Degree Name

MALS (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies)


Liberal Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Marie Tedesco

Committee Members

Charles S. Olson, Henry J. Antikiewicz


The focus of this research is a detailed analysis of Liam O'Flaherty's first published novel, Thy Neighbour's Wife, as an underlying autobiographical portrait depicted in the main character, Fr. Hugh McMahon. Although never touted as an autobiography, this study shows O'Flaherty drew upon his early cultural, historical, religious, and political influences in creating his main character. Primary and secondary sources, an ethnographic trip to Ireland, and a content analysis of the novel determined the findings.

The fictional McMahon faced difficult personal choices, subsequently coming to terms with past decisions. McMahon's foibles reflect O'Flaherty's early years. O'Flaherty wrote two acclaimed autobiographies, Shame the Devil and Two Years, during his later literary career. This analysis establishes that O'Flaherty used his main character in his first novel, Thy Neighbour's Wife, as a means of conveying in fictional form his own personal struggles, thus establishing this novel as a de facto autobiography.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.