The Bell (magazine)
The Bell Magazine Dublin, Ireland. A monthly magazine of literature and social comment which had a seminal influence on a generation of Irish intellectuals.


Founded in 1940 by Seán Ó Faoláin
Seán Ó Faoláin
Seán Proinsias Ó Faoláin was an Irish short story writer. He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1986.Born as John Francis Whelan in Cork City, County Cork, Ireland, Sean Ó Faoláin wrote his first stories in the 1920s. Through 90 stories, written over a period of 60 years, Ó Faoláin charts the...

. Amongst the contributors to it’s first edition in 1940 were Elizabeth Bowen
Elizabeth Bowen
Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen, CBE was an Irish novelist and short story writer.-Life:Elizabeth Bowen was born on 7 June 1899 at 15 Herbert Place in Dublin, Ireland and was baptized in the nearby St Stephen's Church on Upper Mount Street...

, Flann O'Brien
Flann O'Brien
Brian O'Nolan was an Irish novelist, playwright and satirist regarded as a key figure in postmodern literature. Best known for novels such as At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman and An Béal Bocht and many satirical columns in The Irish Times Brian O'Nolan (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966) was...

, Patrick Kavanagh
Patrick Kavanagh
Patrick Kavanagh was an Irish poet and novelist. Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, his best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poems Raglan Road and The Great Hunger...

, Frank O'Connor
Frank O'Connor
Frank O’Connor was an Irish author of over 150 works, best known for his short stories and memoirs.-Early life:...

, and Jack B. Yeats.

The Bell was notable, particularly under the editorship of Seán Ó Faoláin, as an outspoken liberal voice at a time of political and intellectual stagnation, fiercely critical of censorship, Gaelic revivalist ideology, clericalism, and general parochialism.

Under Peadar O'Donnell
Peadar O'Donnell
Peadar O'Donnell was an Irish republican and socialist activist and writer.-Early life:Peadar O'Donnell was born into an Irish speaking family in Dungloe, County Donegal in northwest Ireland, in 1893. He attended St. Patrick's College, Dublin, where he trained as a teacher...

 (1946–54), the Bell became more left‐wing in content and irregular in frequency of publication but continued to produce material of high quality. W. R. Rodgers
W. R. Rodgers
William Robert Rodgers , known as Bertie, and born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was probably best known as a poet, but was also a prose essayist, a book reviewer, a radio broadcaster and script writer, a lecturer and, latterly, a teacher, as well as a former Presbyterian minister.-Early life:He...

 and Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice
Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis; nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco...

 were among the authors whose work sustained the magazine's connection with cultural activities in Ulster, in addition to which it repeatedly featured writing from various parts of Europe.
In the course of its fourteen-year career, the Bell was variously subtitled ‘A Survey of Irish Life’, ‘A Magazine of Creative Fiction’, and ‘A Magazine of Ireland Today’; its concern with social and political matters gave rise to incisive commentaries on such topics as state censorship in Ireland, on which George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

 wrote in an issue of 1945, the restrictive influence of the Church, and reactionary tendencies in Irish literature.

Having undergone financial difficulties which resulted in its temporary closure between 1948 and 1950, it finally ceased appearing in 1954. Along With The Dublin Magazine
The Dublin Magazine
The Dublin Magazine was an Irish literary journal founded and edited by the poet Seamus O'Sullivan and published in Dublin by New Square Publications....

, The Bell is accounted the most important literary and intellectual journal of Ireland in the twentieth century.


The Bell was notable as an outlet for new writers such as Michael MacLaverty
Michael MacLaverty
Michael McLaverty was an Irish writer of novels and short stories.-Background:Michael McLaverty was born in County Monaghan and then moved as a child to the Beechmount area of Belfast He attended St Gall's School and then went to College and became a school teacher. Michael McLaverty worked as a...

 and James Plunkett
James Plunkett
James Plunkett Kelly, or James Plunkett , was an Irish writer. He was educated at Synge Street CBS.Plunkett grew up among the Dublin working class and they, along with the petty bourgeoisie and lower intelligentsia, make up the bulk of the dramatis personae of his oeuvre...

. The bell also fostered many young Irish writers and artists from the 1940’s and 1950’s, when contributors included Anthony Cronin
Anthony Cronin
Anthony Cronin is an Irish poet. He received the Marten Toonder Award for his contribution to Irish literature....

 (who went on to edit the magazine), John Montague
John Montague (poet)
John Montague is an Irish poet. He was born in New York and brought up in Tyrone. He has published a number of volumes of poetry, two collections of short stories and two volumes of memoir. He is one of the best known Irish contemporary poets...

, Thomas Kinsella, Brendan Behan
Brendan Behan
Brendan Francis Behan was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English. He was also an Irish republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army.-Early life:...

, Patrick Kavanagh
Patrick Kavanagh
Patrick Kavanagh was an Irish poet and novelist. Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, his best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poems Raglan Road and The Great Hunger...

, Patrick Swift
Patrick Swift
Patrick Swift was an artist born in Dublin, Ireland. Patrick Swift was a painter and key cultural figure in Dublin and London before moving to the Algarve in southern Portugal, where he is buried in the town of Porches...

, and Conor Cruise O'Brien
Conor Cruise O'Brien
Conor Cruise O'Brien often nicknamed "The Cruiser", was an Irish politician, writer, historian and academic. Although his opinion on the role of Britain in Northern Ireland changed over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, he always acknowledge values of, as he saw, the two irreconcilable traditions...


Sources & Further reading

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