Liam O’Flaherty’s ‘disillusionment’ with the Soviet Union?

Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2020), Letters, Volume 28

Sir,—Dr Jenny Farrell takes issue with me (HI 27.6, Nov./Dec. 2019, letters) for ascribing to Liam O’Flaherty ‘disillusionment’ with the Soviet Union, referring to his 1931 book I went to Russia (HI 27.5, Sept./Oct. 2019, ‘The Radical Club, a 1920s forum for “progressive cultural activity”’). In fact, I said only that he wrote a ‘disillusioned account’ and, however much you allow for his satirical intent and his ‘unreliable’ narrator’s autonomy from the author, it can hardly be denied that the account given in that book is disillusioned. Dr Farrell’s 500 words in response to my five seek to refute various claims that I never made. In the course of this, she ignores her own caution not to read the book literally by quoting passages from it to demonstrate O’Flaherty’s support of the Soviet Union.—Yours etc.,

BRIAN TRENCH

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