories present valuable documentation of the writer's creative process, and of his early and deep concern for the indomitable spirit of the Irish. In the stories, as in the plays, there is no real thematic consistency, but the germ of his later method of handling theme, language and characterization is clearly visible. In "The Treasure of Gold" and "The Stranger's Kingdom" we find an ethereal mystical motif so evident in Shadow and Substance and The Old Foolishness. His portrayal of types such as the Irish rogue, the shrew, or the gossip in "Terrible Man, Barney" and "Ould Biddy—The Newsmonger" appear at a later date more finely drawn in Things That Are Caesar's and The Devil Came From Dublin. Many of the delicate, lilting descriptive passages apparent in all of the plays are scattered throughout the stories, but are particularly notable in "The Unreturning Footsteps" and "The Little Old Woman." In "The Loser" and "The Deeper Lesson" we see a dichotomy of character similar to that of Swift in Farewell to Greatness! (pp. 72-3)

Mary Hamilton and Diane Roman, "Paul Vincent Carroll's First Fiction," in The Journal of Irish Literature (copyright © 1972 by Proscenium Press), September, 1972, pp. 72-84.