William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others. Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland and educated there and in London. He spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the 20th century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Seamus Justin Heaney (13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013) was an Irish poet, playwright and translator. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. Among his best-known works is Death of a Naturalist (1966), his first major published volume. Heaney was and is still recognised as one of the principal contributors to poetry in Ireland during his lifetime. American poet Robert Lowell described him as “the most important Irish poet since Yeats”, and many others, including the academic John Sutherland, have said that he was “the greatest poet of our age”. Robert Pinsky has stated that “with his wonderful gift of eye and ear Heaney has the gift of the story-teller.” Upon his death in 2013, The Independent described him as “probably the best-known poet in the world”.
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by his early death. Wilde's parents were successful Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. At university Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States of America and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art", and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde had become one of the most well-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but it was refused a licence. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, prosecuted for libel, a charge carrying a penalty of up to two years in prison. (Libel Act of 1843) The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labour. In prison he wrote De Profundis (written in 1897 & published in 1905), a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six. Early life Oscar Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin (now home of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College, Dublin) the second of three children born to Sir William Wilde and Jane Francesca Wilde, two years behind William ("Willie"). Jane Wilde, under the pseudonym "Speranza" (the Italian word for 'Hope'), wrote poetry for the revolutionary Young Irelanders in 1848 and was a life-long Irish nationalist. She read the Young Irelanders' poetry to Oscar and Willie, inculcating a love of these poets in her sons. Lady Wilde's interest in the neo-classical revival showed in the paintings and busts of ancient Greece and Rome in her home. William Wilde was Ireland's leading oto-ophthalmologic (ear and eye) surgeon and was knighted in 1864 for his services as medical adviser and assistant commissioner to the censuses of Ireland. He also wrote books about Irish archaeology and peasant folklore. A renowned philanthropist, his dispensary for the care of the city's poor at the rear of Trinity College, Dublin, was the forerunner of the Dublin Eye and Ear Hospital, now located at Adelaide Road. Wilde was baptised as an infant in St. Mark's Church, Dublin the local Church of Ireland (Anglican) church. When the church was closed, the records were moved to the nearby St. Ann's Church, Dawson Street. In addition to his children with his wife, Sir William Wilde was the father of three children born out of wedlock before his marriage: Henry Wilson, born in 1838, and Emily and Mary Wilde, born in 1847 and 1849, respectively, of different parentage to Henry. Sir William acknowledged paternity of his illegitimate children and provided for their education, but they were reared by his relatives rather than with his wife and legitimate children. In 1855, the family moved to No. 1 Merrion Square, where Wilde's sister, Isola, was born in 1857. The Wildes' new home was larger and, with both his parents' sociality and success soon became a "unique medical and cultural milieu"; guests at their salon included Sheridan le Fanu, Charles Lever, George Petrie, Isaac Butt, William Rowan Hamilton and Samuel Ferguson. Until he was nine, Oscar Wilde was educated at home, where a French bonne and a German governess taught him their languages. He then attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Until his early twenties, Wilde summered at the villa his father built in Moytura, County Mayo. There the young Wilde and his brother Willie played with George Moore. Isola died aged nine of meningitis. Wilde's poem "Requiescat" is dedicated to her memory: "Tread lightly, she is near Under the snow Speak gently, she can hear the daisies grow” University education: 1870s Trinity College, Dublin Wilde left Portora with a royal scholarship to read classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874, sharing rooms with his older brother Willie Wilde. Trinity, one of the leading classical schools, set him with scholars such as R.Y. Tyrell, Arthur Palmer, Edward Dowden and his tutor, J.P. Mahaffy who inspired his interest in Greek literature. As a student Wilde worked with Mahaffy on the latter's book Social Life in Greece. Wilde, despite later reservations, called Mahaffy "my first and best teacher" and "the scholar who showed me how to love Greek things". For his part Mahaffy boasted of having created Wilde; later, he would name him "the only blot on my tutorship". The University Philosophical Society also provided an education, discussing intellectual and artistic subjects such as Rosetti and Swinburne weekly. Wilde quickly became an established member – the members' suggestion book for 1874 contains two pages of banter (sportingly) mocking Wilde's emergent aestheticism. He presented a paper entitled "Aesthetic Morality". At Trinity, Wilde established himself as an outstanding student: he came first in his class in his first year, won a scholarship by competitive examination in his second, and then, in his finals, won the Berkeley Gold Medal, the University's highest academic award in Greek. He was encouraged to compete for a demyship to Magdalen College, Oxford – which he won easily, having already studied Greek for over nine years. Magdalen College, Oxford At Magdalen he read Greats from 1874 to 1878, and from there he applied to join the Oxford Union, but failed to be elected. Attracted by its dress, secrecy, and ritual, Wilde petitioned the Apollo Masonic Lodge at Oxford, and was soon raised to the "Sublime Degree of Master Mason". During a resurgent interest in Freemasonry in his third year, he commented he "would be awfully sorry to give it up if I secede from the Protestant Heresy". He was deeply considering converting to Catholicism, discussing the possibility with clergy several times. In 1877, Wilde was left speechless after an audience with Pope Pius IX in Rome. He eagerly read Cardinal Newman's books, and became more serious in 1878, when he met the Reverend Sebastian Bowden, a priest in the Brompton Oratory who had received some high profile converts. Neither his father, who threatened to cut off his funds, nor Mahaffy thought much of the plan; but mostly Wilde, the supreme individualist, balked at the last minute from pledging himself to any formal creed. On the appointed day of his baptism, Father Bowden received a bunch of altar lilies instead. Wilde retained a lifelong interest in Catholic theology and liturgy. While at Magdalen College, Wilde became particularly well known for his role in the aesthetic and decadent movements. He wore his hair long, openly scorned "manly" sports though he occasionally boxed, and decorated his rooms with peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers, blue china and other objets d'art, once remarking to friends whom he entertained lavishly, "I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china." The line quickly became famous, accepted as a slogan by aesthetes but used against them by critics who sensed in it a terrible vacuousness. Some elements disdained the aesthetes, but their languishing attitudes and showy costumes became a recognised pose. Wilde was once physically attacked by a group of four fellow students, and dealt with them single-handedly, surprising critics. By his third year Wilde had truly begun to create himself and his myth, and saw his learning developing in much larger ways than merely the prescribed texts. This attitude resulted in him being rusticated for one term, when he nonchalantly returned to college late from a trip to Greece with Prof. Mahaffy. Wilde did not meet Walter Pater until his third year, but had been enthralled by his Studies in the History of the Renaissance, published during Wilde's final year in Trinity. Pater argued that man's sensibility to beauty should be refined above all else, and that each moment should be felt to its fullest extent. Years later in De Profundis, Wilde called Pater's Studies... "that book that has had such a strange influence over my life". He learned tracts of the book by heart, and carried it with him on travels in later years. Pater gave Wilde his sense of almost flippant devotion to art, though it was John Ruskin who gave him a purpose for it. Ruskin despaired at the self-validating aestheticism of Pater, arguing that the importance of art lies in its potential for the betterment of society. Ruskin admired beauty, but believed it must be allied with, and applied to, moral good. When Wilde eagerly attended Ruskin's lecture series The Aesthetic and Mathematic Schools of Art in Florence, he learned about aesthetics as simply the non-mathematical elements of painting. Despite being given to neither early rising nor manual labour, Wilde volunteered for Ruskin's project to convert a swampy country lane into a smart road neatly edged with flowers. Wilde won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna", which reflected on his visit there the year before, and he duly read it at Encaenia. In November 1878, he graduated with a rare double first in his B.A. of Classical Moderations and Literae Humaniores (Greats). Wilde wrote to a friend, "The dons are 'astonied' beyond words – the Bad Boy doing so well in the end!" Apprenticeship of an aesthete: 1880s Debut in society After graduation from Oxford, Wilde returned to Dublin, where he met again Florence Balcombe, a childhood sweetheart. She, however, became engaged to Bram Stoker and they married in 1878. Wilde was disappointed but stoic: he wrote to her, remembering "the two sweet years – the sweetest years of all my youth" they had spent together. He also stated his intention to "return to England, probably for good". This he did in 1878, only briefly visiting Ireland twice. Unsure of his next step, he wrote to various acquaintances enquiring about Classics positions at Oxford or Cambridge. The Rise of Historical Criticism was his submission for the Chancellor's Essay prize of 1879, which, though no longer a student, he was still eligible to enter. Its subject, "Historical Criticism among the Ancients" seemed ready-made for Wilde – with both his skill in composition and ancient learning – but he struggled to find his voice with the long, flat, scholarly style. Unusually, no prize was awarded that year.[Notes 1] With the last of his inheritance from the sale of his father's houses, he set himself up as a bachelor in London. The 1881 British Census listed Wilde as a boarder at 1 Tite Street, Chelsea, where Frank Miles, a society painter, was the head of the household. Wilde would spend the next six years in London and Paris, and in the United States where he travelled to deliver lectures. He had been publishing lyrics and poems in magazines since his entering Trinity College, especially in Kottabos and the Dublin University Magazine. In mid-1881, at 27 years old, Poems collected, revised and expanded his poetic efforts. The book was generally well received, and sold out its first print run of 750 copies, prompting further printings in 1882. Bound in a rich, enamel, parchment cover (embossed with gilt blossom) and printed on hand-made Dutch paper, Wilde would present many copies to the dignitaries and writers who received him over the next few years. The Oxford Union condemned the book for alleged plagiarism in a tight vote. The librarian, who had requested the book for the library, returned the presentation copy to Wilde with a note of apology. Richard Ellmann argues that Wilde's poem "Hélas!" was a sincere, though flamboyant, attempt to explain the dichotomies he saw in himself: To drift with every passion till my soul Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play America: 1882 Aestheticism was sufficiently in vogue to be caricatured by Gilbert and Sullivan in Patience (1881). Richard D'Oyly Carte, an English Impressario, invited Wilde on a lecture tour of North America, simultaneously priming the pump for the U.S. tour of Patience and selling this most charming aesthete to the American public. Wilde arrived on 3 January 1882 aboard the SS Arizona and criss-crossed the country on a gruelling schedule, lecturing in a new town every few days.[Notes 2] Originally planned to last four months, it was continued for over a year due to the commercial success. Wilde sought to juxtapose the beauty he saw in art onto daily life. This was a practical as well as philosophical project: in Oxford he had surrounded himself with blue china and lilies, now one of his lectures was on interior design. When asked to explain reports that he had paraded down Piccadilly in London carrying a lily, long hair flowing, Wilde replied, "It's not whether I did it or not that's important, but whether people believed I did it". Wilde believed that the artist should hold forth higher ideals, and that pleasure and beauty would replace utilitarian ethics. Wilde and aestheticism were both mercilessly caricatured and criticised in the press, Springfield Republican, for instance, commented on Wilde's behaviour during his visit to Boston to lecture on aestheticism, suggesting that Wilde's conduct was more of a bid for notoriety rather than a devotion to beauty and the aesthetic. T.W. Higginson, a cleric and abolitionist, wrote in "Unmanly Manhood" of his general concern that Wilde, "whose only distinction is that he has written a thin volume of very mediocre verse", would improperly influence the behaviour of men and women. Though his press reception was hostile, Wilde was well received in diverse settings across America; he drank whiskey with miners in Leadville, Colorado and was fêted at the most fashionable salons in every city he visited. London life and marriage His earnings, plus expected income from The Duchess of Padua, allowed him to move to Paris between February and mid-May 1883. Whilst there he met Robert Sherard, whom he entertained constantly. "We are dining on the Duchess tonight", Wilde would declare before taking him to a fancy restaurant. In August he briefly returned to New York for the production of Vera, his first play, after it was turned down in London. He reportedly entertained the other passengers with "Ave Imperatrix!, A Poem On England", about the rise and fall of empires. E.C. Stedman, in Victorian Poets describes this "lyric to England" as "manly verse – a poetic and eloquent invocation".[Notes 3] Wilde's presence was again notable, the play was initially well received by the audience, but when the critics returned lukewarm reviews attendance fell sharply and the play closed a week after it had opened. He was left to return to England and lecturing: Personal Impressions of America, The Value of Art in Modern Life, and Dress were among his topics. In London, he had been introduced to Constance Lloyd in 1881, daughter of Horace Lloyd, a wealthy Queen's Counsel. She happened to be visiting Dublin in 1884, when Wilde was lecturing at the Gaiety Theatre. He proposed to her, and they married on the 29 May 1884 at the Anglican St. James Church in Paddington in London. Constance's annual allowance of £250 was generous for a young woman (it would be equivalent to about £19, in current value), but the Wildes' tastes were relatively luxurious and, after preaching to others for so long, their home was expected to set new standards of design. No. 16, Tite Street was duly renovated in seven months at considerable expense. The couple had two sons, Cyril (1885) and Vyvyan (1886). Wilde was the sole literary signatory of George Bernard Shaw's petition for a pardon of the anarchists arrested (and later executed) after the Haymarket massacre in Chicago in 1886. Robert Ross had read Wilde's poems before they met, and he was unrestrained by the Victorian prohibition against homosexuality, even to the extent of estranging himself from his family. A precocious seventeen year old, by Richard Ellmann's account, he was "...so young and yet so knowing, was determined to seduce Wilde". Wilde, who had long alluded to Greek love, and – though an adoring father – was put off by the carnality of his wife's second pregnancy, succumbed to Ross in Oxford in 1886. Prose writing: 1886–91 Journalism and editorship: 1886–89 Criticism over artistic matters in the Pall Mall Gazette provoked a letter in self-defence, and soon Wilde was a contributor to that and other journals during the years 1885–87. He enjoyed reviewing and journalism; the form suited his style. He could organise and share his views on art, literature and life, yet in a format less tedious than lecturing. Buoyed up, his reviews were largely chatty and positive. Wilde, like his parents before him, also supported the cause of Irish Nationalism. When Charles Stewart Parnell was falsely accused of inciting murder Wilde wrote a series of astute columns defending him in the Daily Chronicle. His flair, having previously only been put into socialising, suited journalism and did not go unnoticed. With his youth nearly over, and a family to support, in mid-1887 Wilde became the editor of The Lady's World magazine, his name prominently appearing on the cover. He promptly renamed it The Woman's World and raised its tone, adding serious articles on parenting, culture, and politics, keeping discussions of fashion and arts. Two pieces of fiction were usually included, one to be read to children, the other for the ladies themselves. Wilde worked hard to solicit good contributions from his wide artistic acquaintance, including those of Lady Wilde and his wife Constance, while his own "Literary and Other Notes" were themselves popular and amusing. The initial vigour and excitement he brought to the job began to fade as administration, commuting and office life became tedious. At the same time as Wilde's interest lagged, the publishers became concerned anew about circulation: sales, at the relatively high price of one shilling, remained low. Increasingly sending instructions by letter, he began a new period of creative work and his own column appeared less regularly. In October 1889, Wilde had finally found his voice in prose and, at the end of the second volume, Wilde left The Woman's World. The magazine outlasted him by one volume. Shorter fiction Wilde published The Happy Prince and Other Tales in 1888, and had been regularly writing fairy stories for magazines. In 1891 published two more collections, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories, and in September The House of Pomegranates was dedicated "To Constance Mary Wilde". "The Portrait of Mr. W. H.", which Wilde had begun in 1887, was first published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in July 1889. It is a short story, which reports a conversation, in which the theory that Shakespeare's sonnets were written out of the poet's love of the boy actor "Willie Hughes", is advanced, retracted, and then propounded again. The only evidence for this is two supposed puns within the sonnets themselves. The anonymous narrator is at first sceptical, then believing, finally flirtatious with the reader: he concludes that "there is really a great deal to be said of the Willie Hughes theory of Shakespeare's sonnets. By the end fact and fiction have melded together. "You must believe in Willie Hughes," Wilde told an acquaintance. "I almost do, myself”. Essays and dialogues Wilde, having tired of journalism, had been busy setting out his aesthetic ideas more fully in a series of longer prose pieces which were published in the major literary-intellectual journals of the day. In January 1889, The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue appeared in The Nineteenth Century, and Pen, Pencil and Poison, a satirical biography of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, in the Fortnightly Review, edited by Wilde's friend Frank Harris. Two of Wilde's four writings on aesthetics are dialogues, though Wilde had evolved professionally from lecturer to writer, he remained with an oral tradition of sorts. Having always excelled as a wit and raconteur, he often composed by assembling phrases, bons mots and witticisms into a longer, cohesive work. Wilde was concerned about the effect of moralising on art, he believed in its redemptive, developmental powers: "Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine." In his only political text, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, he argued political conditions should establish this primacy, and concluded that the government most amenable to artists was none at all. Wilde envisions a society where mechanisation has freed human effort from the burden of necessity, effort which can instead be expended on artistic creation. George Orwell summarised, "In effect, the world will be populated by artists, each striving after perfection in the way that seems best to him." This point of view did not align him with the Fabians, intellectual socialists who advocated using state apparatus to change social conditions, nor did it endear him to the monied classes whom he had previously entertained. Hesketh Pearson, introducing a collection of Wilde's essays in 1950, remarked how The Soul of Man Under Socialism had been an inspirational text for Tsarist revolutionaries in Russia but laments that in in the Stalinist era "it is doubtful whether there are any uninspected places in which it could now be hidden". Wilde considered including this pamphlet and The Portrait of Mr. W.H., his essay-story on Shakespeare's sonnets, in a new anthology in 1891, but eventually decided to limit it to purely aesthetic subjects. Intentions packaged revisions of four essays: The Decay of Lying, Pen, Pencil and Poison, The Truth of Masks (first published 1885), and The Critic as Artist in two parts. For Pearson the biographer, the essays and dialogues exhibit every aspect of Wilde's genius and character: wit, romancer, talker, lecturer, humanist and scholar and concludes that"no other productions of his have as varied an appeal". 1891 turned out to be Wilde's annus mirabilis, apart from his three collections he also produced his only novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others. The story begins with a man painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a "face like ivory and rose leaves" sees his finished portrait he breaks down, distraught that his beauty will fade, but the portrait stay beautiful, inadvertently making a Faustian bargain. For Wilde, the purpose of art would guide life if beauty alone were its object. Thus Gray's portrait allows him to escape the corporeal ravages of his hedonism, Wilde sought to juxtapose the beauty he saw in art onto daily life. Reviewers immediately criticised the novel's decadence and homosexual allusion, one in the The Daily Chronicle for example, called it “unclean,” “poisonous,” and “heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction.” Wilde vigorously responded, writing to the Editor of the Scots Observer, he clarified his stance on ethics and aesthetics in art "If a work of art is rich and vital and complete, those who have artistic instincts will see its beauty and those to whom ethics appeal more strongly will see its moral lesson." He nevertheless revised it extensively for book publication in 1891: six new chapters were added, some overt decadence passages and homo-eroticism excised, and a preface consisting of twenty two epigrams, such as "Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. " was included. Contemporary reviewers and modern critics have postulated numerous possible sources of the story, a search Jershua McCormack argues is futile because Wilde "has tapped a root of Western folklore so deep and ubiquitous that the story has escaped its origins and returned to the oral tradition." Wilde claimed the plot was "an idea that is as old as the history of literature but to which I have given a new form". Modern critic Robin McKie considered the novel to be technically mediocre, saying that the conceit of the plot had guaranteed its fame, but the device is never pushed to its full. Theatrical career: 1892–95 Salomé The 1891 census records the Wildes' residence at 16 Tite Street, where he lived with his wife Constance and sons. Wilde though, not content with being more well-known than ever in London, returned to Paris in October 1891, this time as a respected writer. He was received at the salons littéraires, including the famous mardis of Stéphane Mallarmé, a renowned symbolist poet of the time. Wilde's two plays during the 1880s, Vera; or, The Nihilists and The Duchess of Padua, had not met with much success. He had continued his interest in the theatre and now, after finding his voice in prose, his thoughts turned again to the dramatic form as the biblical iconography of Salome filled his head. One evening, after discussing depictions of Salome throughout history, he returned to his hotel to notice a blank copybook lying on the desk, and it occurred to him to write down what he had been saying. He wrote a new play, Salomé, rapidly and in French. A tragedy, it tells the story of Salome, the stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but mother's delight, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils. When Wilde returned to London just before Christmas the Paris Echo, a newspaper, referred to him as "le great event" of the season. Rehearsals of the play, including Sarah Bernhardt, began but the play was refused a licence by the Lord Chamberlain, since it depicted biblical characters. Salome was published jointly in Paris and London in 1893, but was not performed until 1896 in Paris, during Wilde's later incarceration. Comedies of society Wilde, who had first set out to irritate Victorian society with his dress and talking points, then outrage it with Dorian Gray, his novel of vice hidden beneath art, finally found a way to critique society on its own terms. Lady Windermere's Fan was first performed on 20 February 1892 at St James Theatre, packed with the cream of society. On the surface a witty comedy, there is subtle subversion underneath: "it concludes with collusive concealment rather than collective disclosure". The audience, like Lady Windermere, are forced to soften harsh social codes in favour of a more nuanced view. The play was enormously popular, touring the country for months, but largely thrashed by conservative critics. It was followed by A Woman of No Importance in 1893, another Victorian comedy: revolving around the spectre of illegitimate births, mistaken identities and late revelations. Wilde was commissioned to write two more plays and An Ideal Husband, written in 1894, followed in January 1895. Peter Raby said these essentially English plays were well-pitched, "Wilde, with one eye on the dramatic genius of Ibsen, and the other on the commercial competition in London's West End, targeted his audience with adroit precision”. Queensberry family In mid-1891 Lionel Johnson introduced Wilde to Alfred Douglas, an undergraduate at Oxford at the time. Known to his family and friends as "Bosie", he was a handsome and spoilt young man. An intimate friendship sprang up between Wilde and Douglas and by 1893 Wilde was infatuated with Douglas and they consorted together regularly in a tempestuous affair. If Wilde was relatively indiscreet, even flamboyant, in the way he acted, Douglas was reckless in public. Wilde, who was earning up to £100 a week from his plays (his salary at The Woman's World had been £6), indulged Douglas's every whim: material, artistic or sexual. Douglas soon dragged Wilde into the Victorian underground of gay prostitution and Wilde was introduced to a series of young, working class, male prostitutes from 1892 onwards by Alfred Taylor. These infrequent rendez-vous usually took the same form: Wilde would meet the boy, offer him gifts, dine him privately and then take him to a hotel room. Unlike Wilde's idealised, pederastic relations with John Gray, Ross, and Douglas, all of whom remained part of his aesthetic circle, these consorts were uneducated and knew nothing of literature. Soon his public and private lives had become sharply divided; in De Profundis he wrote to Douglas that "It was like feasting with panthers; the danger was half the excitement… I did not know that when they were to strike at me it was to be at another's piping and at another's pay." Douglas and some Oxford friends founded an Oxford journal, The Chameleon, to which Wilde "sent a page of paradoxes originally destined for the Saturday Review". "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young" was to come under attack six months later at Wilde's trial, where he was forced to defend the magazine to which he had sent his work. In any case, it became unique: The Chameleon was not published again. Lord Alfred's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, was known for his outspoken atheism, brutish manner and creation of the modern rules of boxing.[Notes 4] Queensberry, who feuded regularly with his son, confronted Wilde and Lord Alfred about the nature of their relationship several times, but Wilde was able to mollify him. In June 1894, he called on Wilde at 16 Tite Street, without an appointment, and clarified his stance: "I do not say that you are it, but you look it, and pose at it, which is just as bad. And if I catch you and my son again in any public restaurant I will thrash you" to which Wilde responded: "I don't know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight". His account in De Profundis was less triumphant: "It was when, in my library at Tite Street, waving his small hands in the air in epileptic fury, your father… stood uttering every foul word his foul mind could think of, and screaming the loathsome threats he afterwords with such cunning carried out". Queensberry only described the scene once, saying Wilde had "shown him the white feather", meaning he had acted in a cowardly way. Though trying to remain calm, Wilde saw that he was becoming ensnared in a brutal family quarrel. He did not wish to bear Queensberry's insults, but he knew to confront him could lead to disaster were his liaisons disclosed publicly. The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's final play again returns to the theme of switched identities: the play's two protagonists engage in "bunburying" (the maintenance of alternate personas in the town and country) which allows them to escape Victorian social mores. Earnest is even lighter in tone than Wilde's earlier comedies. While their characters often rose to serious themes in moments of crisis, Earnest lacks the by-now stock Wildean characters: there is no "woman with a past", the protagonists are neither villainous nor cunning, simply idle cultivés, and the idealistic young women are not that innocent. Although mostly set in drawing rooms and almost completely lacking in action or violence, Earnest lacks the self-conscious decadence found in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salome. The play, now considered Wilde's masterpiece, was rapidly written in Wilde's artistic maturity in late 1894. It was first performed on 14 February 1895, at St James's Theatre in London, Wilde's second collaboration with George Alexander, the actor-manager. Both author and producer assiduously revised, prepared and rehearsed every line, scene and setting in the months before the premiere, creating a carefully constructed representation of late-Victorian society, yet simultaneously mocking it. During rehearsal Alexander requested that Wilde shorten the play from four acts to three, which the author did. Premieres at St. James's seemed like "brilliant parties", and the opening of The Importance of Being Earnest was no exception. Allan Aynesworth (who played Algy) recalled to Hesketh Pearson, "In my fifty-three years of acting, I never remember a greater triumph than [that] first night." Earnest's immediate reception as Wilde's best work to-date finally crystallised his fame into a solid artistic reputation. The Importance of Being Earnest remains his most popular play. Wilde's professional success was mirrored by an escalation in his feud with Queensberry. Queensberry had planned to publicly insult Wilde by throwing a bouquet of rotting vegetables onto the stage; Wilde was tipped off and had Queensberry barred from entering the theatre. Fifteen weeks later Wilde would be in prison. Trials Wilde v Queensberry On 18 February 1895, the Marquess left his calling card at Wilde's club, the Albemarle, inscribed: "For Oscar Wilde, posing somdomite" [sic].[Notes 5] Wilde, egged on by Douglas and against the advice of his friends, initiated a private prosecution against Queensberry, who was arrested on a charge of criminal libel, a charge carrying a possible sentence of up to two years in prison (Libel Act of 1843): as sodomy was then a crime, Queensberry's note amounted to a public accusation that Wilde had committed a felony. Under the Libel Act 1843, Queensberry could avoid conviction for libel only by demonstrating that his accusation was in fact true, and furthermore that there was some "public benefit" to having made the accusation openly. Queensberry's lawyers thus hired private detectives to find evidence of Wilde's homosexual liaisons to prove the fact of the accusation. They decided on a strategy of portraying Wilde as a depraved older man who habitually enticed naive youths into a life of vicious homosexuality in order to demonstrate that there was some public interest in making the accusation openly, ostensibly to warn off other youths who might otherwise have become entrapped by Wilde. The libel trial became a cause célèbre as salacious details of Wilde's private life with Taylor and Douglas began to appear in the press. A team of private detectives had directed Queensberry's lawyers, led by Edward Carson QC, to the world of the Victorian underground. Wilde's association with blackmailers and male prostitutes, cross-dressers and homosexual brothels was recorded, and various persons involved were interviewed, some being coerced to appear as witnesses since they too were accomplices of the crimes to which Wilde was accused. The trial opened on 3 April 1895 amongst scenes of near hysteria both in the press and the public galleries. The extent of the evidence massed against Wilde forced him to declare meekly, "I am the prosecutor in this case". Wilde's lawyer, Sir Edward George Clarke, opened the case by pre-emptively asking Wilde about two suggestive letters Wilde had written to Douglas, which the defence had in its possession. He characterised the first as a "prose sonnet" and admitted that the "poetical language" might seem strange to the court but claimed its intent was innocent. Wilde stated that the letters had been obtained by blackmailers who had attempted to extort money from him, but he had refused, suggesting they should take the £60 (equal to £5, today) offered, "unusual for a prose piece of that length". He claimed to regard the letters as works of art rather than something to be ashamed of. Carson cross-examined Wilde on how he perceived the moral content of his works. Wilde replied with characteristic wit and flippancy, claiming that works of art are not capable of being moral or immoral but only well or poorly made, and that only "brutes and illiterates," whose views on art "are incalculably stupid", would make such judgements about art. Carson, a leading barrister, diverged from the normal practice of asking closed questions. Carson pressed Wilde on each topic from every angle, squeezing out nuances of meaning from Wilde's answers, removing them from their aesthetic context and portraying Wilde as evasive and decadent. While Wilde won the most laughs from the court, Carson scored the most legal points. To undermine Wilde's credibility, and to justify Queensberry's description of Wilde as a "posing…somdomite", Carson drew from the witness an admission of his capacity for "posing", by demonstrating that he had lied about his age on oath. Playing on this, he returned to the topic throughout his cross-examination. Carson then moved to the factual evidence and questioned Wilde about his acquaintances with younger, lower-class men. Wilde admitted being on a first-name basis and lavishing gifts upon them, but insisted that nothing untoward had occurred and that the men were merely good friends of his. Carson repeatedly pointed out the unusual nature of these relationships and insinuated that the men were prostitutes. Wilde replied that he did not believe in social barriers, and simply enjoyed the society of young men. Then Carson asked Wilde directly whether he had ever kissed a certain servant boy, Wilde responded, "Oh, dear no. He was a particularly plain boy – unfortunately ugly – I pitied him for it." Carson pressed him on the answer, repeatedly asking why the boy's ugliness was relevant. Wilde hesitated, then for the first time became flustered: "You sting me and insult me and try to unnerve me; and at times one says things flippantly when one ought to speak more seriously." In his opening speech for the defence, Carson announced that he had located several male prostitutes who were to testify that they had had sex with Wilde. On the advice of his lawyers, Wilde dropped the prosecution. Queensberry was found not guilty, as the court declared that his accusation that Wilde was "posing as a Somdomite" [sic] was justified, "true in substance and in fact." Under the Libel Act 1843, Queensberry's acquittal rendered Wilde legally liable for the considerable expenses Queensberry had incurred in his defence, which left Wilde bankrupt. Regina v. Wilde After Wilde left the court, a warrant for his arrest was applied for on charges of sodomy and gross indecency. Robbie Ross found Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel, Knightsbridge with Reginald Turner; both men advised Wilde to go at once to Dover and try to get a boat to France; his mother advised him to stay and fight like a man. Wilde, lapsing into inaction, could only say, "The train has gone. It's too late." Wilde was arrested for "gross indecency" under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, a term meaning homosexual acts not amounting to buggery (an offence under a separate statute). At Wilde's instruction, Ross and Wilde's butler forced their way into the bedroom and library of 16 Tite Street, packing some personal effects, manuscripts, and letters. Wilde was then imprisoned on remand at Holloway where he received daily visits from Douglas. Events moved quickly and his prosecution opened on 26 April 1895. Wilde pleaded not guilty. He had already begged Douglas to leave London for Paris, but Douglas complained bitterly, even wanting to take the stand; however he was pressed to go and soon fled to the Hotel du Monde. Fearing persecution, Ross and many other gentlemen also left the United Kingdom during this time. Under cross examination Wilde was at first hesitant, then spoke eloquently: Charles Gill (prosecuting): What is "the love that dare not speak its name"? Wilde: "The love that dare not speak its name" in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as "the love that dare not speak its name," and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it. This response was, however, counter-productive in a legal sense as it only served to reinforce the charges of homosexual behaviour. The trial ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict. Wilde's counsel, Sir Edward Clarke, was finally able to agree bail. The Reverend Stewart Headlam put up most of the £5, bail, having disagreed with Wilde's treatment by the press and the courts. Wilde was freed from Holloway and, shunning attention, went into hiding at the house of Ernest and Ada Leverson, two of his firm friends. Edward Carson approached Frank Lockwood QC, the Solicitor General and asked "Can we not let up on the fellow now?" Lockwood answered that he would like to do so, but feared that the case had become too politicised to be dropped. The final trial was presided over by Mr Justice Wills. On 25 May 1895 Wilde and Alfred Taylor were convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years' hard labour. The judge described the sentence, the maximum allowed, as "totally inadequate for a case such as this," and that the case was "the worst case I have ever tried". Wilde's response "And I? May I say nothing, my Lord?" was drowned out in cries of "Shame" in the courtroom. Imprisonment Wilde was imprisoned first in Pentonville and then Wandsworth Prison in London. Inmates followed a regimen of "hard labour, hard fare and a hard bed", which wore very harshly on Wilde, accustomed as he was to many creature comforts. His health declined sharply, and in November he collapsed during chapel from illness and hunger. His right ear drum was ruptured in the fall, an injury that would later contribute to his death. He spent two months in the infirmary. Richard B. Haldane, the Liberal MP and reformer, visited him and had him transferred in November to HM's Prison, Reading, 30 miles (48 km) west of London. The transfer itself was the lowest point of his incarceration, as a crowd jeered and spat at him on the platform. Now known as prisoner C. 3. he was not, at first, even allowed paper and pen but Haldane eventually succeeded in allowing access to books and writing materials. Wilde requested, among others: the Bible in French, Italian and German grammars, some Ancient Greek texts, Dante's Divine Comedy, En Route, Joris-Karl Huysmans's new French novel about Christian redemption; and essays by St Augustine, Cardinal Newman and Walter Pater. Between January and March 1897 Wilde wrote a 50,-word letter to Douglas, which he was not allowed to send, but was permitted to take with him upon release. In reflective mode, Wilde coldly examines his career to date, how he had been a colourful agent provocateur in Victorian society, his art, like his paradoxes, seeking to subvert as well as sparkle. His own estimation of himself was of one who "stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age". It was from these heights that his life with Douglas began, and Wilde examines that particularly closely, repudiating him for what Wilde finally sees as his arrogance and vanity: he had not forgotten Douglas's remark, when he was ill, "When you are not on your pedestal you are not interesting." Wilde blamed himself, though, for the ethical degradation of character that he allowed Douglas to bring about on him and took responsibility for his own fall, "I am here for having tried to put your father in prison." The first half concludes with Wilde's forgiving Douglas, for his own sake as much as Douglas'. The second half of the letter traces Wilde's spiritual journey of redemption and fulfilment through his prison reading. He realised that his ordeal had filled the soul with the fruit of experience, however bitter it tasted at the time. ...I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world... And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived. My only mistake was that I confined myself so exclusively to the trees of what seemed to me the sun-lit side of the garden, and shunned the other side for its shadow and its gloom. On his release, he gave the manuscript to Ross, who may or may not have carried out Wilde's instructions to send a copy to Douglas (who later denied having received it). De Profundis was partially published in 1905, its complete and correct publication first occurred in 1962 in The Letters of Oscar Wilde. Decline: 1897–1900 Exile Wilde was released on 19 May 1897, and though his health had suffered greatly, he had a feeling of spiritual renewal. He immediately wrote to the Society of Jesus requesting a six-month Catholic retreat; when the request was denied, Wilde wept. "I intend to be received before long", Wilde told a journalist who asked about his religious intentions. He left England the next day for the continent, to spend his last three years in penniless exile. He took the name "Sebastian Melmoth", after Saint Sebastian, and the titular character of Melmoth the Wanderer; a gothic novel by Charles Maturin, Wilde's great-uncle. Wilde wrote two long letters to the editor of the Daily Chronicle, describing the brutal conditions of English prisons and advocating penal reform. His discussion of the dismissal of Warder Martin, for giving biscuits to an anaemic child prisoner, repeated the themes of the corruption and degeneration of punishment that he had earlier outlined in The Soul of Man Under Socialism. Wilde spent mid-1897 with Robert Ross in Berneval-le-Grand, where he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol. The poem narrates the execution of a man who murdered his wife for her infidelity; it moves from an objective story-telling to symbolic identification with the prisoners as a whole. No attempt is made to assess the justice of the laws which convicted them, but rather the poem highlights the brutalisation of the punishment that all convicts share. Wilde juxtaposes the executed man and himself with the line "Yet each man kills the thing he loves". Wilde too was separated from his wife and sons. He adopted the proletarian ballad form, and the author was credited as "C..." He suggested it be published in Reynold's Magazine, "because it circulates widely among the criminal classes – to which I now belong – for once I will be read by my peers – a new experience for me". It was a commercial success, going through seven editions in less than two years, only after which "[Oscar Wilde]" was added to the title page, though many in literary circles had known Wilde to be the author. It brought him a little money. Although Douglas had been the cause of his misfortunes, he and Wilde were reunited in August 1897 at Rouen. This meeting was disapproved of by the friends and families of both men. Constance Wilde was already refusing to meet Wilde or allow him to see their sons, though she kept him supplied with money. During the latter part of 1897, Wilde and Douglas lived together near Naples for a few months until they were separated by their respective families under the threat of a cutting-off of funds. Wilde's final address was at the dingy Hôtel d'Alsace (now known as L'Hôtel), in Paris; "This poverty really breaks one's heart: it is so sale, so utterly depressing, so hopeless. Pray do what you can" he wrote to his publisher. He corrected and published An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, the proofs of which Ellmann argues show a man "very much in command of himself and of the play" but he refused to write anything else "I can write, but have lost the joy of writing". He spent much time wandering the Boulevards alone, and spent what little money he had on alcohol. A series of embarrassing encounters with English visitors, or Frenchmen he had known in better days, further damaged his spirit. Soon Wilde was sufficiently confined to his hotel to remark, on one of his final trips outside, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go." On 12 October 1900 he sent a telegram to Ross: "Terribly weak. Please come." His moods fluctuated; Max Beerbohm relates how their mutual friend Reginald 'Reggie' Turner had found Wilde very depressed after a nightmare. "I dreamt that I had died, and was supping with the dead!" "I am sure", Turner replied, "that you must have been the life and soul of the party." Turner was one of the very few of the old circle who remained with Wilde right to the end, and was at his bedside when he died. Death By 25 November Wilde had developed cerebral meningitis. Robbie Ross arrived on 29 November and sent for a priest, and Wilde was conditionally baptised into the Catholic Church by Fr Cuthbert Dunne, a Passionist priest from Dublin (the sacrament being conditional because of the doctrine that one may only be baptised once – Wilde having a recollection of Catholic baptism as child, a fact later attested to by the minister of the sacrament, Fr Lawrence Fox). Fr Dunne recorded the baptism: As the voiture rolled through the dark streets that wintry night, the sad story of Oscar Wilde was in part repeated to me....Robert Ross knelt by the bedside, assisting me as best he could while I administered conditional baptism, and afterwards answering the responses while I gave Extreme Unction to the prostrate man and recited the prayers for the dying. As the man was in a semi-comatose condition, I did not venture to administer the Holy Viaticum; still I must add that he could be roused and was roused from this state in my presence. When roused, he gave signs of being inwardly conscious… Indeed I was fully satisfied that he understood me when told that I was about to receive him into the Catholic Church and gave him the Last Sacraments… And when I repeated close to his ear the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, he tried all through to say the words after me. Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on 30 November 1900. Different opinions are given as to the cause of the meningitis: Richard Ellmann claimed it was syphilitic; Merlin Holland, Wilde's grandson, thought this to be a misconception, noting that Wilde's meningitis followed a surgical intervention, perhaps a mastoidectomy; Wilde's physicians, Dr. Paul Cleiss and A'Court Tucker, reported that the condition stemmed from an old suppuration of the right ear (une ancienne suppuration de l'oreille droite d'ailleurs en traitement depuis plusieurs années) and did not allude to syphilis. Wilde was initially buried in the Cimetière de Bagneux outside Paris; in 1909 his remains were disinterred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, inside the city. His tomb was designed by Sir Jacob Epstein,[Notes 8] commissioned by Robert Ross, who asked for a small compartment to be made for his own ashes which were duly transferred in 1950. The modernist angel depicted as a relief on the tomb was originally complete with male genitalia which have since been vandalised; their current whereabouts are unknown. In 2000, Leon Johnson, a multimedia artist, installed a silver prosthesis to replace them. The epitaph is a verse from The Ballad of Reading Gaol: And alien tears will fill for him Pity's long-broken urn, For his mourners will be outcast men, And outcasts always mourn. Biographies Wilde's life continues to fascinate and he has been the subject of numerous biographies since his death. The earliest were memoirs by those known to him: often they are personal or impressionistic accounts which can be good character sketches, but factually unreliable. Frank Harris, his friend and editor, wrote a biography, Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions (1916), though prone to exaggeration and sometimes factually inaccurate, it offers a good literary portrait of Wilde. Lord Alfred Douglas wrote two books about his relationship with Wilde: Oscar Wilde and Myself (1914), largely ghost-written by T.W.H. Crosland, vindictively reacted to Douglas's discovery that De Profundis was addressed to him and defensively tried to distance him from Wilde's scandalous reputation. Both authors later regretted their work. Later, in Oscar Wilde: A Summing Up (1939) and his Autobiography he was more sympathetic to Wilde. Of Wilde's other close friends, Robert Sherard, Robert Ross, his literary executor; and Charles Ricketts variously published biographies, reminiscences or correspondence. The first more or less objective biography of Wilde came about when Hesketh Pearson wrote Oscar Wilde: His Life and Wit (1946). In 1954 Vyvyan Holland published his memoir Son of Oscar Wilde, which recounts the difficulties Wilde's wife and children faced after his imprisonment. It was revised and updated by Merlin Holland in 1989. Wilde's life was still waiting for independent, true scholarship when Richard Ellmann began researching his 1987 biography Oscar Wilde, for which he posthumously won a National (USA) Book Critics Circle Award in 1988 and a Pulitzer Prize in 1989. The book was the basis for the 1997 film Wilde, directed by Brian Gilbert and starring Stephen Fry as the title character. Neil McKenna's 2003 biography, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, offers an exploration of Wilde's sexuality. Often speculative in nature, it was widely criticised for its lack of scholarly rigour and pure conjecture. Thomas Wright's Oscar's Books (2008) explores Wilde's reading from his childhood in Dublin to his death in Paris. After tracking down many books that once belonged to Wilde's Tite Street library (dispersed at the time of his trials), Wright was the first to examine Wilde's marginalia. Wilde's charm also had a lasting effect on the Parisian literati, who have produced a number of original biographies and monographs on him. André Gide, on whom Wilde had such a strange effect, wrote, In Memoriam, Oscar Wilde; Wilde also features in his journals. Thomas Louis, who had earlier translated books on Wilde into French, produced his own L’esprit d’Oscar Wilde in 1920. Modern books include Philippe Jullian's Oscar Wilde, and L'affaire Oscar Wilde ou Du danger de laisser la justice mettre le nez dans nos draps (The Oscar Wilde Affair, or, On the Danger of Allowing Justice to put its Nose in our Sheets) by Odon Vallet, a French religious historian. Selected works * Poems (1881) * The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888, fairy stories) * Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891, stories) * House of Pomegranates (1891, fairy stories) * Intentions (1891, essays and dialogues on aesthetics) * The Picture of Dorian Gray (first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine July 1890, in book form in 1891; novel) * The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891, political essay) * Lady Windermere's Fan (1892, play) * A Woman of No Importance (1893, play) * An Ideal Husband (performed 1895, published 1898; play) * The Importance of Being Earnest (performed 1895, published 1898; play) * De Profundis (written 1897, published variously 1905, 1908, 1949, 1962; epistle) * The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898, poem) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde
Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly called C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. Born in Belfast, Ireland, he held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–1954, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–1963. He is best known both for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and both were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings”. According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England”. His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.
Dora Maria Sigerson Shorter (16 August 1866– 6 January 1918) was an Irish poet and sculptor, who after her marriage in 1895 wrote under the name Dora Sigerson Shorter. She was born in Dublin, Ireland, the daughter of George Sigerson, a surgeon and writer, and Hester (née Varian), also a writer. She was a major figure of the Irish Literary Revival, publishing many collections of poetry from 1893. Her friends included Katharine Tynan, Rose Kavanagh and Alice Furlong, writers and poets. In 1895 she married Clement King Shorter, an English journalist and literary critic. They lived together in London, until her death at age 51 from undisclosed causes.
William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served as a Senator of the Irish Free State for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others. Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland and educated there and in London. He spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the 20th century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Biography Early years William Butler Yeats was born at Sandymount in County Dublin, Ireland. His father, John Butler Yeats (1839–1922), was a descendant of Jervis Yeats, a Williamite soldier, linen merchant, and well-known painter who died in 1712. Benjamin Yeats, Jervis’s grandson and William’s great-great-grandfather, had in 1773 married Mary Butler of a landed family in County Kildare. Following their marriage, they kept the name Butler. Mary was of the Butler of Neigham (pronounced Nyam) Gowran family, descended from an illegitimate brother of the 8th Earl of Ormond.By his marriage, William’s father John Yeats was studying law but abandoned his studies to study art at Heatherley School of Fine Art in London. His mother, Susan Mary Pollexfen, came from a wealthy merchant family in Sligo, who owned a milling and shipping business. Soon after William’s birth the family relocated to the Pollexfen home at Merville, Sligo to stay with her extended family, and the young poet came to think of the area as his childhood and spiritual home. Its landscape became, over time, both literally and symbolically, his “country of the heart”. So also did its location on the sea; John Yeats stated that “by marriage with a Pollexfen, we have given a tongue to the sea cliffs”. The Butler Yeats family were highly artistic; his brother Jack became an esteemed painter, while his sisters Elizabeth and Susan Mary—known to family and friends as Lollie and Lily—became involved in the Arts and Crafts movement.Yeats was raised a member of the Protestant Ascendancy, which was at the time undergoing a crisis of identity. While his family was broadly supportive of the changes Ireland was experiencing, the nationalist revival of the late 19th century directly disadvantaged his heritage, and informed his outlook for the remainder of his life. In 1997, his biographer R. F. Foster observed that Napoleon’s dictum that to understand the man you have to know what was happening in the world when he was twenty “is manifestly true of W.B.Y.” Yeats’s childhood and young adulthood were shadowed by the power-shift away from the minority Protestant Ascendancy. The 1880s saw the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell and the home rule movement; the 1890s saw the momentum of nationalism, while the Catholics became prominent around the turn of the century. These developments had a profound effect on his poetry, and his subsequent explorations of Irish identity had a significant influence on the creation of his country’s biography.In 1867, the family moved to England to aid their father, John, to further his career as an artist. At first the Yeats children were educated at home. Their mother entertained them with stories and Irish folktales. John provided an erratic education in geography and chemistry, and took William on natural history explorations of the nearby Slough countryside. On 26 January 1877, the young poet entered the Godolphin school, which he attended for four years. He did not distinguish himself academically, and an early school report describes his performance as “only fair. Perhaps better in Latin than in any other subject. Very poor in spelling”. Though he had difficulty with mathematics and languages (possibly because he was tone deaf), he was fascinated by biology and zoology. In 1879 the family moved to Bedford Park taking a two-year lease on 8 Woodstock Road. For financial reasons, the family returned to Dublin toward the end of 1880, living at first in the suburbs of Harold’s Cross and later Howth. In October 1881, Yeats resumed his education at Dublin’s Erasmus Smith High School. His father’s studio was nearby and William spent a great deal of time there, where he met many of the city’s artists and writers. During this period he started writing poetry, and, in 1885, the Dublin University Review published Yeats’s first poems, as well as an essay entitled “The Poetry of Sir Samuel Ferguson”. Between 1884 and 1886, William attended the Metropolitan School of Art—now the National College of Art and Design—in Thomas Street. In March 1888 the family moved to 3 Blenheim Road in Bedford Park. The rent on the house was £50 a year.He began writing his first works when he was seventeen; these included a poem—heavily influenced by Percy Bysshe Shelley—that describes a magician who set up a throne in central Asia. Other pieces from this period include a draft of a play about a bishop, a monk, and a woman accused of paganism by local shepherds, as well as love-poems and narrative lyrics on German knights. The early works were both conventional and, according to the critic Charles Johnston, “utterly unIrish”, seeming to come out of a “vast murmurous gloom of dreams”. Although Yeats’s early works drew heavily on Shelley, Edmund Spenser, and on the diction and colouring of pre-Raphaelite verse, he soon turned to Irish mythology and folklore and the writings of William Blake. In later life, Yeats paid tribute to Blake by describing him as one of the “great artificers of God who uttered great truths to a little clan”. In 1891, Yeats published John Sherman and “Dhoya”, one a novella, the other a story. The influence of Oscar Wilde is evident in Yeats’s theory of aesthetics, especially in his stage plays, and runs like a motif through his early works. The theory of masks, developed by Wilde in his polemic The Decay of Lying can clearly be seen in Yeats’s play The Player Queen, while the more sensual characterisation of Salomé, in Wildes play of the same name, provides the template for the changes Yeats made in his later plays, especially in On Baile’s Strand (1904), Deirdre (1907), and his dance play The King of the Great Clock Tower (1934). Young poet The family returned to London in 1887. In March 1890 Yeats joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and with Ernest Rhys co-founded the Rhymers’ Club, a group of London-based poets who met regularly in a Fleet Street tavern to recite their verse. Yeats later sought to mythologize the collective, calling it the “Tragic Generation” in his autobiography, and published two anthologies of the Rhymers’ work, the first one in 1892 and the second one in 1894. He collaborated with Edwin Ellis on the first complete edition of William Blake’s works, in the process rediscovering a forgotten poem, “Vala, or, the Four Zoas”.Yeats had a lifelong interest in mysticism, spiritualism, occultism and astrology. He read extensively on the subjects throughout his life, became a member of the paranormal research organisation “The Ghost Club” (in 1911) and was especially influenced by the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. As early as 1892, he wrote: “If I had not made magic my constant study I could not have written a single word of my Blake book, nor would The Countess Kathleen ever have come to exist. The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.” His mystical interests—also inspired by a study of Hinduism, under the Theosophist Mohini Chatterjee, and the occult—formed much of the basis of his late poetry. Some critics disparaged this aspect of Yeats’s work.His first significant poem was “The Island of Statues”, a fantasy work that took Edmund Spenser and Shelley for its poetic models. The piece was serialized in the Dublin University Review. Yeats wished to include it in his first collection, but it was deemed too long, and in fact was never republished in his lifetime. Quinx Books published the poem in complete form for the first time in 2014. His first solo publication was the pamphlet Mosada: A Dramatic Poem (1886), which comprised a print run of 100 copies paid for by his father. This was followed by the collection The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889), which arranged a series of verse that dated as far back as the mid-1880s. The long title poem contains, in the words of his biographer R. F. Foster, "obscure Gaelic names, striking repetitions [and] an unremitting rhythm subtly varied as the poem proceeded through its three sections"; “The Wanderings of Oisin” is based on the lyrics of the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology and displays the influence of both Sir Samuel Ferguson and the Pre-Raphaelite poets. The poem took two years to complete and was one of the few works from this period that he did not disown in his maturity. Oisin introduces what was to become one of his most important themes: the appeal of the life of contemplation over the appeal of the life of action. Following the work, Yeats never again attempted another long poem. His other early poems, which are meditations on the themes of love or mystical and esoteric subjects, include Poems (1895), The Secret Rose (1897), and The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). The covers of these volumes were illustrated by Yeats’s friend Althea Gyles.During 1885, Yeats was involved in the formation of the Dublin Hermetic Order. The society held its first meeting on 16 June, with Yeats acting as its chairman. The same year, the Dublin Theosophical lodge was opened in conjunction with Brahmin Mohini Chatterjee, who travelled from the Theosophical Society in London to lecture. Yeats attended his first séance the following year. He later became heavily involved with the Theosophy and with hermeticism, particularly with the eclectic Rosicrucianism of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. During séances held from 1912, a spirit calling itself “Leo Africanus” apparently claimed it was Yeats’s Daemon or anti-self, inspiring some of the speculations in Per Amica Silentia Lunae. He was admitted into the Golden Dawn in March 1890 and took the magical motto Daemon est Deus inversus—translated as 'Devil is God inverted’. He was an active recruiter for the sect’s Isis-Urania Temple, and brought in his uncle George Pollexfen, Maud Gonne, and Florence Farr. Although he reserved a distaste for abstract and dogmatic religions founded around personality cults, he was attracted to the type of people he met at the Golden Dawn. He was involved in the Order’s power struggles, both with Farr and Macgregor Mathers, and was involved when Mathers sent Aleister Crowley to repossess Golden Dawn paraphernalia during the “Battle of Blythe Road”. After the Golden Dawn ceased and splintered into various offshoots, Yeats remained with the Stella Matutina until 1921. Maud Gonne In 1889, Yeats met Maud Gonne, a 23-year-old English heiress and ardent Irish Nationalist. She was eighteen months younger than Yeats and later claimed she met the poet as a “paint-stained art student.” Gonne admired “The Island of Statues” and sought out his acquaintance. Yeats began an obsessive infatuation, and she had a significant and lasting effect on his poetry and his life thereafter. In later years he admitted, "it seems to me that she [Gonne] brought into my life those days—for as yet I saw only what lay upon the surface—the middle of the tint, a sound as of a Burmese gong, an over-powering tumult that had yet many pleasant secondary notes." Yeats’s love was unrequited, in part due to his reluctance to participate in her nationalist activism.In 1891 he visited Gonne in Ireland and proposed marriage, but was rejected. He later admitted that from that point “the troubling of my life began”. Yeats proposed to Gonne three more times: in 1899, 1900 and 1901. She refused each proposal, and in 1903, to his dismay, married the Irish nationalist Major John MacBride. His only other love affair during this period was with Olivia Shakespear, whom he first met in 1894, and parted from in 1897. Yeats derided MacBride in letters and in poetry. He was horrified by Gonne’s marriage, at losing his muse to another man; in addition, her conversion to Catholicism before marriage offended him; Yeats was Protestant/agnostic. He worried his muse would come under the influence of the priests and do their bidding.Gonne’s marriage to MacBride was a disaster. This pleased Yeats, as Gonne began to visit him in London. After the birth of her son, Seán MacBride, in 1904, Gonne and MacBride agreed to end the marriage, although they were unable to agree on the child’s welfare. Despite the use of intermediaries, a divorce case ensued in Paris in 1905. Gonne made a series of allegations against her husband with Yeats as her main 'second’, though he did not attend court or travel to France. A divorce was not granted, for the only accusation that held up in court was that MacBride had been drunk once during the marriage. A separation was granted, with Gonne having custody of the baby and MacBride having visiting rights. Yeats’s friendship with Gonne ended, yet, in Paris in 1908, they finally consummated their relationship. “The long years of fidelity rewarded at last” was how another of his lovers described the event. Yeats was less sentimental and later remarked that “the tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.” The relationship did not develop into a new phase after their night together, and soon afterwards Gonne wrote to the poet indicating that despite the physical consummation, they could not continue as they had been: “I have prayed so hard to have all earthly desire taken from my love for you and dearest, loving you as I do, I have prayed and I am praying still that the bodily desire for me may be taken from you too.” By January 1909, Gonne was sending Yeats letters praising the advantage given to artists who abstain from sex. Nearly twenty years later, Yeats recalled the night with Gonne in his poem “A Man Young and Old”: In 1896, Yeats was introduced to Lady Gregory by their mutual friend Edward Martyn. Gregory encouraged Yeats’s nationalism, and convinced him to continue focusing on writing drama. Although he was influenced by French Symbolism, Yeats concentrated on an identifiably Irish content and this inclination was reinforced by his involvement with a new generation of younger and emerging Irish authors. Together with Lady Gregory, Martyn, and other writers including J. M. Synge, Seán O’Casey, and Padraic Colum, Yeats was one of those responsible for the establishment of the “Irish Literary Revival” movement. Apart from these creative writers, much of the impetus for the Revival came from the work of scholarly translators who were aiding in the discovery of both the ancient sagas and Ossianic poetry and the more recent folk song tradition in Irish. One of the most significant of these was Douglas Hyde, later the first President of Ireland, whose Love Songs of Connacht was widely admired. Abbey Theatre In 1899, Yeats, Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and George Moore began the Irish Literary Theatre to present Irish plays. The ideals of the Abbey were derived from the avant-garde French theatre, which sought to express the "ascendancy of the playwright rather than the actor-manager à l’anglais." The group’s manifesto, which Yeats wrote, declared, "We hope to find in Ireland an uncorrupted & imaginative audience trained to listen by its passion for oratory... & that freedom to experiment which is not found in the theatres of England, & without which no new movement in art or literature can succeed."The collective survived for about two years but was not successful. Working with two Irish brothers with theatrical experience, William and Frank Fay, Yeats’s unpaid yet independently wealthy secretary Annie Horniman, and the leading West End actress Florence Farr, the group established the Irish National Theatre Society. Along with Synge, they acquired property in Dublin and on 27 December 1904 opened the Abbey Theatre. Yeats’s play Cathleen ni Houlihan and Lady Gregory’s Spreading the News were featured on the opening night. Yeats remained involved with the Abbey until his death, both as a member of the board and a prolific playwright. In 1902, he helped set up the Dun Emer Press to publish work by writers associated with the Revival. This became the Cuala Press in 1904, and inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, sought to “find work for Irish hands in the making of beautiful things.” From then until its closure in 1946, the press—which was run by the poet’s sisters—produced over 70 titles; 48 of them books by Yeats himself. Yeats met the American poet Ezra Pound in 1909. Pound had travelled to London at least partly to meet the older man, whom he considered “the only poet worthy of serious study.” From that year until 1916, the two men wintered in the Stone Cottage at Ashdown Forest, with Pound nominally acting as Yeats’s secretary. The relationship got off to a rocky start when Pound arranged for the publication in the magazine Poetry of some of Yeats’s verse with Pound’s own unauthorised alterations. These changes reflected Pound’s distaste for Victorian prosody. A more indirect influence was the scholarship on Japanese Noh plays that Pound had obtained from Ernest Fenollosa’s widow, which provided Yeats with a model for the aristocratic drama he intended to write. The first of his plays modelled on Noh was At the Hawk’s Well, the first draft of which he dictated to Pound in January 1916.The emergence of a nationalist revolutionary movement from the ranks of the mostly Roman Catholic lower-middle and working class made Yeats reassess some of his attitudes. In the refrain of "Easter, 1916" ("All changed, changed utterly / A terrible beauty is born"), Yeats faces his own failure to recognise the merits of the leaders of the Easter Rising, due to his attitude towards their ordinary backgrounds and lives.Yeats was close to Lady Gregory and her home place of Coole Park, Co, Galway. He would often visit and stay there as it was a central meeting place for people who supported the resurgence of Irish literature and cultural traditions. His poem, “The Wild Swans at Coole” was written there, between 1916 and 1917. He wrote prefaces for two books of Irish mythological tales, compiled by Augusta, Lady Gregory: Cuchulain of Muirthemne (1902), and Gods and Fighting Men (1904). In the preface of the later he wrote: “One must not expect in these stories the epic lineaments, the many incidents, woven into one great event of, let us say the War for the Brown Bull of Cuailgne, or that of the last gathering at Muirthemne.” Politics Yeats was an Irish Nationalist, who sought a kind of traditional lifestyle articulated through poems such as 'The Fisherman’. However, as his life progressed, he sheltered much of his revolutionary spirit and distanced himself from the intense political landscape until 1922, when he was appointed Senator for the Irish Free State.In the earlier part of his life, Yeats was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Due to the escalating tension of the political scene, Yeats distanced himself from the core political activism in the midst of the Easter Rising, even holding back his poetry inspired by the events until 1920. In the 1930s Yeats was fascinated with the authoritarian, anti-democratic, nationalist movements of Europe, and he composed several marching songs for the right-wing Blueshirts, although they were never used. He was a fierce opponent of individualism and political liberalism, and saw the fascist movements as a triumph of public order and the needs of the national collective over petty individualism. On the other hand, he was also an elitist who abhorred the idea of mob-rule, and saw democracy as a threat to good governance and public order. After the Blueshirt movement began to falter in Ireland, he distanced himself somewhat from his previous views, but maintained a preference for authoritarian and nationalist leadership. D. P. Moran called him a minor poet and “crypto-Protestant conman.” Marriage to Georgie Hyde Lees By 1916, Yeats was 51 years old and determined to marry and produce an heir. His rival John MacBride had been executed for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, so Yeats hoped that his widow might remarry. His final proposal to Maud Gonne took place in mid-1916. Gonne’s history of revolutionary political activism, as well as a series of personal catastrophes in the previous few years of her life—including chloroform addiction and her troubled marriage to MacBride—made her a potentially unsuitable wife; biographer R. F. Foster has observed that Yeats’s last offer was motivated more by a sense of duty than by a genuine desire to marry her. Yeats proposed in an indifferent manner, with conditions attached, and he both expected and hoped she would turn him down. According to Foster “when he duly asked Maud to marry him, and was duly refused, his thoughts shifted with surprising speed to her daughter.” Iseult Gonne was Maud’s second child with Lucien Millevoye, and at the time was twenty-one years old. She had lived a sad life to this point; conceived as an attempt to reincarnate her short-lived brother, for the first few years of her life she was presented as her mother’s adopted niece. When Maud told her that she was going to marry, Iseult cried and told her mother that she hated MacBride. When Gonne took action to divorce MacBride in 1905, the court heard allegations that he had sexually assaulted Iseult, then eleven. At fifteen, she proposed to Yeats. In 1917, he proposed to Iseult, but was rejected. That September, Yeats proposed to 25-year-old Georgie Hyde-Lees (1892–1968), known as George, whom he had met through Olivia Shakespear. Despite warnings from her friends—"George... you can’t. He must be dead"—Hyde-Lees accepted, and the two were married on 20 October. Their marriage was a success, in spite of the age difference, and in spite of Yeats’s feelings of remorse and regret during their honeymoon. The couple went on to have two children, Anne and Michael. Although in later years he had romantic relationships with other women, Georgie herself wrote to her husband “When you are dead, people will talk about your love affairs, but I shall say nothing, for I will remember how proud you were.”During the first years of marriage, they experimented with automatic writing; she contacted a variety of spirits and guides they called “Instructors” while in a trance. The spirits communicated a complex and esoteric system of philosophy and history, which the couple developed into an exposition using geometrical shapes: phases, cones, and gyres. Yeats devoted much time to preparing this material for publication as A Vision (1925). In 1924, he wrote to his publisher T. Werner Laurie, admitting: “I dare say I delude myself in thinking this book my book of books”. Nobel Prize In December 1923, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”. He was aware of the symbolic value of an Irish winner so soon after Ireland had gained independence, and sought to highlight the fact at each available opportunity. His reply to many of the letters of congratulations sent to him contained the words: “I consider that this honour has come to me less as an individual than as a representative of Irish literature, it is part of Europe’s welcome to the Free State.”Yeats used the occasion of his acceptance lecture at the Royal Academy of Sweden to present himself as a standard-bearer of Irish nationalism and Irish cultural independence. As he remarked, “The theatres of Dublin were empty buildings hired by the English traveling companies, and we wanted Irish plays and Irish players. When we thought of these plays we thought of everything that was romantic and poetical, because the nationalism we had called up—the nationalism every generation had called up in moments of discouragement—was romantic and poetical.” The prize led to a significant increase in the sales of his books, as his publishers Macmillan sought to capitalise on the publicity. For the first time he had money, and he was able to repay not only his own debts, but those of his father. Old age and death By early 1925, Yeats’s health had stabilised, and he had completed most of the writing for A Vision (dated 1925, it actually appeared in January 1926, when he almost immediately started rewriting it for a second version). He had been appointed to the first Irish Senate in 1922, and was re-appointed for a second term in 1925. Early in his tenure, a debate on divorce arose, and Yeats viewed the issue as primarily a confrontation between the emerging Roman Catholic ethos and the Protestant minority. When the Roman Catholic Church weighed in with a blanket refusal to consider their anti position, The Irish Times countered that a measure to outlaw divorce would alienate Protestants and “crystallise” the partition of Ireland. In response, Yeats delivered a series of speeches that attacked the “quixotically impressive” ambitions of the government and clergy, likening their campaign tactics to those of “medieval Spain.” “Marriage is not to us a Sacrament, but, upon the other hand, the love of a man and woman, and the inseparable physical desire, are sacred. This conviction has come to us through ancient philosophy and modern literature, and it seems to us a most sacrilegious thing to persuade two people who hate each other... to live together, and it is to us no remedy to permit them to part if neither can re-marry.” The resulting debate has been described as one of Yeats’s “supreme public moments”, and began his ideological move away from pluralism towards religious confrontation. His language became more forceful; the Jesuit Father Peter Finlay was described by Yeats as a man of “monstrous discourtesy”, and he lamented that, “It is one of the glories of the Church in which I was born that we have put our Bishops in their place in discussions requiring legislation”. During his time in the Senate, Yeats further warned his colleagues: “If you show that this country, southern Ireland, is going to be governed by Roman Catholic ideas and by Catholic ideas alone, you will never get the North... You will put a wedge in the midst of this nation”. He memorably said of his fellow Irish Protestants, “we are no petty people”. In 1924, he chaired a coinage committee charged with selecting a set of designs for the first currency of the Irish Free State. Aware of the symbolic power latent in the imagery of a young state’s currency, he sought a form that was “elegant, racy of the soil, and utterly unpolitical”. When the house finally decided on the artwork of Percy Metcalfe, Yeats was pleased, though he regretted that compromise had led to “lost muscular tension” in the finally depicted images. He retired from the Senate in 1928 because of ill health. Towards the end of his life—and especially after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, which led some to question whether democracy could cope with deep economic difficulty—Yeats seems to have returned to his aristocratic sympathies. During the aftermath of the First World War, he became sceptical about the efficacy of democratic government, and anticipated political reconstruction in Europe through totalitarian rule. His later association with Pound drew him towards Benito Mussolini, for whom he expressed admiration on a number of occasions. He wrote three “marching songs”—never used—for the Irish General Eoin O’Duffy’s Blueshirts. At the age of 69 he was 'rejuvenated’ by the Steinach operation which was performed on 6 April 1934 by Norman Haire. For the last five years of his life Yeats found a new vigour evident from both his poetry and his intimate relations with younger women. During this time, Yeats was involved in a number of romantic affairs with, among others, the poet and actress Margot Ruddock, and the novelist, journalist and sexual radical Ethel Mannin. As in his earlier life, Yeats found erotic adventure conducive to his creative energy, and, despite age and ill-health, he remained a prolific writer. In a letter of 1935, Yeats noted: “I find my present weakness made worse by the strange second puberty the operation has given me, the ferment that has come upon my imagination. If I write poetry it will be unlike anything I have done”. In 1936, he undertook editorship of the Oxford Book of Modern Verse, 1892–1935.He died at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton, France, on 28 January 1939, aged 73. He was buried after a discreet and private funeral at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Attempts had been made at Roquebrune to dissuade the family from proceeding with the removal of the remains to Ireland due to the uncertainty of their identity. His body had earlier been exhumed and transferred to the ossuary. Yeats and George had often discussed his death, and his express wish was that he be buried quickly in France with a minimum of fuss. According to George, "His actual words were 'If I die bury me up there [at Roquebrune] and then in a year’s time when the newspapers have forgotten me, dig me up and plant me in Sligo’." In September 1948, Yeats’s body was moved to the churchyard of St Columba’s Church, Drumcliff, County Sligo, on the Irish Naval Service corvette LÉ Macha. The person in charge of this operation for the Irish Government was Seán MacBride, son of Maud Gonne MacBride, and then Minister of External Affairs. His epitaph is taken from the last lines of “Under Ben Bulben”, one of his final poems: French ambassador Stanislas Ostroróg was involved in returning the remains of the Irish poet from France to Ireland in 1948; in a letter to the European director of the Foreign Ministry in Paris “Ostrorog tells how Yeats’s son Michael sought official help in locating the poet’s remains. Neither Michael Yeats nor Sean MacBride, the Irish foreign minister who organised the ceremony, wanted to know the details of how the remains were collected, Ostrorog notes. He repeatedly urges caution and discretion and says the Irish ambassador in Paris should not be informed.” Yeats’ body was exhumed in 1946 and the remains were moved to on ossuary and mixed with other remains. The French Foreign Ministry authorized Ostrorog to secretly cover the cost of repatriation from his slush fund. Authorities were worried about the fact that the much-loved poet’s remains were thrown into a communal grave, causing embarrassment for both Ireland and France. “Mr Rebouillat, (a) forensic doctor in Roquebrune would be able to reconstitute a skeleton presenting all the characteristics of the deceased.” per a letter from Ostroróg to his superiors. Style Yeats is generally considered one of the twentieth century key English language poets. He was a Symbolist poet, using allusive imagery and symbolic structures throughout his career. He chose words and assembled them so that, in addition to a particular meaning, they suggest abstract thoughts that may seem more significant and resonant. His use of symbols is usually something physical that is both itself and a suggestion of other, perhaps immaterial, timeless qualities. Unlike other modernists who experimented with free verse, Yeats was a master of the traditional forms. The impact of modernism on his work can be seen in the increasing abandonment of the more conventionally poetic diction of his early work in favour of the more austere language and more direct approach to his themes that increasingly characterises the poetry and plays of his middle period, comprising the volumes In the Seven Woods, Responsibilities and The Green Helmet. His later poetry and plays are written in a more personal vein, and the works written in the last twenty years of his life include mention of his son and daughter, as well as meditations on the experience of growing old. In his poem, “The Circus Animals’ Desertion”, he describes the inspiration for these late works: During 1929, he stayed at Thoor Ballylee near Gort in County Galway (where Yeats had his summer home since 1919) for the last time. Much of the remainder of his life was lived outside Ireland, although he did lease Riversdale house in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham in 1932. He wrote prolifically through his final years, and published poetry, plays, and prose. In 1938, he attended the Abbey for the final time to see the premiere of his play Purgatory. His Autobiographies of William Butler Yeats was published that same year. In 1913, Yeats wrote the preface for the English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali (Song Offering) for which Tagore received Nobel Prize in literature. While Yeats’s early poetry drew heavily on Irish myth and folklore, his later work was engaged with more contemporary issues, and his style underwent a dramatic transformation. His work can be divided into three general periods. The early poems are lushly pre-Raphaelite in tone, self-consciously ornate, and, at times, according to unsympathetic critics, stilted. Yeats began by writing epic poems such as The Isle of Statues and The Wanderings of Oisin. His other early poems are lyrics on the themes of love or mystical and esoteric subjects. Yeats’s middle period saw him abandon the pre-Raphaelite character of his early work and attempt to turn himself into a Landor-style social ironist.Critics who admire his middle work might characterize it as supple and muscular in its rhythms and sometimes harshly modernist, while others find these poems barren and weak in imaginative power. Yeats’s later work found new imaginative inspiration in the mystical system he began to work out for himself under the influence of spiritualism. In many ways, this poetry is a return to the vision of his earlier work. The opposition between the worldly minded man of the sword and the spiritually minded man of God, the theme of The Wanderings of Oisin, is reproduced in A Dialogue Between Self and Soul.Some critics claim that Yeats spanned the transition from the nineteenth century into twentieth-century modernism in poetry much as Pablo Picasso did in painting while others question whether late Yeats has much in common with modernists of the Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot variety.Modernists read the well-known poem “The Second Coming” as a dirge for the decline of European civilisation, but it also expresses Yeats’s apocalyptic mystical theories, and is shaped by the 1890s. His most important collections of poetry started with The Green Helmet (1910) and Responsibilities (1914). In imagery, Yeats’s poetry became sparer and more powerful as he grew older. The Tower (1928), The Winding Stair (1933), and New Poems (1938) contained some of the most potent images in twentieth-century poetry.Yeats’s mystical inclinations, informed by Hinduism, theosophical beliefs and the occult, provided much of the basis of his late poetry, which some critics have judged as lacking in intellectual credibility. The metaphysics of Yeats’s late works must be read in relation to his system of esoteric fundamentals in A Vision (1925). Legacy Yeats is commemorated in Sligo town by a statue, created in 1989 by sculptor Ronan Gillespie. It was erected outside the Ulster Bank, at the corner of Stephen Street and Markievicz Road, on the 50th anniversary of the poet’s death. Yeats had remarked, on receiving his Nobel Prize that the Royal Palace in Stockholm “resembled the Ulster Bank in Sligo”. Across the river is the Yeats Memorial Building, home to the Sligo Yeats Society. References Wikipedia—yeats
Felicia Dorothea Hemans (25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835) was an English poet. Her first poems, dedicated to the Prince of Wales, were published in Liverpool in 1808, when she was fourteen, arousing the interest of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who briefly corresponded with her. She quickly followed them up with “England and Spain” (1808) and “The Domestic Affections” (1812).
John Boyle O’Reilly (28 June 1844–10 August 1890) was an Irish-born poet, journalist and fiction writer. As a youth in Ireland, he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians, for which he was transported to Western Australia. After escaping to the United States, he became a prominent spokesperson for the Irish community and culture, through his editorship of the Boston newspaper The Pilot, his prolific writing, and his lecture tours.
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominently the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. Joyce was born to a middle class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.” 1882–1904: Dublin James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on 2 February 1882 to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane Murray in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar. He was the eldest of ten surviving children; two of his siblings died of typhoid. His father's family, originally from Fermoy in Cork, had once owned a small salt and lime works. Joyce's father and paternal grandfather both married into wealthy families, though the family's purported ancestor, Seán Mór Seoighe (fl. 1680) was a stonemason from Connemara. In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector (i.e., a collector of local property taxes) by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog, which engendered in him a lifelong cynophobia. He also suffered from keraunophobia, as an overly superstitious aunt had described thunderstorms to him as a sign of God's wrath. n 1891, Joyce wrote a poem, Et Tu Healy on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. His father was angry at the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic church and at the resulting failure to secure Home Rule for Ireland. The elder Joyce had the poem printed and even sent a part to the Vatican Library. In November of that same year, John Joyce was entered in Stubbs Gazette (a publisher of bankruptcies) and suspended from work. In 1893, John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, beginning the family's slide into poverty caused mainly by John's drinking and general financial mismanagement. James Joyce had begun his education at Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school near Clane, County Kildare, in 1888 but had to leave in 1892 when his father could no longer pay the fees. Joyce then studied at home and briefly at the Christian Brothers O'Connell School on North Richmond Street, Dublin, before he was offered a place in the Jesuits', Dublin school, Belvedere College, in 1893. In 1895, Joyce, now aged 13, was elected to join the Sodality of Our Lady by his peers at Belvedere; students were elected to the Sodality on account of their leadership qualities and members of the Sodality, by their positive attitudes and acts of piety, were meant to elicit religious fervour and enthusiasm for studies amongst the student body; most Jesuit Schools and Universities had a Sodality until the 1950s, when families and parishes became the focal point of the Ignatian lay movement, now called the Christian Life Community. By the age of 16 however, Joyce appears to have made a break with his Catholic roots, a subject of varying degrees of dispute. Nonetheless, the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas continued to have a strong influence on him for most of his life. He enrolled at the recently established University College Dublin (UCD) in 1898, studying English, French, and Italian. He also became active in theatrical and literary circles in the city. In 1900 his review of Henrik Ibsen's New Drama was published in Fortnightly Review; it was his first publication and he received a note of thanks from the Norwegian dramatist himself. Joyce wrote a number of other articles and at least two plays (since lost) during this period. Many of the friends he made at University College Dublin appeared as characters in Joyce's works. Joyce was first introduced to the Irish public by Arthur Griffith in his newspaper, The United Irishman, in November 1901. Joyce had written an article on the Irish Literary Theatre and his college magazine refused to print it. Joyce had it printed and distributed locally. Griffith himself wrote a piece decrying the censorship of the student James Joyce. In 1901, the National Census of Ireland lists James Joyce (19) as an English and Irish-speaking scholar living with his mother and father, six sisters and three brothers at Royal Terrace, Clontarf, Dublin. After graduating from UCD in 1903, Joyce left for Paris to study medicine, but he soon abandoned this after finding the technical lectures in French too difficult. He stayed on for a few months, appealing for finance his family could ill afford and reading late in the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, his father sent a telegraph which read, "NOTHER [sic] DYING COME HOME FATHER". Joyce returned to Ireland. Fearing for her son's impiety, his mother tried unsuccessfully to get Joyce to make his confession and to take communion. She finally passed into a coma and died on 13 August, James and Stanislaus having refused to kneel with other members of the family praying at her bedside. After her death he continued to drink heavily, and conditions at home grew quite appalling. He scraped a living reviewing books, teaching and singing—he was an accomplished tenor, and won the bronze medal in the 1904 Feis Ceoil. On 7 January 1904 he attempted to publish A Portrait of the Artist, an essay-story dealing with aesthetics, only to have it rejected from the free-thinking magazine Dana. He decided, on his twenty-second birthday, to revise the story into a novel he called Stephen Hero. It was a fictional rendering of Joyce's youth, but he eventually grew frustrated with its direction and abandoned this work. It was never published in this form, but years later, in Trieste, Joyce completely rewrote it as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The unfinished Stephen Hero was published after his death. The same year he met Nora Barnacle, a young woman from Connemara, County Galway who was working as a chambermaid. On 16 June 1904, they first stepped out together, an event which would be commemorated by providing the date for the action of Ulysses. Joyce remained in Dublin for some time longer, drinking heavily. After one of these drinking binges, he got into a fight over a misunderstanding with a man in Phoenix Park; he was picked up and dusted off by a minor acquaintance of his father's, Alfred H. Hunter, who brought him into his home to tend to his injuries. Hunter was rumoured to be a Jew and to have an unfaithful wife, and would serve as one of the models for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. He took up with medical student Oliver St John Gogarty, who formed the basis for the character Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. After staying in Gogarty's Martello Tower in Sandycove for six nights, he left in the middle of the night following an altercation which involved another student he lived with, Samuel Chenevix Trench (Haines in Ulysses), firing a pistol at some pans hanging directly over Joyce's bed. He walked all the way back to Dublin to stay with relatives for the night, and sent a friend to the tower the next day to pack his trunk. Shortly thereafter he eloped to the continent with Nora. 1904–20: Trieste and Zurich Joyce and Nora went into self-imposed exile, moving first to Zurich, where he had supposedly acquired a post to teach English at the Berlitz Language School through an agent in England. It turned out that the English agent had been swindled, but the director of the school sent him on to Trieste, which was part of Austria-Hungary until World War I (today part of Italy). Once again, he found there was no position for him, but with the help of Almidano Artifoni, director of the Trieste Berlitz school, he finally secured a teaching position in Pola, then also part of Austria-Hungary (today part of Croatia). He stayed there, teaching English mainly to Austro-Hungarian naval officers stationed at the Pola base, from October 1904 until March 1905, when the Austrians—having discovered an espionage ring in the city—expelled all aliens. With Artifoni's help, he moved back to Trieste and began teaching English there. He would remain in Trieste for most of the next ten years. Later that year Nora gave birth to their first child, George. Joyce then managed to talk his brother, Stanislaus, into joining him in Trieste, and secured him a position teaching at the school. Joyce's ostensible reasons were desire for Stanislaus's company and the hope of offering him a more interesting life than that of his simple clerking job in Dublin. In truth, though, Joyce hoped to augment his family's meagre income with his brother's earnings. Stanislaus and Joyce had strained relations throughout the time they lived together in Trieste, with most arguments centring on Joyce's drinking habits and frivolity with money. With the chronic wanderlust of Joyce's early years, he became frustrated with life in Trieste and moved to Rome in late 1906, having secured employment in a bank. He intensely disliked Rome, and moved back to Trieste in early 1907. His daughter Lucia was born in the summer of the same year. Joyce returned to Dublin in mid-1909 with George, in order to visit his father and work on getting Dubliners published. He visited Nora's family in Galway, meeting them for the first time (a successful visit, to his relief). He also launched Ireland's first cinema, the Volta Cinematograph, with backing from his Italian friends. While preparing to return to Trieste he decided to take one of his sisters, Eva, back with him to help Nora run the home. He spent only a month in Trieste before returning to Dublin, this time as a representative of some cinema owners hoping to set up a regular cinema in Dublin. The venture was successful (but quickly fell apart in Joyce's absence), and he returned to Trieste in January 1910 with another sister, Eileen, in tow. Eva became very homesick for Dublin and returned there a few years later, but Eileen spent the rest of her life on the continent, eventually marrying Czech bank cashier Frantisek Schaurek. Joyce returned to Dublin again briefly in mid-1912 during his years-long fight with his Dublin publisher, George Roberts, over the publication of Dubliners. His trip was once again fruitless, and on his return he wrote the poem "Gas from a Burner" as an invective against Roberts. After this trip, he never again came closer to Dublin than London, despite many pleas from his father and invitations from fellow Irish writer William Butler Yeats. One of his students in Trieste was Ettore Schmitz, better known by the pseudonym Italo Svevo. They met in 1907 and became lasting friends and mutual critics. Schmitz was a Catholic of Jewish origin and became the primary model for Leopold Bloom; most of the details about the Jewish faith in Ulysses came from Schmitz's responses to queries from Joyce. While living in Trieste, Joyce was first beset with eye problems that ultimately required over a dozen surgerical operations. Joyce concocted a number of money-making schemes during this period, including an attempt to become a cinema magnate in Dublin. He also frequently discussed but ultimately abandoned a plan to import Irish tweeds to Trieste. Correspondence relating to that venture with the Irish Woollen Mills are displayed in the windows of their premises on Aston's Quay in Dublin. His skill at borrowing money saved him from indigence. What income he had came partially from his position at the Berlitz school and partially from teaching private students. In 1915, after most of his students were conscripted in Trieste for World War I, he moved to Zurich. Two influential private students, Baron Ambrogio Ralli and Count Francesco Sordina, petitioned officials for an exit permit for the Joyces, who in turn agreed not to take any action against the emperor of Austria-Hungary during the war. There, he met one of his most enduring and important friends, Frank Budgen, whose opinion Joyce constantly sought through the writing of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. It was also here where Ezra Pound brought him to the attention of English feminist and publisher Harriet Shaw Weaver, who would become Joyce's patron, providing him thousands of pounds over the next 25 years and relieving him of the burden of teaching in order to focus on his writing. While in Zurich he wrote Exiles, published A Portrait..., and began serious work on Ulysses. Zurich during the war was home to exiles and artists from across Europe, and its bohemian, multilingual atmosphere suited him. Nevertheless, after four years he was restless, and after the war he returned to Trieste as he had originally planned. He found the city had changed, and some of his old friends noted his maturing from teacher to full-time artist. His relations with his brother (who had been interned in an Austrian prison camp for most of the war due to his pro-Italian politics) were more strained than ever. Joyce headed to Paris in 1920 at an invitation from Ezra Pound, supposedly for a week, but he ended up living there for the next twenty years. 1920–41: Paris and Zurich Joyce set himself to finishing Ulysses in Paris, delighted to find that he was gradually gaining fame as an avant-garde writer. A further grant from Miss Shaw Weaver meant he could devote himself full-time to writing again, as well as consort with other literary figures in the city. During this era, Joyce's eyes began to give him more and more problems. He was treated by Dr Louis Borsch in Paris, undergoing nine operations from him until Borsch's death in 1929. Throughout the 1930s he travelled frequently to Switzerland for eye surgeries and treatments for Lucia, who, according to the Joyces, suffered from schizophrenia. Lucia was analysed by Carl Jung at the time, who after reading Ulysses, concluded that her father had schizophrenia. Jung said she and her father were two people heading to the bottom of a river, except that he was diving and she was falling. In Paris, Maria and Eugene Jolas nursed Joyce during his long years of writing Finnegans Wake. Were it not for their support (along with Harriet Shaw Weaver's constant financial support), there is a good possibility that his books might never have been finished or published. In their literary magazine "Transition," the Jolases published serially various sections of Joyce's novel under the title Work in Progress. He returned to Zurich in late 1940, fleeing the Nazi occupation of France. On 11 January 1941, he underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer. While he at first improved, he relapsed the following day, and despite several transfusions, fell into a coma. He awoke at 2 a.m. on 13 January 1941, and asked for a nurse to call his wife and son before losing consciousness again. They were still on their way when he died 15 minutes later. Joyce's body was interred in the Fluntern Cemetery near Zurich Zoo. Swiss tenor Max Meili sang Addio terra, addio cielo from Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the burial service. Although two senior Irish diplomats were in Switzerland at the time, neither attended Joyce's funeral, and the Irish government later declined Nora's offer to permit the repatriation of Joyce's remains. Nora, whom Joyce had married in London in 1931, survived him by 10 years. She is buried now by his side, as is their son George, who died in 1976. Joyce and religion L. A. G. Strong, William T. Noon, Robert Boyle and others have argued that Joyce, later in life, reconciled with the faith he rejected earlier in life and that his parting with the faith was succeeded by a not so obvious reunion, and that Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are essentially Catholic expressions. Likewise, Hugh Kenner and T.S. Eliot saw between the lines of Joyce’s work the outlook of a serious Christian and that beneath the veneer of the work lies a remnant of Catholic belief and attitude. Kevin Sullivan maintains that, rather than reconciling with the faith, Joyce never left it. Critics holding this view insist that Stephen, the protagonist of the semi-autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as well as Ulysses, is not Joyce. Somewhat cryptically, in an interview after completing Ulysses, in response to the question "When did you leave the Catholic Church", Joyce answered, "That’s for the Church to say." Eamonn Hughes maintains that Joyce takes a dialectic approach, both assenting and denying, saying that Stephen’s much noted non serviam is qualified – "I will not serve that which I no longer believe…", and that the non serviam will always be balanced by Stephen’s "I am a servant…" and Molly’s "yes". Umberto Eco compares Joyce to the ancient episcopi vagantes (stray bishops) in the Middle Ages. They left a discipline, not a cultural heritage or a way of thinking. Like them, the writer retains the sense of blasphemy held as a liturgical ritual. In any case we have first-hand testimonies coming from the early Joyce, his brother Stanislaus Joyce, and his wife: My mind rejects the whole present social order and Christianity -home, the recognised virtues, classes of life, and religious doctrines. […] Six years ago I left the Catholic church, hating it most fervently. I found it impossible for me to remain in it on account of the impulses of my nature. I made secret war upon it when I was a student and declined to accept the positions it offered me. By doing this I made myself a beggar but I retained my pride. Now I make open war upon it by what I write and say and do. My brother’s breakaway from Catholicism was due to other motives. He felt it was imperative that he should save his real spiritual life from being overlaid and crushed by a false one that he had outgrown. He believed that poets in the measure of their gifts and personality were the repositories of the genuine spiritual life of their race and the priests were usurpers. He detested falsity and believed in individual freedom more thoroughly than any man I have ever known. […] The interest that my brother always retained in the philosophy of the Catholic Church sprang from the fact that he considered Catholic philosophy to be the most coherent attempt to establish such an intellectual and material stability. When the arrangements for Joyce's burial were being made, a Catholic priest offered a religious service, which Joyce's wife Nora declined, saying: "I couldn't do that to him." Notwithstanding their knowledge of such facts, some critics and biographers have opined along the lines of Andrew Gibson: "The modern James Joyce may have vigorously resisted the oppressive power of Catholic tradition. But there was another Joyce who asserted his allegiance to that tradition, and never left it, or wanted to leave it, behind him.” Major works Dubliners Joyce's Irish experiences constitute an essential element of his writings, and provide all of the settings for his fiction and much of its subject matter. His early volume of short stories, Dubliners, is a penetrating analysis of the stagnation and paralysis of Dublin society. The stories incorporate epiphanies, a word used particularly by Joyce, by which he meant a sudden consciousness of the "soul" of a thing. The final and most famous story in the collection, "The Dead", was directed by John Huston as his last feature film in 1987. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a nearly complete rewrite of the abandoned novel Stephen Hero. Joyce attempted to burn the original manuscript in a fit of rage during an argument with Nora, though to his subsequent relief it was rescued by his sister. A Künstlerroman, Portrait is a heavily autobiographical coming-of-age novel depicting the childhood and adolescence of protagonist Stephen Dedalus and his gradual growth into artistic self-consciousness. Some hints of the techniques Joyce frequently employed in later works, such as stream of consciousness, interior monologue, and references to a character's psychic reality rather than to his external surroundings, are evident throughout this novel. Joseph Strick directed a film of the book in 1977 starring Luke Johnston, Bosco Hogan, T.P. McKenna and John Gielgud. Exiles and poetry Despite early interest in the theatre, Joyce published only one play, Exiles, begun shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and published in 1918. A study of a husband and wife relationship, the play looks back to The Dead (the final story in Dubliners) and forward to Ulysses, which Joyce began around the time of the play's composition. Joyce also published a number of books of poetry. His first mature published work was the satirical broadside "The Holy Office" (1904), in which he proclaimed himself to be the superior of many prominent members of the Celtic revival. His first full-length poetry collection Chamber Music (referring, Joyce explained, to the sound of urine hitting the side of a chamber pot) consisted of 36 short lyrics. This publication led to his inclusion in the Imagist Anthology, edited by Ezra Pound, who was a champion of Joyce's work. Other poetry Joyce published in his lifetime includes "Gas From A Burner" (1912), Pomes Penyeach (1927) and "Ecce Puer" (written in 1932 to mark the birth of his grandson and the recent death of his father). It was published by the Black Sun Press in Collected Poems (1936). Ulysses As he was completing work on Dubliners in 1906, Joyce considered adding another story featuring a Jewish advertising canvasser called Leopold Bloom under the title Ulysses. Although he did not pursue the idea further at the time, he eventually commenced work on a novel using both the title and basic premise in 1914. The writing was completed in October, 1921. Three more months were devoted to working on the proofs of the book before Joyce halted work shortly before his self-imposed deadline, his 40th birthday (2 February 1922). Thanks to Ezra Pound, serial publication of the novel in the magazine The Little Review began in 1918. This magazine was edited by Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, with the backing of John Quinn, a New York attorney with an interest in contemporary experimental art and literature. Unfortunately, this publication encountered censorship problems in the United States; serialisation was halted in 1920 when the editors were convicted of publishing obscenity. The novel was not published in the United States until 1933. Partly because of this controversy, Joyce found it difficult to get a publisher to accept the book, but it was published in 1922 by Sylvia Beach from her well-known Rive Gauche bookshop, Shakespeare and Company. An English edition published the same year by Joyce's patron, Harriet Shaw Weaver, ran into further difficulties with the United States authorities, and 500 copies that were shipped to the States were seized and possibly destroyed. The following year, John Rodker produced a print run of 500 more intended to replace the missing copies, but these were burned by English customs at Folkestone. A further consequence of the novel's ambiguous legal status as a banned book was that a number of "bootleg" versions appeared, most notably a number of pirate versions from the publisher Samuel Roth. In 1928, a court injunction against Roth was obtained and he ceased publication. With the appearance of both Ulysses and T. S. Eliot's poem, The Waste Land, 1922 was a key year in the history of English-language literary modernism. In Ulysses, Joyce employs stream of consciousness, parody, jokes, and virtually every other established literary technique to present his characters. The action of the novel, which takes place in a single day, 16 June 1904, sets the characters and incidents of the Odyssey of Homer in modern Dublin and represents Odysseus (Ulysses), Penelope and Telemachus in the characters of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, parodically contrasted with their lofty models. The book explores various areas of Dublin life, dwelling on its squalor and monotony. Nevertheless, the book is also an affectionately detailed study of the city, and Joyce claimed that if Dublin were to be destroyed in some catastrophe it could be rebuilt, brick by brick, using his work as a model. In order to achieve this level of accuracy, Joyce used the 1904 edition of Thom's Directory—a work that listed the owners and/or tenants of every residential and commercial property in the city. He also bombarded friends still living there with requests for information and clarification. The book consists of 18 chapters, each covering roughly one hour of the day, beginning around 8 a.m. and ending some time after 2 a.m. the following morning. Each chapter employs its own literary style, and parodies a specific episode in Homer's Odyssey. Furthermore, each chapter is associated with a specific colour, art or science, and bodily organ. This combination of kaleidoscopic writing with an extreme formal schematic structure renders the book a major contribution to the development of 20th-century modernist literature. The use of classical mythology as an organising framework, the near-obsessive focus on external detail, and the occurrence of significant action within the minds of characters have also contributed to the development of literary modernism. Nevertheless, Joyce complained that, "I may have oversystematised Ulysses," and played down the mythic correspondences by eliminating the chapter titles that had been taken from Homer. Finnegans Wake Having completed work on Ulysses, Joyce was so exhausted that he did not write a line of prose for a year. On 10 March 1923 he informed a patron, Harriet Weaver: "Yesterday I wrote two pages—the first I have since the final Yes of Ulysses. Having found a pen, with some difficulty I copied them out in a large handwriting on a double sheet of foolscap so that I could read them. Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio, the Italians say. The wolf may lose his skin but not his vice or the leopard cannot change his spots." Thus was born a text that became known, first, as Work in Progress and later Finnegans Wake. By 1926 Joyce had completed the first two parts of the book. In that year, he met Eugene and Maria Jolas who offered to serialise the book in their magazine transition. For the next few years, Joyce worked rapidly on the new book, but in the 1930s, progress slowed considerably. This was due to a number of factors, including the death of his father in 1931, concern over the mental health of his daughter Lucia and his own health problems, including failing eyesight. Much of the work was done with the assistance of younger admirers, including Samuel Beckett. For some years, Joyce nursed the eccentric plan of turning over the book to his friend James Stephens to complete, on the grounds that Stephens was born in the same hospital as Joyce exactly one week later, and shared the first name of both Joyce and of Joyce's fictional alter-ego (this is one example of Joyce's numerous superstitions). Reaction to the work was mixed, including negative comment from early supporters of Joyce's work, such as Pound and the author's brother, Stanislaus Joyce. In order to counteract this hostile reception, a book of essays by supporters of the new work, including Beckett, William Carlos Williams and others was organised and published in 1929 under the title Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress. At his 57th birthday party at the Jolases' home, Joyce revealed the final title of the work and Finnegans Wake was published in book form on 4 May 1939. Later, further negative comments surfaced from doctor and author Hervey Cleckley, who questioned the significance others had placed on the work. In his book, The Mask of Sanity, Cleckley refers to Finnegans Wake as "a 628-page collection of erudite gibberish indistinguishable to most people from the familiar word salad produced by hebephrenic patients on the back wards of any state hospital." Joyce's method of stream of consciousness, literary allusions and free dream associations was pushed to the limit in Finnegans Wake, which abandoned all conventions of plot and character construction and is written in a peculiar and obscure language, based mainly on complex multi-level puns. This approach is similar to, but far more extensive than that used by Lewis Carroll in Jabberwocky. This has led many readers and critics to apply Joyce's oft-quoted description in the Wake of Ulysses as his "usylessly unreadable Blue Book of Eccles" to the Wake itself. However, readers have been able to reach a consensus about the central cast of characters and general plot. Much of the wordplay in the book stems from the use of multilingual puns which draw on a wide range of languages. The role played by Beckett and other assistants included collating words from these languages on cards for Joyce to use and, as Joyce's eyesight worsened, of writing the text from the author's dictation. The view of history propounded in this text is very strongly influenced by Giambattista Vico, and the metaphysics of Giordano Bruno of Nola are important to the interplay of the "characters." Vico propounded a cyclical view of history, in which civilisation rose from chaos, passed through theocratic, aristocratic, and democratic phases, and then lapsed back into chaos. The most obvious example of the influence of Vico's cyclical theory of history is to be found in the opening and closing words of the book. Finnegans Wake opens with the words "riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs." ("vicus" is a pun on Vico) and ends "A way a lone a last a loved a long the." In other words, the book ends with the beginning of a sentence and begins with the end of the same sentence, turning the book into one great cycle. Indeed, Joyce said that the ideal reader of the Wake would suffer from "ideal insomnia" and, on completing the book, would turn to page one and start again, and so on in an endless cycle of reading. Legacy Joyce's work has been subject to intense scrutiny by scholars of all types. He has also been an important influence on writers and scholars as diverse as Samuel Beckett, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Jorge Luis Borges, Flann O'Brien, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Salman Rushdie, Robert Anton Wilson, John Updike, David Lodge and Joseph Campbell. Ulysses has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire [Modernist] movement". Some scholars, most notably Vladimir Nabokov, have mixed feelings on his work, often championing some of his fiction while condemning other works. In Nabokov's opinion, Ulysses was brilliant, Finnegans Wake horrible—an attitude Jorge Luis Borges shared. Joyce's influence is also evident in fields other than literature. The sentence "Three quarks for Muster Mark!" in Joyce's Finnegans Wake is the source of the word "quark", the name of one of the elementary particles, proposed by the physicist, Murray Gell-Mann in 1963. The French philosopher Jacques Derrida has written a book on the use of language in Ulysses, and the American philosopher Donald Davidson has written similarly on Finnegans Wake in comparison with Lewis Carroll. Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan used Joyce's writings to explain his concept of the sinthome. According to Lacan, Joyce's writing is the supplementary cord which kept Joyce from psychosis. In 1999, Time Magazine named Joyce one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, and stated; "Joyce ... revolutionised 20th century fiction". In 1998, the Modern Library, U.S. publisher of Joyce's works, ranked Ulysses No. 1, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man No. 3, and Finnegans Wake No. 77, on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The work and life of Joyce is celebrated annually on 16 June, Bloomsday, in Dublin and in an increasing number of cities worldwide, and critical studies in scholarly publications, such as the James Joyce Quarterly, continue. Both popular and academic uses of Joyce's work were hampered by restrictions placed by Stephen J. Joyce, Joyce's grandson and executor of his literary estate. On January 1, 2012, those restrictions were lessed by the expiry of copyright protection for much of the published work of James Joyce. Bibliography * Chamber Music (poems, 1907) * Dubliners (short-story collection, 1914) * A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (novel, 1916) * Exiles (play, 1918) * Ulysses (novel, 1922) * Pomes Penyeach (poems, 1927) * Collected Poems (poems, 1936) * Finnegans Wake (novel, 1939) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Joyce
George William Russell (10 April 1867– 17 July 1935) who wrote with the pseudonym Æ (sometimes written AE or A.E.), was an Irish writer, editor, critic, poet, artistic painter and Irish nationalist. He was also a writer on mysticism, and a central personage in the group of devotees of theosophy which met in Dublin for many years.
Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667– 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. Swift is remembered for works such as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier’s Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity and A Tale of a Tub. He is regarded by the Encyclopædia Britannica as the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry.
Thomas Parnell (11 September 1679– 24 October 1718) was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen’s County (now Port Laoise, County Laoise), a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called “Graveyard poets”: his ‘A Night-Piece on Death,’ widely considered the first “Graveyard School” poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, enunciating the common places with felicity and grace. He died in Chester in 1718 on his way home to Ireland. His wife and children having died, his Laoise estate passed to his brother John, a judge and MP in the Irish House of Commons and the ancestor of Charles Stewart Parnell. Oliver Goldsmith wrote a biography of Parnell which often accompanied later editions of Parnell’s works. Works * Essay on the Different Stiles of Poetry (1713) * Battle of the Frogs and Mice (1717 translation in heroic couplets of a comic epic then attributed to Homer) * An example of his poetry is the opening stanza of his poem The Hermit References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Parnell
Joseph Mary Plunkett (Irish: Seosamh Máire Pluincéid, 21 November 1887– 12 May 1916) was an Irish nationalist, poet, journalist, and a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising. Background Plunkett was born at 26 Upper Fitzwilliam Street in one of Dublin’s most affluent neighbourhoods. Both his parents came from wealthy backgrounds, and his father, George Noble Plunkett, had been made a papal count. Despite being born into a life of privilege, young Joe Plunkett did not have an easy childhood. Plunkett contracted tuberculosis at a young age. This was to be a lifelong burden. His mother was unwilling to believe his health was as bad as it was. He spent part of his youth in the warmer climates of the Mediterranean and north Africa. He was educated at the Catholic University School (CUS) and by the Jesuits at Belvedere College in Dublin and later at Stonyhurst College, in Lancashire, where he acquired some military knowledge from the Officers’ Training Corps. Throughout his life, Joseph Plunkett took an active interest in Irish heritage and the Irish language, and also studied Esperanto. Plunkett was one of the founders of the Irish Esperanto League. He joined the Gaelic League and began studying with Thomas MacDonagh, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. The two were both poets with an interest in theatre, and both were early members of the Irish Volunteers, joining their provisional committee. Plunkett’s interest in Irish nationalism spread throughout his family, notably to his younger brothers George and John, as well as his father, who allowed his property in Kimmage, south Dublin, to be used as a training camp for young men who wished to escape conscription in England during World War I. Men there were instead trained to fight for Ireland. IRB involvement Sometime in 1915 Joseph Plunkett joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and soon after was sent to Germany to meet with Roger Casement, who was negotiating with the German government on behalf of Ireland. Casement’s role as emissary was self-appointed, and, as he was not a member of the IRB, that organisation’s leadership wished to have one of their own contact Germany to negotiate German aid for an uprising the following year. He was seeking (but not limiting himself to) a shipment of arms. Casement, on the other hand, spent most of his energies recruiting Irish prisoners of war in Germany to form a brigade to fight instead for Ireland. Some nationalists in Ireland saw this as a fruitless endeavour, and preferred to seek weapons. Plunkett successfully got a promise of a German arms shipment to coincide with the rising. Easter Rising Plunkett was one of the original members of the IRB Military Committee that was responsible for planning the Easter Rising, and it was largely his plan that was followed. Shortly before the rising was to begin, Plunkett was hospitalised following a turn for the worse in his health. He had an operation on his neck glands days before Easter and had to struggle out of bed to take part in what was to follow. Still bandaged, he took his place in the General Post Office with several other of the rising’s leaders such as Patrick Pearse and Tom Clarke, though his health prevented him from being terribly active. His energetic aide de camp was Michael Collins. Marriage and execution Following the surrender Plunkett was held in Kilmainham Gaol, and faced a court martial. Seven hours before his execution by firing squad at the age of 28, he was married in the prison chapel to his sweetheart Grace Gifford, a Protestant convert to Catholicism, whose sister, Muriel, had years before also converted and married his best friend Thomas MacDonagh, who was also executed for his role in the Easter Rising. Aftermath His brothers George Oliver Plunkett and Jack Plunkett joined him in the Easter Rising and later became important IRA men. His father’s cousin, Horace Plunkett, was a Protestant and unionist who sought to reconcile unionists and nationalists. Horace Plunkett’s home was burned down by the Anti-Treaty IRA during the Civil War. The main railway station in Waterford City is named after him as is Joseph Plunkett Tower in Ballymun. Plunkett barracks in the Curragh Camp, County Kildare is also named after him. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Plunkett
Lola Ridge, born Rose Emily Ridge (12 December 1873 Dublin—19 May 1941 Brooklyn) was an Irish-American anarchist poet and an influential editor of avant-garde, feminist, and Marxist publications. She is best remembered for her long poems and poetic sequences, published in numerous magazines and collected in five books of poetry. Along with other political poets of the early Modernist period, Ridge has received renewed critical attention since the beginning of the 21st century and is praised for making poetry directly from harsh urban life. A new selection of her poetry was published in 2007 and a biography in 2016.
James Stephens (9 February 1880– 26 December 1950) was an Irish novelist and poet. He produced many retellings of Irish myths and fairy tales. His retellings are marked by a rare combination of humour and lyricism (Deirdre, and Irish Fairy Tales are often especially praised). He also wrote several original novels (The Crock of Gold, Etched in Moonlight, Demi-Gods) based loosely on Irish fairy tales. The Crock of Gold in particular has achieved enduring popularity and has often been reprinted.
William Allingham (19 March 1824– 18 November 1889) was an Irish poet, diarist and editor. He wrote several volumes of lyric verse, and his poem 'The Faeries’ was much anthologised; but he is better known for his posthumously published Diary, in which he records his lively encounters with Tennyson, Carlyle and other writers and artists. His wife, Helen Allingham, was a well-known water-colorist and illustrator. Biography William Allingham was born on 19 March 1824 in the little port of Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland, and was the son of the manager of a local bank who was of English descent. His younger brothers and sisters were Catherine (b. 1826), John (b. 1827), Jane (b. 1829), Edward (b. 1831; who lived only a few months) and a still-born brother (b. 1833). During his childhood his parents moved twice within the town, where the boy enjoyed the country sights and gardens, learned to paint and listened to his mother’s piano-playing. When he was nine, his mother died. He obtained a post in the custom-house of his native town, and held several similar posts in Ireland and England until 1870. During this period were published his Poems (1850; which included his well-known poem, 'The Fairies’) and Day and Night Songs (1855; illustrated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and others). (Rossetti’s Letters to Allingham (1854–1870), edited by Dr. Birkbeck Hill, would be published in 1897.) Lawrence Bloomfield in Ireland, his most ambitious, though not his most successful work, a narrative poem illustrative of Irish social questions, appeared in 1864. He also edited The Ballad Book for the Golden Treasury series in 1864, and Fifty Modern Poems in 1865. In April 1870 Allingham retired from the customs service, moved to London and became sub-editor of Fraser’s Magazine, eventually becoming editor in succession to James Froude in June 1874– a post he would hold till 1879. On 22 August 1874 he married the illustrator, Helen Paterson, who was twenty-four years younger than he. His wife gave up her work as an illustrator and would become well known under her married name as a water-colour painter. At first the couple lived in London, at 12 Trafalgar Square, Chelsea, near Allingham’s friend, Thomas Carlyle, and it was there that they had their first two children– Gerald Carlyle (b. 1875 November) and Eva Margaret (b. 1877 February). In 1877 appeared Allingham’s Songs, Poems and Ballads. In 1881, after the death of Carlyle, the Allinghams moved to Sandhills near Witley in Surrey, where their third child, Henry William, was born in 1882. At this period Allingham published Evil May Day (1883), Blackberries (1884) and Irish Songs and Poems (1887). In 1888, because of William’s declining health, they moved back to the capital, to the heights of Hampstead village. But in 1889, on 18 November, William died at Hampstead. According to his wishes he was cremated. His ashes are interred at St. Anne’s church in his native Ballyshannon. Posthumously Allingham’s Varieties in Prose was published in 1893. William Allingham A Diary, edited by Mrs Helen Allingham and D. Radford, was published in 1907. It contains Allingham’s reminiscences of Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle and other writers and artists. Assessment and influence Working on an un-ostentatious scale, Allingham produced much lyrical and descriptive poetry, and the best of his pieces are thoroughly national in spirit and local colouring. His verse is clear, fresh, and graceful. His best-known poem remains his early work, “The Faeries”. Allingham had a substantial influence on W. B. Yeats; while the Ulster poet John Hewitt felt Allingham’s impact keenly, and attempted to revive his reputation by editing, and writing an introduction to, The Poems of William Allingham (Oxford University Press/ Dolmen Press, 1967). Allingham’s wide-ranging anthology of poetry, Nightingale Valley (1862) was to be the inspiration for the 1923 collection Come Hither by Walter de la Mare. We daren’t go a-hunting/For fear of little men... was quoted by the character of The Tinker near the beginning of the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, as well as in Mike Mignola’s comic book short story Hellboy: The Corpse, plus the 1973 horror film Don’t Look in the Basement. Several lines of the poem are quoted by Henry Flyte, a character in issue No. 65 of the Supergirl comic book, August 2011. This same poem was quoted in Andre Norton’s 1990 science fiction novel Dare To Go A-Hunting (ISBN 0-812-54712-8). Up the Airy Mountain is the title of a short story by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald; while the working title of Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men was “For Fear of Little Men”. The Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran, Co. Donegal is named after him. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Allingham
Isabella Valancy Crawford (25 December 1846– 12 February 1887) was an Irish-born Canadian writer and poet. She was one of the first Canadians to make a living as a freelance writer. “Crawford is increasingly being viewed as Canada’s first major poet.” She is the author of “Malcolm’s Katie,” a poem that has achieved “a central place in the canon of nineteenth-century Canadian poetry.” Life Isabella Valancy Crawford was the last surviving daughter of Dr. Stephen Crawford. She was born in Dublin, Ireland on Christmas Day, 1846. The family emigrated to Canada when she was ten years of age. Much of Isabella Crawford’s early life is unknown. By her own account she was born in Dublin, Ireland, the sixth daughter of Dr. Stephen Dennis Crawford and Sydney Scott; but “No record has been found of that marriage or of the birthdates and birthplaces of at least six children, of whom Isabella wrote that she was the sixth.” The family was in Canada by 1857; in that year, Dr. Crawford applied for a license to practice medicine in Paisley, Canada West. “In a few years, disease had taken nine of the twelve children, and a small medical practice had reduced the family to semi-poverty.” Dr. Crawford served as Treasurer of Paisley Township, but "a scandal of a missing $500 in misappropriated Township funds and the subsequent suicide of one of his bondsmen" caused the family to leave Paisley in 1861. By chance Dr. Crawford met Richard Strickland of Lakefield. Strickland invited the Crawfords to live at his home, out of charity, and because Lakefield did not have a doctor. There the family became acquainted with Strickland’s sisters, writers Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill. Isabella Crawford reportedly began writing at that time. She was also thought to be a close companion of Mrs. Traill’s daughter, Katharine (Katie). In 1869 the family moved to Peterborough, and Crawford began to write and publish poems and stories. Her first published poem, “A Vesper Star”, appeared in The Toronto Mail on Christmas Eve, 1873. "When Dr. Crawford died, on 3 July 1875, the three women"– Isabella, her mother, and her sister Emma, all who were left in the household– “became dependent on Isabella’s literary earnings.” After Emma died of tuberculosis, "Isabella and her mother moved in 1876 to Toronto, which was the centre of the publishing world in Canada.” “Although Isabella had been writing while still living in Lakefield... and had published poems in Toronto newspapers and stories in American magazines while living in Peterborough, when she moved to Toronto she turned her attention in earnest to the business of writing.” “During this productive period she contributed numerous serialized novels and novellas to New York and Toronto publications,” “including the Mail, the Globe, the National, and the Evening Telegram. She also contributed ”a quantity of 'occasional’ verse to the Toronto papers... and articles for the Fireside Monthly. In 1886 she became the first local writer to have a novel, A little Bacchante, serialized in the Evening Globe. In her lifetime Crawford published only one book, Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems in 1884. It was privately printed and sold poorly. Crawford paid for the printing of 1,000 copies, and presumably sent out many review copies; “there were notices in such London journals as the Spectator, the Graphic, the Leisure Hour, and the Saturday Review. These articles pointed to ‘versatility of talent,’ and to such qualities as ‘humour, vivacity, and range of power,’ which were impressive and promising despite her extravagance of incident and ‘untrained magniloquence.’” However, only 50 books sold. “Crawford was understandably disappointed and felt she had been neglected by 'the High Priests of Canadian Periodical Literature’” (Arcturus 84).” Crawford died on 12 February 1887 in Toronto. She was buried in Peterborough’s Little Lake Cemetery near the Otonabee River. She had died in poverty and for years her body lay in an unmarked grave. A fundraising campaign was begun in 1899, and on 2 November 1900, a six-foot Celtic Cross was raised above her grave, inscribed: "Isabella Valancy Crawford / Poet / By the Gift of God.” Writing Crawford was a prolific writer. “For the most part Crawford’s prose followed the fashion of the feuilleton of the day.” Her magazine writing “displays a skilful and energetic use of literary conventions made popular by Dickens, such as twins and doubles, mysterious childhood disappearances, stony-hearted fathers, sacrificial daughters, wills and lost inheritances, recognition scenes, and, to quote one of her titles, 'A kingly restitution’.” As a whole, though, it “was romantic-Gothic ‘formula fiction.’” It is her poetry that has endured. Just two years after her death, W.D. Lighthall included generous selections from her book in his groundbreaking 1889 anthology, Songs of the Great Dominion, bringing it to a wider audience. “In the 20th century critics have given the work increasing respect and appreciation." "Crawford’s Collected Poems were edited (Toronto 1905) by J.W. Garvin, with an introduction by Ethelwyn Wetherald," a popular Canadian poet. Wetherald called Crawford “purely a genius, not a craftswoman, and a genius who has patience enough to be an artist.” In his 1916 anthology, Canadian Poets, Garvin stated that Crawford was “one of the greatest of women poets.” Poet Katherine Hale, Garvin’s wife, published a volume on Isabella Valancy Crawford in the 1920s Makers of Canada series. All of this helped Crawford’s poetry become more widely known. . A "serious critical assessment began in the mid-1940s with A.J.M. Smith, Northrop Frye, and E.K. Brown, who called her ‘the only Canadian woman poet of real importance in the last century.’" "Recognition of Isabella Valancy Crawford’s extraordinary mythopoeic power, and her structural use of images, came... in James Reaney’s lecture 'Isabella Valancy Crawford’ in Our living tradition (series 3, 1959)." Then a “renewed interest in Crawford resulted in the publication of forgotten manuscripts and critical articles” in the 1970s. "A reprint of the collected poems in 1972, with an introduction by poet James Reaney, made Crawford’s work generally available; six of her short stories, edited by Penny Petrone, appeared in 1975; and in 1977 the Borealis Press published a book of fairy stories and a long unfinished poem, ‘Hugh and Ion.’.” Crawford wrote a wide variety of poems, ranging from the Walter Scott-like doggerel (pun intended) of “Love Me, Love My Dog”, to the eerie mysticism of “The Camp of Souls” to the eroticism of The Lily Bed. But it is mainly Crawford’s "long narrative poems [that] have received particular attention." “Old Spookses’ Pass” is a dialect poem, set in the Rocky Mountains, concerning a dream vision of a midnight cattle stampede towards a black abyss that is stilled by a whirling lariat; “The helot” makes use of the Spartans’ practice of intoxicating their helots to teach their own children not to drink, as the starting-point for a highly incantatory and hypnotic poem that ends in Bacchic possession and death; and “Gisli the Chieftain” fuses mythic elements, such as the Russian spring goddess Lada and the Icelandic Brynhild, into a narrative of love, betrayal, murder, and reconciliation. These poems follow a pattern of depicting the world as a battleground of opposites– light and dark, good and evil– reconciled by sacrificial love.” Malcolm’s Katie The bulk of critical attention has gone to “Malcolm’s Katie.” That poem is a long narrative in blank verse, dealing mainly with the love and trials of young Max and Katie in the 19th-century Canadian bush, but containing a second running narrative recounting the war between the North and South Winds (Winter and Summer personified as First Nations warriors), and also a collection of love songs in different stanza forms. Many of those lauding the poem have seen their own interests reflected in it. For instance, socialist Livesay gave a reading that made the poem sound like a manifesto of Utopian socialism: Crawford presents a new myth of great significance to Canadian literature: the Canadian frontier as creating ‘the conditions for a new Eden,’ not a golden age or a millennium, but ‘a harmonious community, here and now.’ Crawford’s social consciousness and concern for humanity’s future committed her, far ahead of her time and milieu, to write passionate pleas for brotherhood, pacifism, and the preservation of a green world. Her deeply felt belief in a just society wherein men and women would have equal status in a world free from war, class hatred, and racial prejudice dominates all her finest poetry.” Others have similarly seen their concerns reflected in the poem. “Malcolm’s Katie has been given a nationalistic reading by Robin Mathews, a feminist reading by Clara Thomas, a biographical reading by Dorothy Farmiloe and a Marxian reading by Kenneth Hughes, as well as various literary-historical readings by Dorothy Livesay, Elizabeth Waterston, John Ower, Robert Alan Burns and others.” Not just interpretations on the poem’s meaning, but evaluations of its worth, have varied widely. Its detractors have included poet Louis Dudek, who called Crawford “'a failed poet’ of 'hollow convention... counterfeit feeling... and fake idealism’”; and Roy Daniells, who in The Literary History of Canada (1965) called “Malcolm’s Katie” “a preposterously romantic love story on a Tennysonian model in which a wildly creaking plot finally delivers true love safe and triumphant.” Some of the poem’s supporters concede the Tennyson influence but point out that there is much more to it: “While appearing on the surface melodramatic and stereotyped, Crawford’s love story is compelling and powerful; what seems at first a conventional conflict between rival suitors for the hand of the heroine becomes a serious, even profound, account of philosophical, social and ideological confrontations.” “In ‘Malcolm’s Katie’ Crawford adapted to the setting of pioneer Canada the domestic idyll as she learned it from Tennyson. Striking and new, however, is Crawford’s location of Max and Katie’s conventional love story within a context of Native legends—Indian Summer and the battle of the North and South Winds.” This myth telling (however accurate it was as a portrayal of First Nations beliefs) is what many of its supporters see as giving the poem its power. For instance, writing about “Malcolm’s Katie, critic Northrop Frye pronounced Crawford ”the most remarkable mythopoeic imagination in Canadian poetry": the “framework’ of Isabella Crawford is that of an intelligent and industrious female songbird of the kind who filled so many anthologies in the last century. Yet the ”South Wind" passage from Malcolm’s Katie is only the most famous example of the most remarkable mythopoeic imagination in Canadian poetry. She puts her myth in an Indian form, which reminds us of the resemblance between white and Indian legendary heroes in the New World, between Paul Bunyan and Davy Crockett on the one hand and Glooscap on the other. The white myths are not necessarily imitated from the Indian ones, but they may have sprung from an unconscious feeling that the primitive myth expressed the imaginative impact of the country as more artificial literature could never do.” Frye believed, and thought Crawford’s “poetic sense” told her, “that the most obvious development in the romantic landscape is toward the mythological”; and he saw Crawford’s attempt at an indigenous Canadian myth as the intellectual equivalent of the simultaneous pioneer exploration and settlement: “In the long mythopoeic passage from Isabella Crawford’s Malcolm’s Katie, beginning ‘The South Wind laid his moccasins aside,’ we see how the poet is, first, taming the landscape imaginatively, as settlement tames it physically, by animating the lifeless scene with humanized figures, and, second, integrating the literary tradition of the country by deliberately re-establishing the broken cultural link with Indian civilization.” Hugh and Ion Dorothy Livesay, researching Crawford’s life for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography in 1977, discovered the manuscript of an uncompleted narrative poem in the Crawford fonds at Kingston, Ontario’s Queen’s University. Called Hugh and Ion, it deals with "Hugh and Ion, two friends who have fled the noxious city—probably contemporary Toronto—for purification in the primal wilderness [and] carry on a sustained dialogue, Hugh arguing for hope, light, and redemption and Ion pointing out despair, darkness, and intractable human perversity." Perhaps due to Crawford’s Toronto experiences, this last poem marked a significant change in her views, showing the city as “a demonic, urban world of isolation and blindness which has wilfully cut itself off from the regenerative power of the wildernese. The confident innocence and romantic idealism, which account for much of the inner fire of Malcolm’s Katie, have simply ceased to be operative.... Nowhere else in nineteenth-century Canadian literature, with the exception of Lampman’s ”the End of Things", is there another example of the creative imagination being brought to bear, in so Blakean a manner, on the nascent social evils of the ‘infant city.’” Recognition Isabella Valancy Crawford was designated a Person of National Historic Significance in 1947. A small garden park in downtown Toronto, at Front and John Streets (near the CN Tower), has been named Isabella Valancy Crawford Park. Publications * Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems. Toronto, 1884. * The Collected Poems of Isabella Valancy Crawford, ed. John Garvin. Toronto: William Briggs, 1905. * Isabella Valancy Crawford. Katherine Hale, ed. Toronto: Ryerson, 1923. * Hugh and Ion. Glenn Clever ed. Ottawa: Borealis P, 1977. ISBN 978-0-919594-77-7 * Malcolm’s Katie: A Love Story. D.M.R. Bentley ed. London, ON: Canadian Poetry Press, 1987. ISBN 0-921243-03-0 Prose collections * Selected Stories of Isabella Valancy Crawford. Penny Petrone ed. Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1975. ISBN 0-7766-4335-5 * Fairy Tales of Isabella Valancy Crawford. Penny Petrone ed. Ottawa: Borealis P, 1977. ISBN 0-919594-53-0 * Collected Short Stories of Isabella Valancy Crawford. Len Early & Michel Peterman, ed. London, ON: Canadian Poetry Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-921243-01-4 * Winona; or, The Foster-Sisters. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1-55111-709-6 * Except where noted, bibliographical information from Open Library. * = References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Valancy_Crawford
Oliver Goldsmith (10 November 1728– 4 April 1774) was an Irish novelist, playwright and poet, who is best known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), his pastoral poem The Deserted Village (1770), and his plays The Good-Natur’d Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer (1771, first performed in 1773). He is thought to have written the classic children’s tale The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes (1765). Biography Goldsmith’s birth date and year are not known with certainty. According to the Library of Congress authority file, he told a biographer that he was born on 10 November 1728. The location of his birthplace is also uncertain. He was born either in the townland of Pallas, near Ballymahon, County Longford, Ireland, where his father was the Anglican curate of the parish of Forgney, or at the residence of his maternal grandparents, at the Smith Hill House in the diocese of Elphin, County Roscommon where his grandfather Oliver Jones was a clergyman and master of the Elphin diocesan school, and where Oliver studied. When Goldsmith was two years old, his father was appointed the rector of the parish of “Kilkenny West” in County Westmeath. The family moved to the parsonage at Lissoy, between Athlone and Ballymahon, and continued to live there until his father’s death in 1747. In 1744 Goldsmith went up to Trinity College, Dublin. His tutor was Theaker Wilder. Neglecting his studies in theology and law, he fell to the bottom of his class. In 1747, along with four other undergraduates, he was expelled for a riot in which they attempted to storm the Marshalsea Prison. He was graduated in 1749 as a Bachelor of Arts, but without the discipline or distinction that might have gained him entry to a profession in the church or the law; his education seemed to have given him mainly a taste for fine clothes, playing cards, singing Irish airs and playing the flute. He lived for a short time with his mother, tried various professions without success, studied medicine desultorily at the University of Edinburgh from 1752 to 1755, and set out on a walking tour of Flanders, France, Switzerland and Northern Italy, living by his wits (busking with his flute). He settled in London in 1756, where he briefly held various jobs, including an apothecary’s assistant and an usher of a school. Perennially in debt and addicted to gambling, Goldsmith produced a massive output as a hack writer for the publishers of London, but his few painstaking works earned him the company of Samuel Johnson, with whom he was a founding member of “The Club”. There, through fellow Club member Edmund Burke, he made the acquaintance of Sir George Savile, who would later arrange a job for him at Thornhill Grammar School. The combination of his literary work and his dissolute lifestyle led Horace Walpole to give him the epithet inspired idiot. During this period he used the pseudonym “James Willington” (the name of a fellow student at Trinity) to publish his 1758 translation of the autobiography of the Huguenot Jean Marteilhe. Goldsmith was described by contemporaries as prone to envy, a congenial but impetuous and disorganised personality who once planned to emigrate to America but failed because he missed his ship. At some point around this time he worked at Thornhill Grammar School, later basing Squire Thornhill (in the Vicar of Wakefield) on his benefactor Sir George Savile and certainly spending time with eminent scientist Rev. John Mitchell, who he probably knew from London. Mitchell, sorely missed good company, which Goldsmith naturally provided in spades.Thomas De Quincey wrote of him 'All the motion of Goldsmith’s nature moved in the direction of the true, the natural, the sweet, the gentle’. His premature death in 1774 may have been partly due to his own misdiagnosis of his kidney infection. Goldsmith was buried in Temple Church in London. The inscription reads; "HERE LIES/OLIVER GOLDSMITH". There is a monument to him in the centre of Ballymahon, also in Westminster Abbey with an epitaph written by Samuel Johnson. Works * See The Vicar of Wakefield, The Good-Natur’d Man, The Traveller, and She Stoops to Conquer. The Citizen of the World * In 1760 Goldsmith began to publish a series of letters in the Public Ledger under the title The Citizen of the World. Purportedly written by a Chinese traveller in England by the name of Lien Chi, they used this fictional outsider’s perspective to comment ironically and at times moralistically on British society and manners. It was inspired by the earlier essay series Persian Letters by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. The Hermit * Goldsmith wrote this romantic ballad of precisely 160 lines in 1765. The hero and heroine are Edwin, a youth without wealth or power, and Angelina, the daughter of a lord “beside the Tyne.” Angelina spurns many wooers, but refuses to make plain her love for young Edwin. “Quite dejected with my scorn,” Edwin disappears and becomes a hermit. One day, Angelina turns up at his cell in boy’s clothes and, not recognising him, tells him her story. Edwin then reveals his true identity, and the lovers never part again. The poem is notable for its interesting portrayal of a hermit, who is fond of the natural world and his wilderness solitude but maintains a gentle, sympathetic demeanor toward other people. In keeping with eremitical tradition, however, Edwin the Hermit claims to "spurn the [opposite] sex." This poem appears under the title of “A Ballad” sung by the character of Mr. Burchell in Chapter 8 of Goldsmith’s novel, The Vicar of Wakefield. The Deserted Village * In the 1760s Goldsmith witnessed the demolition of an ancient village and destruction of its farms to clear land to become a wealthy man’s garden. His poem The Deserted Village, published in 1770, expresses a fear that the destruction of villages and the conversion of land from productive agriculture to ornamental landscape gardens would ruin the peasantry. Other works * The Complete Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith (ed) Austin Dobson, 1887, kindle ebook March 2011 ASIN B004TP31VM * The ironic poem, An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog was published in 1766. * A History of the Earth and Animated Nature (1774) * Goldsmith is also thought to have written the classic children’s tale The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes. Memorials concerning Oliver Goldsmith * Goldsmith lived in Kingsbury, now in North-West London between 1771 and 1774 and Oliver Goldsmith Primary School and Goldsmith Lane there are named after him. * The Oliver Goldsmith Summer School is held every June Bank Holiday at Ballymahon with poetry and creative readings being held at Goldsmith’s birthplace in nearby Pallas, Forgney. * In the play Marx in Soho by Howard Zinn, Marx makes a reference to Goldsmiths’ poem, The Deserted Village. * A statue of him by JH Foley stands at the Front Arch of Trinity College, Dublin (see image). * A statue of him stands in a limestone cell at the ruin of his birthplace in Pallas, Forgney, Ballymahon, County Longford. The statue is a copy of the Foley statue that stands outside Trinity college Dublin and is the focus point of the annual Oliver Goldsmith Summer School. * His name has been given to a new lecture theatre and student accommodation on the Trinity College campus: Goldsmith Hall. * Somerset Maugham used the last line from An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog in his novel The Painted Veil (1925). The character Walter Fane’s last words are The dog it was that died. * Auburn, Alabama, and Auburn University were named for the first line in Goldsmith’s poem: “Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain.” Auburn is still referred to as the ‘loveliest village on the plain.’ * There is a statue in Ballymahon County Longford outside the town library by Irish Sculptor Éamonn O’ Doherty (1939 - 2011)which was unveiled in 1999. * London Underground locomotive number 16 (used on the Metropolitan line of the London Underground until 1962) was named Oliver Goldsmith. * Longford based band Goldsmith are named after the famous writer. * Athlone Institute of Technology library is named the Goldsmith Library In popular culture * Two characters in the 1951 comedy The Lavender Hill Mob quote the same line from Goldsmith’s poem “The Traveller”– a subtle joke, because the film’s plot involves the recasting of stolen gold. * During the opening credits of the SKY One adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Christmas story “The Hogfather”, a portrait of Goldsmith is shown as part of a hall of memorials to those “exhumed” by the “Ankh-Morpork Assassins’ Guild”. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Goldsmith
Francis Edward Ledwidge (19 August 1887– 31 July 1917) was an Irish war poet from County Meath. Sometimes known as the “poet of the blackbirds”, he was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I. Early life Ledwidge was born at Janeville, Slane, in Ireland, the eighth of nine children in a poverty-stricken family. His parents, Patrick Ledwidge (the Ledwidge family, from Shropshire, was granted land in Meath after the Norman invasion) and wife Anne Lynch (1853–1926), believed in giving their children the best education they could afford. But when Francis was only five his father Patrick died prematurely, which forced his wife and the children out to work at an early age. Francis left the local national school aged thirteen, and while he continued to educate himself, he worked at what work he could find, as farm hand, road mender and supervisor of roads, as copper miner (sacked for organising a strike for better mining conditions, three years before the general 1913 strike, and was a trade union activist since 1906) and shop assistant. Appointed secretary of the Slane branch of the Meath Labour Union (1913–14) he had aspirations of permanent white-collar work. He was known for his connections with Sinn Féin. Young poet Strongly built, with striking brown eyes and a sensuous face, Ledwidge was a keen poet, writing where ever he could– sometimes even on gates or fence posts. From the age of fourteen his works were published in his local newspaper, the Drogheda Independent reflecting his passion for the Boyne Valley. While working as a road labourer he won the patronage of the writer Lord Dunsany after writing to him in 1912, enclosing copybooks of his early work. Dunsany, a man of letters already well known in Dublin and London literary and dramatic circles, and whose own start in publishing had been with a few poems, promoted him in Dublin and introduced him to W.B. Yeats with whom he became acquainted. Dunsany supported Ledwidge with money and literary advice for some years, providing him with access to and a workspace in Dunsany Castle’s Library where he met the Irish writer Katharine Tynan, corresponding with her regularly. Dunsany later prepared his first collection of poetry Songs of the Fields, which successfully appealed to the expectations of the Irish Literary Revival and its social taste for rural poetry. Home Rule and World War I Ledwidge was a keen patriot and nationalist. His efforts to found a branch of the Gaelic League in Slane were thwarted by members of the local council. The area organiser encouraged him to continue his struggle, but Francis gave up. He did manage to act as a founding member with his brother Joseph of the Slane Branch of the Irish Volunteers (1914), a nationalist force created in response to the arming of the Ulster Volunteers who swore to resist the introduction of Home Rule for Ireland by force, if need be. The Irish Volunteers were set up to prevent their belligerence and to ensure democracy would prevail. On the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, and on account of Ireland’s involvement in the war, the Irish Volunteers split into two factions, the National Volunteers who supported John Redmond’s appeal to join Irish regiments in support of the Allied war cause and those who did not. Francis was originally of the latter party. Nevertheless, having defended this position strongly at a local council meeting, he enlisted (24 October 1914) in Lord Dunsany’s regiment, joining 5th battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, part of the 10th (Irish) Division. This was against the urgings of Dunsany who opposed his enlistment and had offered him a stipend to support him if he stayed away from the war. Some have speculated that he went to war because his sweetheart Ellie Vaughey had found a new lover, John O’Neill, whom she later married, but Ledwidge himself wrote, and forcefully, that he could not stand aside while others sought to defend Ireland’s freedom. Poetry and war Ledwidge seems to have fitted into Army life well, and rapidly achieved promotion to lance corporal. In 1915, he saw action at Suvla Bay in the Dardanelles, where he suffered severe rheumatism. Having survived huge losses sustained by his company in the Battle of Gallipoli, he became ill after a back injury on a tough mountain journey in Serbia (December 1915), a locale which inspired a number of poems. Ledwidge was dismayed by the news of the Easter Rising, and was court-martialled and demoted for overstaying his home leave and being drunk in uniform (May 1916). He gained and lost stripes over a period in Derry (he was a corporal when the introduction to his first book was written), and then, returned to the front, received back his lance corporal’s stripe one last time in January 1917 when posted to the Western Front, joining 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, part of 29th Division. Ledwidge continued to write when feasible throughout the war years, though he lost much work, for example, in atrocious weather in Serbia. He sent much of his output to Lord Dunsany, himself moving on war assignments, as well as to readers among family, friends and literary contacts. On 31 July 1917, a group from Ledwidge’s battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were road-laying in preparation for an assault during the Third Battle of Ypres, near the village of Boezinge, northwest of Ieper (Ypres). While Ledwidge was drinking tea in a mud hole with his comrades, a shell exploded alongside, killing the poet and five others. A chaplain who knew him, Father Devas, arrived soon after, and recorded “Ledwidge killed, blown to bits.” The poems Ledwidge wrote on active service revealed his pride at being a soldier, as he believed, in the service of Ireland. He wondered whether he would find a soldier’s death. The dead were buried at Carrefour de Rose, and later re-interred in the nearby Artillery Wood Military Cemetery, Boezinge, (where the Welsh poet Hedd Wyn, killed on the same day, is also buried). A stone tablet commemorates him in the Island of Ireland Peace Park, Messines, Belgium. His work as “peasant poet” and “soldier poet”, once a standard part of the Irish school curriculum, faded from view for many decades of the 20th century. Its intensity, coupled with a revived interest in his period, has restored it to life. Publications and reception Much of Ledwidge’s work was published in newspapers and journals in Ireland and the UK. The only work published in book form during Ledwidge’s lifetime was the original Songs of the Fields (1915), which was very well received. The critic Edward Marsh printed three of the poems in the Georgian Poetry series, and remained a correspondent for the remainder of Ledwidge’s life. A second volume, Songs of Peace was in preparation when Ledwidge died; patron and friend Lord Dunsany wrote the introduction while both were in Derry in September 1916. Following the war, Dunsany arranged for more of Ledwidge’s work to be published, first in a third and final new volume, Last Songs, and then later in an anthology in 1919; he commented on the work with words such as: “[I was] astonished by the brilliance of that eye and that had looked at the fields of Meath and seen there all the simple birds and flowers, with a vividness which made those pages like a magnifying glass, through which one looked at familiar things for the first time.” Some of Ledwidge’s poetry was put to music by the British Composer and song-writer Michael Head, most notably in the very well received song cycle published in 1920, “Over the rim of the moon”. This includes the well-known song, “The Ships of Arcady”. Later collections: Alice Curtayne: ‘’The complete poems of Francis Ledwidge’’ (1974) who also wrote a comprehensive biography of the poet, including some previously unpublished work Liam O’Meara: ‘’The poems of Francis Ledwidge’’ (1997), (ISBN 1 870 49147 5), including some previously unpublished work Ulick O’Connor (introduction by): ‘’The best of Francis Ledwidge’’, The Inchicore Ledwidge Society, Risposte Books (2004), ISBN 1-901596-10-9 Hubert Dunn:‘’The Minstrel Boy’’, (2006) some more poems released in a commemorative volume Dermot Bolger: In 1992 long-time Ledwidge admirer, Dublin poet Dermot Bolger, published a Selected Poems of Francis Ledwidge. This was re-issued by New Island Books in 2007 under the title “A Ledwidge Treasury”, with an introduction by Seamus Heaney and an afterword by Dermot Bolger. In 2007 Bolger’s play about the life of Ledwidge, “Walking the Road”, (New Island Books, 2007) was staged in Dublin and in the Town Hall Theatre, Ieper, close where Ledwidge died. It was commissioned to mark the 90th anniversary of his death. In 1998 Bolger and the poet’s nephew, Joseph Ledwidge, were invited by the 'In Flanders Fields Museum’ to unveil a monument on the spot where Ledwidge was killed. Politics His politics are described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as nationalist as well as left-wing. However far from simply being an Irish Nationalist, his poems “O’Connell Street” and "Lament for the Poets of 1916" clearly describe his sense of loss and an expression of holding the same “dreams” as the Easter Rising’s Irish Republicans who fought and died for the Irish Republic in and around O’Connell Street in 1916. Works * Songs of the Fields (1915) Full text at Internet Archive * Songs of Peace (1917) Full text at Internet Archive * Last Songs (1918) Full text at Internet Archive * The complete poems of Francis Ledwidge; with introductions by Lord Dunsany (1919) Full text at Internet Archive Quotes * Oh what a pleasant world 'twould be, * How easy we’d step thro’ it, * If all the fools who meant no harm, * Could manage not to do it! *– From a personal letter. * He shall not hear the bittern cry * in the wild sky, where he is lain, * Nor voices of the sweeter birds * Above the wailing of the rain * * Nor shall he know when the loud March blows * Thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill, * Blowing to flame the golden cup * Of many an upset daffodil. * * But when the dark cow leaves the moor * And pastures poor with greedy weeds * Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn * Lifting her horn in pleasant meads. *– Lament for Thomas MacDonagh Documentary film * Ledwidge was the subject of an RTÉ documentary entitled Behind the Closed Eye, first broadcast on 18 January 1973. It won awards for Best Story and Best Implementation Documentary at the Golden Prague International Television Festival. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Ledwidge
Patrick Kavanagh (21 October 1904– 30 November 1967) was an Irish poet and novelist. His best-known works include the novel Tarry Flynn, and the poems “On Raglan Road” and “The Great Hunger”. He is known for his accounts of Irish life through reference to the everyday and commonplace. Life and work Early life Patrick Kavanagh was born in rural Inniskeen, County Monaghan, in 1904, the fourth of the ten children of Bridget Quinn. His grandfather was a schoolteacher called “Keaveney”, which a local priest changed to “Kavanagh”. The grandfather had to leave the area following a scandal and never taught in a national school again. Patrick Kavanagh’s father, James, was a shoemaker and farmer. Kavanagh’s brother Peter became a university professor and writer, two of their sisters were teachers, three became nurses, and one became a nun. Patrick Kavanagh was a pupil at Kednaminsha National School from 1909 to 1916, leaving in the sixth year at the age of 13. He became apprenticed to his father as a shoemaker and worked on his farm. He was also goalkeeper for the Inniskeen Gaelic football team. He later reflected: “Although the literal idea of the peasant is of a farm labouring person, in fact a peasant is all that mass of mankind which lives below a certain level of consciousness. They live in the dark cave of the unconscious and they scream when they see the light.” He also commented that, although he had grown up in a poor district, "the real poverty was lack of enlightenment [and] I am afraid this fog of unknowing affected me dreadfully.” Writing career Kavanagh’s first published work appeared in 1928 in the Dundalk Democrat and the Irish Independent. Kavanagh had encountered a copy of the Irish Statesman, edited by George William Russell, who published under the pen name AE and was a leader of the Irish Literary Revival. Russell at first rejected Kavanagh’s work but encouraged him to keep submitting, and he went on to publish verse by Kavanagh in 1929 and 1930. This inspired the farmer to leave home and attempt to further his aspirations. In 1931, he walked 80 kilometres to meet Russell in Dublin, where Kavanagh’s brother was a teacher. Russell gave Kavanagh books, among them works by Feodor Dostoyevsky, Victor Hugo, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Robert Browning, and became Kavanagh’s literary adviser. Kavanagh joined Dundalk Library and the first book he borrowed was The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. Kavanagh’s first collection, Ploughman and Other Poems, was published in 1936. It is notable for its realistic portrayal of Irish country life, free of the romantic sentiment often seen at the time in rural poems, a trait he abhorred. Published by Macmillan in its series on new poets, the book expressed a commitment to colloquial speech and the unvarnished lives of real people, which made him unpopular with the literary establishment. Two years after his first collection was published he had yet to make a significant impression. The Times Literary Supplement described him as “a young Irish poet of promise rather than of achievement,” and The Spectator commented that, “like other poets admired by A.E., he writes much better prose than poetry. Mr Kavanagh’s lyrics are for the most part slight and conventional, easily enjoyed but almost as easily forgotten.” In 1938 Kavanagh went to London. He remained there for about five months. The Green Fool, a loosely autobiographical novel, was published in 1938 and Kavanagh was accused of libel. Oliver St. John Gogarty sued Kavanagh for his description of his first visit to Gogarty’s home: “I mistook Gogarty’s white-robed maid for his wife or his mistress; I expected every poet to have a spare wife.” Gogarty, who had taken offence at the close coupling of the words “wife” and “mistress”, was awarded £100 in damages. The book, which recounted Kavanagh’s rural childhood and his attempts to become a writer, received international recognition and good reviews. In 1939 Kavanagh settled in Dublin. In his biography John Nemo describes Kavanagh’s encounter with the city’s literary world: “he realized that the stimulating environment he had imagined was little different from the petty and ignorant world he had left. He soon saw through the literary masks many Dublin writers wore to affect an air of artistic sophistication. To him such men were dandies, journalists, and civil servants playing at art. His disgust was deepened by the fact that he was treated as the literate peasant he had been rather than as the highly talented poet he believed he was in the process of becoming”. In 1942 he published his long poem The Great Hunger, which describes the privations and hardship of the rural life he knew well. Although it was rumoured at the time that all copies of Horizon, the literary magazine in which it was published, were seized by the Garda Síochána, Kavanagh denied that this had occurred, saying later that he was visited by two Gardaí at his home (probably in connection with an investigation of Horizon under the Special Powers Act). Written from the viewpoint of a single peasant against the historical background of famine and emotional despair, the poem is often held by critics to be Kavanagh’s finest work. It set out to counter the saccharine romanticising of the Irish literary establishment in its view of peasant life. Richard Murphy in the The New York Times Book Review described it as “a great work” and Robin Skelton in Poetry praised it as “a vision of mythic intensity”. Kavanagh worked as a part-time journalist, writing a gossip column in the Irish Press under the pseudonym Piers Plowman from 1942 to 1944 and acted as film critic for the same publication from 1945 to 1949. In 1946 the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, found Kavanagh a job on the Catholic magazine The Standard. McQuaid continued to support him throughout his life. Tarry Flynn, a semi-autobiographical novel, was published in 1948 and was banned for a time. It is a fictional account of rural life. It was later made into a play, performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1966. In late 1946 Kavanagh moved to Belfast, where he worked as a journalist and as a barman in a number of public houses in the Falls Road area. During this period he lodged in the Beechmount area in a house where he was related to the tenant through the tenant’s brother-in-law in Ballymackney, County Monaghan. Before returning to Dublin in November 1949 he presented numerous manuscripts to the family, all of which are now believed to be in Spain. Kavanagh’s personality became progressively quixotic as his drinking increased over the years and his health deteriorated. Eventually, a dishevelled figure, he moved among the bars of Dublin, drinking whiskey, and displaying his predilection for turning on benefactors and friends. Later career In 1949 Kavanagh began to write a monthly “Diary” for Envoy, a literary publication founded by John Ryan, who became a lifelong friend and benefactor. The Envoy’s offices were at 39 Grafton Street, but most of the journal’s business was conducted in a nearby pub, McDaid’s, which Kavanagh subsequently adopted as his local. Through Envoy he came into contact with a circle of young artists and intellectuals including Anthony Cronin, Patrick Swift, John Jordan and the sculptor Desmond MacNamara, whose bust of Kavanagh is in the Irish National Writers Museum. Kavanagh often referred to these times as the period of his “poetic rebirth”. In 1952 Kavanagh published his own journal, Kavanagh’s Weekly: A Journal of Literature and Politics, in conjunction with, and financed by, his brother Peter. It ran to some 13 issues, from 12 April to 5 July 1952. The Leader lawsuit and lung cancer In 1954 two major events changed Kavanagh’s life. First, he sued The Leader for publishing a portrait of him as an alcoholic sponger. The highly skilled lawyer John A. Costello, acting in defence of The Leader, won the case when it came to trial. (Costello had been Attorney General of Ireland (1926–1932) and later became Taoiseach (1948–1951 and 1954–1957). He and Kavanagh eventually became good friends.) Second, shortly after Kavanagh lost this case, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was admitted to hospital, where he had a lung removed. It was while recovering from this operation by relaxing on the banks of the Grand Canal in Dublin that Kavanagh rediscovered his poetic vision. He began to appreciate nature and his surroundings, and took his inspiration from them for many of his later poems. Turning point: Kavanagh begins to receive acclaim In 1955 Macmillan’s rejected a typescript of poems by Kavanagh, which left the poet very depressed. Patrick Swift, on a visit to Dublin in 1956, was invited by Kavanagh to look at the typescript. Swift then arranged for the poems to be published in the English literary journal Nimbus(19 poems were published). This proved a turning point and Kavanagh began receiving the acclaim that he had always felt he deserved. His next collection, Come Dance with Kitty Stobling, was directly linked to the mini-collection in Nimbus. Between 1959 and 1962 Kavanagh spent more time in London, where he contributed to Swift’s X magazine. During this period Kavanagh occasionally stayed with the Swifts in Westbourne Terrace. He gave lectures at University College Dublin and in the United States, represented Ireland at literary symposiums, and became a judge of the Guinness Poetry Awards. In London he often stayed with his publisher, Martin Green, and Green’s wife Fiona, in their house in Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia. It was at this time that Martin Green produced Kavanagh’s Collected Poems (1964) with prompting from Patrick Swift and Anthony Cronin". In the introduction Kavanagh wrote: “A man innocently dabbles in words and rhymes, and finds that it is his life.” Marriage and death Kavanagh married his long-term companion Katherine Barry Moloney (niece of Kevin Barry) in April 1967 and they set up home together on the Waterloo Road in Dublin. Kavanagh fell ill at the first performance of Tarry Flynn by the Abbey Theatre company in Dundalk Town Hall and died a few days later, on 30 November 1967, in a Dublin nursing home. His grave is in Inniskeen adjoining the Patrick Kavanagh Centre. His wife Katherine died in 1989; she is also buried there. Legacy Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney is acknowledged to have been influenced by Kavanagh. Heaney was introduced to Kavanagh’s work by the writer Michael MacLaverty when they taught together at St Thomas’s, Belfast. Heaney and Kavanagh shares a belief in the capacity of the local, or parochial, to reveal the universal. Heaney once said that Kavanagh’s poetry “had a transformative effect on the general culture and liberated the gifts of the poetic generations who came after him.” Heaney noted: “Kavanagh is a truly representative modern figure in that his subversiveness was turned upon himself: dissatisfaction, both spiritual and artistic, is what inspired his growth.... His instruction and example helped us to see an essential difference between what he called the parochial and provincial mentalities”. As Kavanagh put it: “All great civilizations are based on the parish”. He concludes that Kavanagh’s poetry vindicates his “indomitable faith in himself and in the art that made him so much more than himself”. The actor Russell Crowe has stated that he is a fan of Kavanagh. He commented: “I like the clarity and the emotiveness of Kavanagh. I like how he combines the kind of mystic into really clear, evocative work that can make you glad you are alive”. On 24 February 2002, after winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in A Beautiful Mind, Crowe quoted Kavanagh during his acceptance speech at the 55th British Academy Film Awards. When he became aware that the Kavanagh quote had been cut from the final broadcast, Crowe became aggressive with the BBC producer responsible, Malcolm Gerrie. He said: “it was about a one minute fifty speech but they’ve cut a minute out of it”. The poem that was cut was a four-line poem: When the Irish Times compiled a list of favourite Irish poems in 2000, ten of Kavanagh’s poems were in the top 50, and he was rated the second favourite poet behind W. B. Yeats. Kavanagh’s poem “On Raglan Road”, set to the traditional air “Fáinne Geal an Lae”, composed by Thomas Connellan in the 17th century, has been performed by numerous artists as diverse as Van Morrison, Luke Kelly, Dire Straits, Billy Bragg, Sinéad O’Connor, Joan Osborne and many others. There is a statue of Kavanagh beside Dublin’s Grand Canal, inspired by his poem “Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin”: Every 17 March, after the St Patrick’s day parade, a group of Kavanagh’s friends gather at the Kavanagh seat on the banks of the Grand Canal at Mespil road in his honour. The seat was erected by his friends, led by John Ryan and Denis Dwyer, in 1968. A bronze sculpture of the writer stands outside the Palace Bar on Dublin’s Fleet Street. There is also a statue of Patrick Kavanagh located outside the Irish pub and restaurant, Raglan Road, at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. His poetic tribute to his friend the Irish American sculptor Jerome Connor was used in the plaque overlooking Dublin’s Phoenix Park dedicated to Connor. The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award is presented each year for an unpublished collection of poems. The annual Patrick Kavanagh Weekend takes place on the last weekend in September in Inniskeen, County Monaghan, Ireland. The Patrick Kavanagh Centre, an interpretative centre set up to commemorate the poet, is located in Inniskeen. Kavanagh Archive In 1986, Peter Kavanagh negotiated the sale of Patrick Kavanagh’s papers as well as a large collection of his own work devoted to the late poet to University College Dublin. The purchase was enabled by a public appeal for funds by the late Professor Gus Martin. He included in the sale his original hand press which he had built. The archive is housed in a special collections room in UCD’s library, and the hand press is on loan to the Patrick Kavanagh Centre, Inniskeen. The contents include: Early literary material containing verses, novels, prose writing and other publications; family correspondence containing letters to Cecilia Kavanagh and Peter Kavanagh; letters to Patrick Kavanagh from various sources (1926–40). Later literary material containing verses, novels, articles, lectures, published works, galley page proofs, Kavanagh’s Weekly, and adaptations of Kavanagh’s work (1940–67). Documents concerning libel case of Kavanagh v The Leader (1952–54). Personal correspondence, including with his sisters, Peter Kavanagh, Katherine Barry Moloney (1947–67). Printed material, press cuttings, publications, personal memorabilia, and tape recordings (1940–67). Peter Kavanagh’s papers include thesis, plays, autobiographical writing, and printed material, personal and general correspondence memorabilia, tape recordings, galley proofs (1941–82) and family memorabilia (1872–1967). Copyright Ownership of the copyright is vested in Trustees of The Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Trust by virtue of the terms of the will of the late Kathleen Kavanagh, widow of the poet, who in turn became entitled to the copyright on the death of her husband. The proceeds of the trust are used to support deserving writers. The Trustees are Leland Bardwell, Patrick MacEntee, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Eunan O’Halpin, and Macdara Woods. This was disputed by the late Peter Kavanagh who continued publishing his work after Patrick’s death. This dispute led some books to go out of print. Most of his work is now available in the UK and Ireland but the status in the United States is more uncertain. Works Poetry * 1936– Ploughman and Other Poems * 1942– The Great Hunger * 1947– A Soul For Sale * 1958– Recent Poems * 1960– Come Dance with Kitty Stobling and Other Poems * 1964– Collected Poems (ISBN 0 85616 100 4) * 1972– The Complete Poems of Patrick Kavanagh, edited by Peter Kavanagh * 1978– Lough Derg * 1996– Selected Poems, edited by Antoinette Quinn (ISBN 0140184856) * 2004– Collected Poems, edited by Antoinette Quinn (ISBN 0-713-99599-8) Prose * 1938– The Green Fool * 1948– Tarry Flynn (ISBN 0141183616) * 1964– Self Portrait– recording * 1967– Collected Prose * 1971– November Haggard a collection of prose and poetry edited by Peter Kavanagh * 1978– By Night Unstarred. A conflated novel, completed by Peter Kavanagh * 2002– A Poet’s Country: Selected Prose, edited by Antoinette Quinn (ISBN 1843510103) Dramatisations * 1966– Tarry Flynn, adapted by P. J. O’Connor * 1986– The Great Hunger, adapted by Tom Mac Intyre * 1992– Out of That Childhood Country John McArdle’s (1992), co-written with his brother Tommy and Eugene MacCabe, is about Kavanagh’s youth loosely based on his writings. * 1997– Tarry Flynn, adapted by Conall Morrison (modern dance and play) * 2004– The Green Fool, adapted by Upstate Theatre Project References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Kavanagh
Thomas Osborne Davis (14 October 1814– 16 September 1845) was an Irish writer who was the chief organiser of the Young Ireland movement. Early life Thomas Davis was born in the town of Mallow in County Cork, the son of a Welsh father, a surgeon in the Royal Artillery, and an Irish mother. Through his mother he was descended from the Gaelic noble family of O’Sullivan Beare. His father died one month after his birth and his mother moved to Warrington Place near Mount Street bridge in Dublin. In 1830, they moved to 67 Lower Baggot Street. He attended school in Lower Mount Street before studying in Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated in Law and received an Arts degree in 1836, before being called to the Irish Bar in 1838. Writings To a large extent Davis created the culture of modern Irish nationalism. Formerly it was based on the republicans of the 1790s and on the Catholic emancipation movement of Daniel O’Connell in the 1820s-30s, that had little in common with each other except for separatism from Britain; Davis aimed to create a common and more inclusive base for the future. He established The Nation newspaper with Charles Gavan Duffy and John Blake Dillon. He wrote some stirring nationalistic ballads, originally contributed to The Nation, and afterwards republished as Spirit of the Nation, as well as a memoir of Curran, the Irish lawyer and orator, prefixed to an edition of his speeches, and a history of King James II’s parliament of 1689; and he had formed many literary plans which were unfinished by his early death. He was a protestant, but preached unity between Catholics and Protestants. To Davis, it was not blood that made a person Irish, but the willingness to be part of the Irish nation. Although the Saxon and Dane were, Davis asserted, objects of unpopularity, their descendants would be Irish if they simply allowed themselves to be. He was to the fore of Irish nationalist thinking and it has been noted by later nationalist notables, such as Patrick Pearse, that while Wolfe Tone laid out the basic premise that Ireland as a nation must be free, Davis was the one who built this idea up promoting the Irish identity. He is the author of the famous Irish rebel songs The West’s Awake and A Nation Once Again. He also wrote the Lament for Owen Roe O’Neill. Relationship with Daniel O’Connell Davis supported O’Connell’s Repeal Association from 1840, hoping to recreate the old Irish Parliament. They split during a debate on the proposed new Queen’s University of Ireland, when Davis was reduced to tears by O’Connell’s superior debating skill. Davis was in favour of a university that would inclusively educate all Irish students; O’Connell and the Catholic hierarchy preferred a separate system for Catholic students within Ireland that would remain under church control (see: Catholic University of Ireland). O’Connell generally referred to his inexperienced allies as “Young Ireland”, initially as a dismissive term, that from the 1870s became the accepted term for nationalists inspired by Davis. He also preferred a federal arrangement with Britain in the 1840s while Davis sought a greater degree of autonomy. Both agreed that a gradual and non-violent process was the best way forward. Despite their differences O’Connell was distraught at Davis’s early death. Death He died from scarlet fever, in 1845 at the age of 30. He is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin. Legacy A series of state events were staged around Ireland for a week in September 1945 on the 100th anniversary of his death. A statue of Davis, created by Edward Delaney, was unveiled on College Green, Dublin, in 1966, attended by the Irish president, Éamon de Valera. One of the secondary schools in Davis’ home town of Mallow, Davis College, is named after him. A number of GAA clubs around the country are also named after him; including one in Tallaght, Dublin and one in Corrinshego, County Armagh. Fort Davis, at the entrance to Cork Harbour, is named after him. Thomas Davis street, off Francis Street in Dublin 8 is also named after him. Bibliography * The Patriot Parliament of 1689: first edition (1843); third edition, with an introduction by Charles Gavan Duffy (1893) * The Life of the Right Hon. J. P. Curran (1846) * Letters of a Protestant, on Repeal. [Five letters originally published in “The Nation.”] Edited by Thomas F. Meagher (1847) * Literary and Historical Essays (edited by Charles Gavan Duffy) (1846) * The Poems of Thomas Davis (With notes and historical illustrations edited by Thomas Wallis) (1846) Additional reading * 'Munster Outrages’, written by Davis, first published in The Nation * The Politics of Irish Literature: from Thomas Davis to W.B. Yeats, Malcolm Brown, Allen & Unwin, 1973. * John Mitchel, A Cause Too Many, Aidan Hegarty, Camlane Press. * Thomas Davis, The Thinker and Teacher, Arthur Griffith, M.H. Gill & Son 1922. * Brigadier-General Thomas Francis Meagher His Political and Military Career, Capt. W. F. Lyons, Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited 1869 * Young Ireland and 1848, Dennis Gwynn, Cork University Press 1949. * Daniel O’Connell The Irish Liberator, Dennis Gwynn, Hutchinson & Co, Ltd. * O’Connell Davis and the Collages Bill, Dennis Gwynn, Cork University Press 1948. * Smith O’Brien And The “Secession”, Dennis Gwynn, Cork University Press * Meagher of The Sword, Edited By Arthur Griffith, M. H. Gill & Son, Ltd. 1916. * Young Irelander Abroad The Diary of Charles Hart, Edited by Brendan O’Cathaoir, University Press. * John Mitchel First Felon for Ireland, Edited By Brian O’Higgins, Brian O’Higgins 1947. * Rossa’s Recollections 1838 to 1898, Intro by Sean O’Luing, The Lyons Press 2004. * Labour in Ireland, James Connolly, Fleet Street 1910. * The Re-Conquest of Ireland, James Connolly, Fleet Street 1915. * John Mitchel Noted Irish Lives, Louis J. Walsh, The Talbot Press Ltd 1934. * Thomas Davis: Essays and Poems, Centenary Memoir, M. H Gill, M.H. Gill & Son, Ltd MCMXLV. * Life of John Martin, P. A. Sillard, James Duffy & Co., Ltd 1901. * Life of John Mitchel, P. A. Sillard, James Duffy and Co., Ltd 1908. * John Mitchel, P. S. O’Hegarty, Maunsel & Company, Ltd 1917. * The Fenians in Context Irish Politics & Society 1848–82, R. V. Comerford, Wolfhound Press 1998 * William Smith O’Brien and the Young Ireland Rebellion of 1848, Robert Sloan, Four Courts Press 2000 * Irish Mitchel, Seamus MacCall, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd 1938. * Ireland Her Own, T. A. Jackson, Lawrence & Wishart Ltd 1976. * Life and Times of Daniel O’Connell, T. C. Luby, Cameron & Ferguson. * Young Ireland, T. F. O’Sullivan, The Kerryman Ltd. 1945. * Irish Rebel John Devoy and America’s Fight for Irish Freedom, Terry Golway, St. Martin’s Griffin 1998. * Paddy’s Lament Ireland 1846–1847 Prelude to Hatred, Thomas Gallagher, Poolbeg 1994. * The Great Shame, Thomas Keneally, Anchor Books 1999. * James Fintan Lalor, Thomas, P. O’Neill, Golden Publications 2003. * Charles Gavan Duffy: Conversations With Carlyle (1892), with Introduction, Stray Thoughts On Young Ireland, by Brendan Clifford, Athol Books, Belfast, (ISBN 0 85034 1140). (Pg. 32 Titled, Foster’s account Of Young Ireland.) * Envoi, Taking Leave Of Roy Foster, by Brendan Clifford and Julianne Herlihy, Aubane Historical Society, Cork. * The Falcon Family, or, Young Ireland, by M. W. Savage, London, 1845. (An Gorta Mor) Quinnipiac University References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Davis_(Young_Irelander)
David McKee Wright (6 August 1869– 5 February 1928) was an Irish-born poet and journalist, active in New Zealand and Australia. Early life Wright was born at Ballynaskeagh, County Down, Ireland, the second son of Rev. William Wright, D.D. (1837-1899), a Congregational missionary working in Damascus, scholar and author, and his wife Ann (d.1877), née McKee, daughter of the Rev. David McKee, an educationist and author. David Wright was born while his parents were home on furlough and was left with a grandmother (Rebecca McKee) until he was seven years old. Wright was educated at the local Glascar School and then from 1876 in England at Mr Pope’s School and the Crystal Palace School of Engineering, London. New Zealand Wright migrated to New Zealand in 1887 and spent several years as a rabbiter on stations in Central Otago. During this time he wrote in both prose and verse for major provincial newspapers about station life. He studied for the Congregational ministry and Wright studied divinity from 1896 at the University of Otago. Wright had done a lot of private reading, but found that apart from English his education was generally below that of the other students. In 1897 Wright was awarded a Stuart prize for poetry. Wright published four volumes of ballads, Aorangi and other Verses (1896), Station Ballads and other Verses (1897), Wisps of Tussock (1900), and New Zealand Chimes (1900). As a clergyman Wright was liked, but he found the work uncongenial and gave it up for journalism in which he had considerable experience in New Zealand. Wright married Elizabeth Couper at Dunedin on 3 August 1899; a son David was born in 1900, but the marriage failed. Wright joined the New Zealand Mail as parliamentary reporter in 1907. Australia Wright moved to Sydney in 1910 and did a large amount of successful freelance work for the Sun, The Bulletin, and other papers. Wright was editor of the Red Page of The Bulletin 1916–1926 and encouraged many of the rising writers of the time, and continued to do a large amount of writing himself in both prose and verse. Much of this appeared over pen-names such as “Pat O’Maori” and “Mary McCommonwealth” and much was signed with his initials. As Wright grew older his mind turned more and more to the country of his birth, he published his most important volume, An Irish Heart (1918). In 1920 he was awarded the prize for the best poem in commemoration of the visit of the Prince of Wales, and in the same year the Rupert Brooke memorial prize for a long poem, “Gallipoli”. Neither of these poems has been published in book form. From 1912-18 Wright lived with the writer 'Margaret Fane’ (Beatrice Florence Osborne, 1887-1962) in Sydney; they had four sons. From 1918 Wright lived with Zora Cross in Greeanawn, Glenbrook, Blue Mountains. He died there on 5 February 1928. The couple had two daughters, Davidina Wright and April McKee Wright (also known as April Hersey), who went on to write at least one wartime thriller. Legacy Wright was a friend of Christopher Brennan, Randolph Bedford, Frank Morton and Henry Lawson. Though much of a Bohemian, something of the clergyman still clung to him. Zora Cross, in An Introduction to the Study of Australian Literature, gave him a high position among Australian poets. Charming though An Irish Heart may be, it is too derivative to be work of the highest kind. It is not a question of individual words or phrases, but rather of a man steeping himself in the modern Irish school of poetry, and with all the skill of his practised craftsmanship reproducing its spirit in another land. A large amount of his work, including some short plays, has never been collected. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_McKee_Wright
Edward Dowden (/ˈdaʊdən/; 3 May 1843– 4 April 1913), was an Irish critic and poet. Biography He was the son of John Wheeler Dowden, a merchant and landowner, and was born at Cork, three years after his brother John, who became Bishop of Edinburgh in 1886. Edward’s literary tastes emerged early, in a series of essays written at the age of twelve. His home education continued at Queen’s College, Cork and at Trinity College, Dublin; at the latter he had a distinguished career, becoming president of the Philosophical Society, and winning the vice-chancellor’s prize for English verse and prose, and the first senior moderatorship in ethics and logic. In 1867 he was elected professor of oratory and English literature in Dublin University. Dowden’s first book, Shakespeare, his Mind and Art (1875), resulted from a revision of a course of lectures, and made him widely known as a critic: translations appeared in German and Russian; his Poems (1876) went into a second edition. His Shakespeare Primer (1877) was translated into Italian and German. In 1878 the Royal Irish Academy awarded him the Cunningham gold medal “for his literary writings, especially in the field of Shakespearian criticism.” Later works by him in this field included an edition of The Sonnets of William Shakespeare (1881), Passionate Pilgrim (1883), Introduction to Shakespeare (1893), Hamlet (1899), Romeo and Juliet (1900), Cymbeline (1903), and an article entitled “Shakespeare as a Man of Science” (in the National Review, July 1902), which criticized T.E. Webb’s Mystery of William Shakespeare. His critical essays “Studies in Literature” (1878), “Transcripts and Studies” (1888), “New Studies in Literature” (1895) showed a profound knowledge of the currents and tendencies of thought in various ages and countries; but his Life of Shelley (1886) made him best known to the public at large. In 1900 he edited an edition of Shelley’s works. Other books by him which indicate his interests in literature include: Robert Southey (in the “English Men of Letters” series, 1880), his edition of Southey’s Correspondence with Caroline Bowles (1881), and Select Poems of Southey (1895), his Correspondence of Sir Henry Taylor (1888), his edition of Wordsworth’s Poetical Works (1892) and of his Lyrical Ballads (1890), his French Revolution and English Literature (1897; lectures given at Princeton University in 1896), History of French Literature (1897), Puritan and Anglican (1900), Robert Browning (1904) and Michel de Montaigne (1905). His devotion to Goethe led to his succeeding Max Müller in 1888 as president of the English Goethe Society. In 1889 he gave the first annual Taylorian Lecture at the University of Oxford, and from 1892 to 1896 served as Clark lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge. To his research are due, among other matters of literary interest, the first account of Thomas Carlyle’s Lectures on periods of European culture; the identification of Shelley as the author of a review (in The Critical Review of December 1814) of a lost romance by James Hogg; a description of Shelley’s Philosophical View of Reform; a manuscript diary of Fabre d’Églantine; and a record by Dr Wilhelm Weissenborn of Goethe’s last days and death. He also discovered a Narrative of a Prisoner of War under Napoleon (published in Blackwood’s Magazine), an unknown pamphlet by Bishop Berkeley, some unpublished writings of William Hayley relating to Cowper, and a unique copy of the Tales of Terror. His wide interests and scholarly methods made his influence on criticism both sound and stimulating, and his own ideals are well described in his essay on The Interpretation of Literature in his Transcripts and Studies. As commissioner of education in Ireland (1896–1901), trustee of the National Library of Ireland, secretary of the Irish Liberal Union and vice-president of the Irish Unionist Alliance, he enforced his view that literature should not be divorced from practical life. His biographical/critical concepts, particularly in connection with Shakespeare, are played with by Stephen Dedalus in the library chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Leslie Fiedler was to play with them again in The Stranger in Shakespeare. Dowden married twice, first (1866) Mary Clerke, and secondly (1895) Elizabeth Dickinson West, daughter of the dean of St Patrick’s. His daughter by his first wife, Hester Dowden, was a well-known spiritualist medium. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Dowden
Rev. James Bernard Dollard ("Father Dollard") (1872–1946) was a Roman Catholic parish priest and noted poet. Life He was born at Mooncoin, County Kilkenny, Ireland, August 30, 1872, to Michael and Anastasia (Quinn) Dollard, the youngest son in a large family. After taking the course in Classics at Kilkenny College, he sailed in 1890 for New Brunswick, Canada. He graduated from the Grand Seminary of Montreal and received from Laval University the degrees of Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor of Canon Law. The same university conferred on him in 1916, the honorary degree of Litt.D. He was ordained to the priesthood in December 1896. He served as a curate in St. Helen’s Church, and St. Mary’s Church, Toronto, and for nine years, parish priest of Uptergrove, Ontario before he became the parish priest of St. Monica’s Church, North Toronto. He published two volumes of poems Irish Mist and Sunshine (1902) and Poems (1910), and a volume of short stories entitled The Gaels of Moondharrig. He sometimes wrote under the pseudonym of Sliav-na-mon. In a lecture on “The War and the Poets,” delivered in Toronto, 1916, Mr. Joyce Kilmer, poetry editor of the Literary Digest, declared that Father Dollard’s sonnet was the best poem that had appeared on the death of Rupert Brooke. He died in 1946. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_B._Dollard
Denis Florence MacCarthy (1817–1882) was an Irish poet, translator, and biographer, born in Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin. Life MacCarthy was born in Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin, on 26 May 1817, and educated there and at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He acquired an intimate knowledge of Spanish from a learned priest, who had spent much time in Spain, which he was later to turn to good advantage. In April 1834, before turning seventeen, MacCarthy contributed his first verses to the Dublin Satirist. He was one of a coterie of writers whose works appeared in the Nation, which had been started by Charles Gavan Duffy in 1842. Writing under the pseudonym “Desmond”, most of MacCarthy’s patriotic verse appeared in this organ. In 1846 he was called to the Irish bar, but never practised. In the same year he edited The Poets and Dramatists of Ireland, which he prefaced with an essay on the early history and religion of his countrymen. About this time he also edited The Book of Irish Ballads (by various authors), with an introductory essay on ballad poetry in general. His Ballads, Poems, and Lyrics, appeared in 1850, original and translated. His attention was first directed to Pedro Calderón de la Barca by a passage in one of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s essays, and from then on the interpretation of the “Spanish Shakespeare” claimed the greater part of his attention. The first volume of his translations, containing six plays, appeared in 1853, and was followed by further instalments in 1861, 1867, 1870, and 1873. His version of Daybreak in Capacabana was completed only a few months before his death. Until 1864 he resided principally on Killiney Hill, overlooking Dublin Bay. The delicate health of some members of his family then rendered a change of climate imperative, and he paid a prolonged visit to continental Europe. On his return MacCarthy settled in London, where he published– in addition to his translations– Shelley’s Early Life, which contains an account of that poet’s visit to Dublin in 1812. MacCarthy had already resettled in his native land of Ireland for some months, when he died on Good Friday, 1882 at Blackrock, Dublin. His poetical gifts were inherited by his daughter, who became a nun, and wrote as Sister Mary Stanislaus. His poems are distinguished by a sense of harmony and sympathy with natural beauty. Such poems as “The Bridal of the Year,” “Summer Longings” (alias “Waiting for the May”), and his long narrative poem, “The Voyage of St. Brendan,” are among his most enduring works. The last-mentioned, which paraphrases the “Ave Maria Stella” as the evening song of the sailors, is also marked by the earnest religious feeling which marked its author throughout life. But it is by his version of Calderon that he is considered to have won a permanent place in English letters. His success is sufficiently testified by George Ticknor, who declared in his History of Spanish Literature that MacCarthy "has succeeded in giving a faithful idea of what is grandest and most effective in [Calderon’s] genius... to a degree which I had previously thought impossible. Nothing, I think, in the English language will give us so true an impression of what is most characteristic of the Spanish drama, and of Spanish poetry generally.” Published works Below are lists of his published works, some of which are available on-line at Project Gutenberg (see Online works below). Poetry Poems Published in Dublin by M. H. Gill and Son in 1882 An extensive collection edited by the poet’s son. The Book of Irish Ballads Published in Dublin by James Duffy in 1846, revised in 1869. Ballads, Poems, and Lyrics, Original and Translated Published in Dublin by James McGlashan in 1850. The Bell-Founder, And Other Poems Published in London by David Bogue in 1857. Underglimpses, And Other Poems Published in London by David Bogue in 1857. Irish Legends And Lyrics Published in Dublin by McGlashan & Gill in 1858. Poems of Denis F. McCarthy [sic], with Life and Notes Published in Dublin and Cork by The Educational Company, Ltd., no date. Drama Dramas of Calderon, Tragic, Comic, and Legendary Published in London by Charles Dolman in 1853. Containing “The Constant Prince” ("El Principe Constante"), “The Secret in Words” ("El Secreto a Voces"), “The Physician of His own Honour” ("El Medico de Su Honra"), “Love after Death” ("Amar despues de la Muerte"), “The Purgatory of Saint Patrick” ("El Purgatorio de San Patricio"), and “The Scarf and the Flower” ("La Banda y la Flor"). Rebound with a foreword in 1886 for the Memorial Fund Committee. Love the Greatest Enchantment: The Sorceries of Sin: The Devotion of the Cross Published in London by Longtan, Green, Longman and Roberts in 1861. Containing (with original language texts) “El Mayor Encanto Amor, Los Encantos de la Culpa” (an “Auto Sacramental”), and “La Devocion de la Cruz.” Mysteries of Corpus Christi Published in Dublin by James Duffy in 1867. Containing “Balshazza’s Feast” ("La Cena de Balthasar") and “The Divine Philothea” ("La Divina Filotea"), two “Auto Sacramentales.” The Two Lovers of Heaven: Chrysanthus and Daria Published in Dublin by John F. Fowler in 1870. Containing Los dos amantes del cielo: Crisanto y Daria. Calderon’s Dramas Published in London by Henry S. King in 1873. Containing “Life is a Dream” ("La Vida es Sueño"), “The Wonder-Working Magician” ("El Magico Prodigioso"), and a new edition of “The Purgatory of St. Patrick” ("Purgatorio de San Patricio"). Daybreak at Capacabana (La Aurora en Copacabana) was completed shortly before the translator’s death. Biography The Poets and Dramatists of Ireland Published in Dublin by James Duffy in 1846. Shelley’s Early Life Published in London by John Camden Hotten in 1872. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Florence_MacCarthy