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O'Flaherty Servais Collection: Home

Personal library of Kathleen O'Flaherty & Yvonne Servais.

About the Collection

The collection represents O'Flaherty's and Servais' shared and individual interests. A significant portion of the collection comprises works relating to Chateaubriand. The books encapsulate a commitment to learning and a shared vocation for teaching. The collection reflects a long and fruitful record of scholarship and writing in areas where both O'Flaherty & Servais made distinctive contributions. The subject matter of the collection comprises canonical French literature, French philosophy, French political theory, French history and 19th century French intellectual culture. Key authors include Chateaubriand, Descartes, Montesquieu, Voltaire and de Vericour. Languages in the collection include French, English and Irish. The majority of the collection remains uncatalogued though some 550 items are catalogued. Of the catalogued items a few are from the 19th century whereas the rest are from the 20th century.

The collection prefix before the call number is: O'Flaherty/Servais.


Kathleen O'Flaherty and Yvonne Servais bequeathed their collection to the Library in 1996. O'Flaherty & Servais both passed away within weeks of each other in the summer of 1994. 

Biographical History: Kathleen O'Flaherty

Kathleen O'Flaherty (1916-1994) was born in Co Wexford and was educated at the Ursuline Convent in Waterford. She obtained her first diploma at the Catholic University of Lille before entering UCC with a College scholarship in 1935. For her BA in French & English she won the French Government Gold Medal (1938). In 1940 she obtained a MA in English and in 1941 she received a travelling scholarship in Modern Languages. After graduating & winning the Peel Memorial Prize as a most distinguished student of her year and the French Government Gold Medal she received her MA in 194, all were with 1st class honours.  She was the first in UCC to obtain PhD in French and her thesis was on Chateaubriand. She was assistant to the President of UCC (Alfred O'Rahilly) from 1944-1952 while also working in the French Department as demonstrator, Assistant and lecturer.  In 1949 the French poet and ambassador Paul Claudel contributed a preface to her study of Paul Claudel and the Tidings brought to Mary. She wrote several textbooks with Dr Yvonne Servais.

She was assistant editor of the CUP for 8 years and was mainly responsible for producing its publications and for the compilation/editing of the CUR and later became a member of the press' editorial board. She was appointed as a Reader in French of the NUI and was the first woman NUI graduate to receive such an appointment. In 1970 she was appointed as the college's first Professor of French and she retired in 1982. O'Flaherty's specialised interest was Chateaubriand. O'Flaherty was elected a member of the Societe Chateaubriand, and she was the only Irish representative invited to the International Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the birth of Chateaubriand held at the University of Wisconsin in 1968 where her paper dealt with "Adolescence in Chateaubriand's Work". She received the Chevalier de L'Ordre National du Merite from the French Government for her contribution to French teaching.

Biographical History: Yvonne Servais

Yvonne Servais was born in Tournai, Belgium and undertook a teaching diploma there before completing a degree in Arts (English & French) at the Sorbonne. She taught in schools in Belgium and France and for a year at the Benedictine Abbey at Kylemore, Co Galway. She came to UCC as a demonstrator in French in 1935. In her early years in Cork she continued her English studies and in 1938 was awarded a MA in English for a thesis on Katherine Mansfield. When Professor Ryan retired in 1938, Dr. Servais was acting-professor for a year until the appointment of Professor E. Byrne-Costigan. In 1939 Servais became an assistant lecturer in French. She received a PhD in 1953 for her thesis on Charles Peguy which was later published by Cork University Press as Charles Peguy: The Pursuit of Salvation. Critics praised it for its sound scholarship and critical insight. She was appointed a statutory lecturer in French in 1961. She published articles regularly in Aucam (Louvain), Studies and The University Review.  Her retirement from the permanent staff took place in October 1971. She was however invited by the Department to return as "special lecturer" on modern poetry, her chosen field of French literature. For her services to French culture she was made a Chevalier du l'Ordre national du Merite in 1974. 

In addition to Servais' departmental duties she devoted much time and energy to establishing contacts between Ireland and France. Following World War II she initiated cultural links between Ireland & France with students as exchanges and au pairs. Dr. Servais published two standard works which have proved of inestimable value to students and teachers of French La Dissertation francaise and L'Exposition francaise. In collaboration with Professor Kathleen O'Flaherty, she edited a critical anthology of French poetry entitled Choix de Poemes which became a basic textbook for Irish Secondary schools. 

Collection Highlights

Book Cover to 'Pessimisme de Chateaubriand'

O'Flaherty, Kathleen. Pessimisme de Chateaubriand: resonances et limites. Paris: Academie Europeenne du Livre, 1989.

Book cover to an exhibition booklet about Chateaubriand

Chateaubriand: Brest et la mer 1783 - 1983: Exposition. Avec l'agrément de Edmond Monange; con,cue et réalisée par Philippe Henwood.  Brest: Centre de Documentation et de Recherche du Service Historique de la Marine à Brest, 1983.

Book cover to 'Selections from Keats'

Selections from Keats / by William Landells. London : Siegle, Hill & Co., [1900?].

Book cover to 'Le Bignon'

Manessier, Alfred. Le Bignon: vingt-et-un dessins de Manessier / introd. de Camille Bourniquel. Paris: Ed. Porte du Sud, 1987.

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