Skip to main content

Distributed for University College Dublin Press

My Struggle for Life

This eloquent memoir provides an unrivalled insight into the life of a child reared in a working-class Irish Catholic community in late nineteenth-century Britain. No other author succeeds in depicting so vividly the texture of a life delimited by manual work, home and community ties as experienced by Irish migrants of the period. At the same time, it charts the tortuous route by which a young man struggled to free himself from a life of manual labour by using his literary talents to become a journalist and a popular novelist. Published in 1916, it reflects the world and assumptions of an emigre community between the failure of the Fenian movement and the Easter Rising, and it includes a telling vignette of the aged Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. An insightful picture of the world of those Home Rule supporters who lived outside Ireland emerges from this book.

University College Dublin Press image

View all books from University College Dublin Press

Table of Contents

Introduction by Paul O’Leary My birth My beginnings at school My burning sixpence - I yearn to be a navvy I go down a coal-pit Danger - I hear of Dickens and Byron My troubles begin Real overwork My struggle for the sun Deadliness of an easy job Despair makes me think of enlisting The Post Office Reporting I seek refuge in Cardiff Good-fortune comes my way An unexpected desire - I discover my true love My novel seeks without finding London, the university of universities My disapproval of London Paddington Station A new influence - I lecture at Cambridge My mysterious visitor Youth grown old Lunch at ’The Fountain’ I am a city clerk Index.

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press