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The Judas kissTreason and betrayal in six modern Irish novels$
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Gerry Smyth

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088537

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088537.001.0001

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The landscape of betrayal

The landscape of betrayal

Liam O’Flaherty’s The Informer (1925)

Chapter:
(p.92) 4 The landscape of betrayal
Source:
The Judas kiss
Author(s):

Gerry Smyth

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719088537.003.0005

O’Flaherty's celebrated novel concerns an act of overt political treason: Gypo Nolan, a disaffected member of ‘the party’ (the communists wing of the IRA), informs on a friend and comrade for £20. His subsequent descent into the ‘hell’ of post-Treaty Dublin, and his eventual redemption, are tracked by the author in remorseless detail. The Informer affords an insight into the complexities of political affiliation in post-revolutionary Ireland, when nationalists, Marxist-Leninists and loyalists of various shades all claimed the right to identify both fidelity to, and betrayal of, ‘the cause’. O’Flaherty brings a moral-religious perspective to bear upon the material concerns of contemporary politics, however; simultaneously Judas and Jesus, Gypo Nolan becomes the embodiment of a tragedy at the heart of the human condition: the absolute desire to affiliate weighed against the absolute desire to betray.

Keywords:   Betrayal, Treason, Informing, O’Flaherty, Nationalism, Communism, revolution

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