The Ireland that we dreamed of?
‘The Ballroom of Romance’
in William Trevor
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This essay focuses principally on 'The Ballroom of Romance' and argues for a more nuanced and differentiated account of his work than has tended to be offered to date. William Trevor's short story 'The Ballroom of Romance' has attained iconic status in Irish culture in the forty years since its publication. The title and ambience of the story, evoking memories of dancehall days, partly explains this public appeal, which was enhanced by the BAFTA award-winning film adaptation of the story by Pat O'Connor. Trevor vividly demonstrates the ways in which the lives of both women and men were atrophied in mid-twentieth-century Ireland. That this is a persistent interest in his fiction is revealed in later short stories such as 'Kathleen's Field' and 'The Hill Bachelors', and in his fine novella Reading Turgenev.

William Trevor



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