Padraic Colum

1881-1972 [prop. Pádraic; var. Patrick McCormac Colum; orig. Columb], b. 8 Dec., eldest son and first child of Patrick and Susan [McCormack] Columb, a school-teacher master of the Longford workhouse, who travelled to America for some years on losing his post in Longford, working in the Colorado gold-fields, 1887; the children raised in Co. Cavan, with their grandmother; father returned in 1891, when family moved to Sandycove nr. Dublin, where his father next worked as station master [asst. mgr.] at Glasthule/Sandycove railway station; Padraic ed. Glasthule National School (Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin); suffered the death of his mother, 1897; remained in Dublin with one brother while his father and the remaining children returned to Longford; finished school and gained employment by examination for post as a clerk in the Irish Railway Clearing House, Dublin, 1898-1904; sent part of early play, Broken Soil, to secretary of Inghindhe na hÉireann and hence introduced to the Fay brothers; published poetry in United Irishman from 1902; joined National Theatre Society; appeared in AE’s Deirdre (1902), as a pupil in The Hour Glass and as a cripple in The King’s Threshold, both by Yeats, 1903;
his play Broken Soil produced the National Theatre, 1903; another play, The Saxon Shillin’ [1903], had for a three-night’s run in May 1903 [var. 1902], and took the Cumann na nGael drama prize (later rejected by the Abbey in 1914 as anti-recruiting in tendency, causing the resignations of Arthur Griffith and Maud Gonne from the Irish Literary Theatre; received from Thomas H[ughes] Kelly, a wealthy American living in Dublin, a five-year scholarship equal to his clerk’s income [40 p.a.] to support him in his writing, 1904; altered his name to “Colum”; became a signatory of Abbey Theatre charter; his peasant realist plays The Land (1905) and The Fiddler’s House (1907), the earliest of the genre, set the trend for commercially successful Abbey drama; wrote to the papers in defence of his father’s riotous conduct at the premier of Synge’s Playboy, and refused Lady Gregory’s offer to pay the fine, 1907; disordley conduct his play Thomas Muskerry produced at the Abbey, Dublin, and in New York, 1910; also The Desert (1912); a new play, The Betrayal (Manchester 1913; Pittsburgh 1914);
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co-edited the Irish Review with Thomas MacDonagh, David Houston, Mary Catherine Gunning Maguire [“Molly” - later Mary Colum], et al.; taught occasionally at Patrick Pearse’s St. Enda’s College; m. Mary Maguire [q.v.], 1912; settled in Donnybrook, where the couple held Tuesday ‘evenings’ - and later in Howth village; issued A Boy in Eirinn (NY 1913, London 1915); joined in Irish Volunteers and received a rifle at St. Lawrence’s Hotel in the course of the Howth Gun-running; marched in the party that was fired on by British soldiers at Bachelor’s Walk, Dublin; emig. to America with his wife on expiry of Kelly’s scholarship, 1914; stayed with an aunt in Pittsburgh; settled in New Canann, Connecticut to live and write, excepting a three-year period in Paris and Nice during 1930-33; issued anthology of 1916 poets; issued Wild Earth (1916, rep. 1950), poetry collection; wrote children’s stories for NY Sunday Tribune and issued a collection as issued King of Ireland’s Son (1916); commissioned by Hawain Legislature to collect folklore, published in three vols. for schoolchildren; The Grasshopper, a play adapted from Count Keyserling, with F. E. Washburn-Freund (NY 1917);
issued Three Plays (1917) containing The Fiddler’s House, The Land, and Thomas Muskerry; issued the novels Castle Conquer (1923),a novel; supplied his opinion on the Irish Censorhip to M. Lyster, a contributor to the Irish Stateman (Oct. 1928 identifying the result with ‘resentment and mockery’ leading to ‘an anti-clerical movement’ in Ireland (Oct. 1928); wrote Balloon (Agunquit, Maine, 1929), a play; moved to France and lived in Paris and Nice, 1930-33 - re-establishing acquaintance with James Joyce in this period; moved back to New York, where he occupied a flat overlooking Central Park from his first arrival, teaching occasionally at Columbia University, 1939; wrote The Show-Booth, a play adapted from Alexander Blok (Dublin 1948); he divided his time after 1957 between New York, and Woods Hole, Massachusetts, staying with his sister at Edenvale Road, Ranelagh, during occasional visits to Dublin; subsisted mainly on royalties from his children’s books and his wife’s income as a teacher and critic;
issued a second novel, The Flying Swans (1957) and a revised edition of Three Plays (1963); also plays as The Challengers: Monasterboice, Glendalough, and Cloughoaghter (Dublin 1966); he made his final visit to Ireland for launch of the Figgis [2nd] edn. of The Flying Swans (1967), which he regarded as his most accomplished prose work; d. Enfield, Connecticut, 11 Jan. 1972; bur. in Ireland in St. Fintan’s Cemetery, Sutton, with Mary Colum; some of his MSS are held in Berg Collection (NYPL). NCBE JMC IF DIL DIW DIH OCEL KUN HAM OCIL FDA

Portrait sketches by Sean O’Sullivan

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  • The Children of Lir [and] Brian Boru (Irish Independent 1902).
  • The Kingdom of the Young [produced 1902] (United Irishman 1905).
  • The Foley’s and Eoghan’s Wife (United Irishman 1903).
  • The Saxon Shillin’ [Dublin 1903], in Robert Hogan and James Kilroy, eds., Lost Plays of the Irish Renaissance (California: Proscenium Press 1970).
  • Broken Soil [produced in Dublin 1903 and in London 1904], and Do. [rev. as] The Fiddler’s House [prod. in Dublin 1907 and in New York, 1941] (Dublin: Maunsel 1907, 1909).
  • The Land [prod. Dublin and in London 1905] (Dublin: Abbey Theatre 1905).
  • The Miracle of the Corn: A Miracle Play (Abbey Theatre, 22 May 1908; London 1911) [incl. in Studies, 1907; and in Dramatic Legends and Other Poems (NY: Macmillan 1922)].
  • Thomas Muskerry (Dublin: Maunsel 1910), rep. in Three Plays (1916).
  • The Desert (Dublin: Devereux 1912), rev. as Mogu the Wanderer, or the Desert: A Fantastic Comedy (Boston: Little, Brown 1917), and revived as Mogu of the Desert [Dublin 1931].
  • The Betrayal, in J. W. Marriott, ed., One-Act Plays of To-Day, 4 (London: Harrap 1928) and rep. in Selected Plays (1986).
  • Three Plays (Boston: Little, Brown 1916; Dublin & London: Maunsel 1917) [“The Fiddler’s House”, “The Land”, and “Thomas Muskerry”]; Do. [rev. edn.] (NY: Macmillan 1925), and Do. [2nd rev. edn.] (Dublin: Allen Figgis 1963).
  • Balloon (NY: Macmillan 1929).
  • Moytura, A Play for Dancers (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1963).
Collected plays,
  • Sanford Sternlight, ed., Selected Plays of Padraic Colum (NY: Syracuse UP 1986) [incl. The Land, The Betrayal, Glendalough, and Monasterboice].
  • Heather Ale (priv. 1907), poetry pamphlet.
  • Wild Earth and Other Poems (Dublin: Maunsel; NY: Holt 1916; rep. Dublin: Talbot Press 1950), 40pp.
  • The Way of the Cross: Devotions on the Progress of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the Judgement Hall to Calvary (Chicago 1926).
  • Creatures (NY: Macmillan 1927).
  • Old Pastures (NY: Macmillan 1930), 42pp.
  • Poems (NY & London: Macmillan 1932), 222pp.
  • The Story of Lowery Maen (NY: Macmillan 1937) [the same subject as Charlotte Brooke’s “Mäon”, founded on Keating].
  • Flower Pieces, New Poems (Dublin: Orwell 1938).
  • The Jackdaw (Dublin: Gayfield Press), [pamph.].
  • Ten Poems (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1957).
  • The Collected Poems of Padraic Colum (NY: Devin-Adair 1953).
  • The Vegetable Kingdom (Bloomington: Indiana UP 1954).
  • Ten Poems (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1957).
  • Garland Sunday: A Poem (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1958).
  • Irish Elegies: Memorabilia of Roger Casement, Thomas MacDonagh [ ... &c.] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1958), 32pp. [see details], and Do., [enl. edn.] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1961, 1966).
  • The Poet’s Circuits, Collected Poems of Ireland (London: OUP 1960).
  • Images of Departure (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1969), 35pp.; Selected Poems (Syracuse UP 1989).

Note: Colum contributed to New Songs: A Lyric Selection Made by George Russell (Dublin: Maunsel 1904) - contains P. McCormac Colm [sic].

  • Castle Conquer (London & NY: Macmillan 1923).
  • The Flying Swans (NY: Crown 1957), [6], 538pp., and Do. (Dublin: Allen Figgis 1967), 538pp., and Do. [trans. into German as] Ziehende Schwune [The Flying Swans] (Hamburg: Kroger 1960), 658pp.
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Fiction & Mythology
  • A Boy in Eirinn (NY: E. P. Dutton 1913; London: Dent 1915).
  • King of Ireland’s Son: An Irish Folktale (NY: Macmillan 1916; London: Harrap 1920; NY: Macmillan 1967), 275pp., ill. by Willy Pogany; Do. [rep. edn.] (London: Constable 1997).
  • The Boy Who Knew What the Birds Said (NY: Macmillan 1918).
  • The Adventures of Odysseus (NY: Macmillan 1918),
  • The Girl Who Sat by the Ashes (NY: Macmillan 1919).
  • The Boy Apprenticed to an Enchanter (NY: Macmillan 1920).
  • The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tales of Troy [styled 1st edn.] (London: Harrap 1920), ill. by Willy Pogany.
  • The Children of Odin (NY: Macmillan 1920; London: Harrap 1922).
  • The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived before Achilles (NY: Macmillan 1921).
  • At The Gateways of Day (New Haven, Conn: Yale UP 1924).
  • The Island of the Mighty (NY: Macmillan 1924), ill. Wilfred Jones.
  • The Peep-Show Man (NY: Macmillan 1924).
  • Six Who Were Left in a Shoe (London: Brentano 1924).
  • The Bright Islands (New Haven, Conn: Yale UP 1925).
  • The Forge in the Forest (NY: Macmillan 1925).
  • The Voyagers (NY: Macmillan 1925).
  • The Fountain of Youth (NY: Macmillan 1927).
  • Three Men: A Tale (London: Elkin Mathews & Marrot 1930).
  • Orpheus: Myths of the World, ill. by Boris Artzybasheff (NY & London: Macmillan MCMXXX [1930]), 327 [318pp. + Index], ded. Josephine Boardman Crane; and Do. [rep. edn.] (Edinburgh: Floris Books 1992) 359pp. [see extract].
  • The Big Tree of Bunlahy (NY & London: Macmillan 1933; London: Macmillan 1934) [stories].
  • The White Sparrow (NY: Macmillan 1933).
  • The Legend of Saint Columba (NY: Macmillan 1925; London: Sheed & Ward 1936), 156pp., ill. by E. MacKinstrey.
  • Legends of Hawaii (New Haven, Conn: Yale UP 1937).
  • The Story of Lowry Maen (NY & London: Macmillan 1937).
  • Where the Winds never Blew and the Cocks Never Crew (NY: Macmillan 1940).
  • The Frenzied Prince, Being the Heroic Stories of Ancient Ireland (Philadelphia: McKay 1943).
  • A Treasury of Irish Folklore (NY: Crown 1954) [see contents].
Collected & Selected Fiction
  • The Stones of Victory and Other Tales of Padraic Colum (NY: McGraw-Hill 1966).
  • Sanford Sternlicht, ed., Selected Short Stories (Syracuse UP 1985).
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Miscellaneous Prose
  • Studies (Dublin: Maunsel 1907) [incl. sketch & short play: ‘The Miracle of Corn’].
  • My Irish Year (London: Mills & Boon; NY: Pott 1912).
  • contrib. with others, Maurice Jay, ed., The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and Its Martyrs: Erin’s Tragic Easter (NY: Devin Adair 1916).
  • The Road Round Ireland (NY: Macmillan 1926).
  • Cross-Roads in Ireland (NY & London: Macmillan 1930).
  • Ella Young: An Appreciation (London & NY: Longmans 1931).
  • A Half Day’s Ride [or, Estates of Corsica] (NY: Macmillan 1932), essays.
  • with Mary Colum, Our Friend James Joyce (NY, Garden City: Doubleday 1958), 239pp., and Do. [2nd edn.] (London: Gollancz 1959) [see excerpt in Ulick O’Connor, ed., The Joyce We Knew (Cork: Mercier Press 1967), pp.63-91].
  • Arthur Griffith 1872-1922 (Dublin: Browne & Nolan 1959) , and Do., as Ourselves Alone!, The Story of Arthur Griffith and the Origin of the Irish Free State (NY: Crown 1959).
  • Story Telling, New and Old (NY: Macmillan 1961).

See also, “With James Joyce in Ireland”, in the New York Times (11 June 11 1922) [quoted in Gorman, James Joyce, 1924, as infra].

Prefaces & Editions
  • Introduction to Mary, Mary, by James Stephens (NY: Boni and Liveright 1912) - un this frame or new window.
  • Sel. & intro., Goldsmith (London: Herbert & Daniel; Chicago: Browne 1913; [1928]).
  • ed., Broad-sheet Ballads, Being a Collection of Irish Popular Songs (Dublin & London: Maunsel 1913; Baltimore: Remington 1914).
  • with Edward J O’Brien, ed., Poems of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Boston: Small Maynard 1916; rev. edn. 1916) [see details].
  • ed., Songs of the Irish Rebels and Specimens from an Irish Anthology (Dublin: Maunsel 1918).
  • Introduction, The Collegians [Gerald Griffin] (Dublin: Talbot [1918]) [see in RICORSO Library > Irish Classics > Criticism - in this frame or new window.
  • ed., Anthology of Irish Verse (NY: Boni & Liveright 1922), and Do. [rev. edn.] (NY: Liveright Publ. Corp. 1948), xiv, 425pp., and Do. [new edn.] (NY: Kilkenny Press [distrib. Crown Publishers] 1986), xiv., 429pp. [contents].
  • contrib. to Commemoration of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins ([] 1922).
  • Foreword to Joseph McGarrity, Celtic Moods and Memories (1942).
  • Preface to James Joyce, Anna Livia Plurabelle (1928), pp.vii-xix [contents].
  • Preface to E. R. Dodds, ed., Letters and Journals of Stephen MacKenna (London: Constable; NY: W. Morrow 1936), pp.xi-xvii.
  • intro., Austin Clarke, Collected Poems (London: Allen & Unwin 1936).
  • Introduction to James Joyce’s Exiles (London: Jonathan Cape, 1952; rep. 1973; Pandora 1991), pp.7-11.
  • with Margaret Freeman Cabell, Between Friends, Letters of James Branch Cabell and Others (NY: Harcourt Brace 1962).
  • ed., Poofs of Cold, Poems to Read Aloud (NY: Macmillan; London: Collier, Macmillan 1964).
  • contrib. to Ulick O’Connor, ed., The Joyce that We Knew (Cork: Mercier 1967), pp.63-91 [extract from Our Friend James Joyce, 1958].
Articles (Selected)
  • ‘Memories of Synge’, in Literary Review [of New York Evening Post] II (4 June 1921), pp.1-2.
  • ‘From a Work in Progress’ [of James Joyce], in New Republic, LXIV, 824 (17 Sept. 1930), pp.131-32 [rep. in Dublin Magazine, VI, No. 3, July-Sept. 1931, pp.33-37].
  • ‘A New Work by James Joyce - Once Again, in Finnegans Wake, He Explores New Fields’, review of Finnegans Wake, in New York Times (7 May 1939) [see copy].
  • ‘I Remember Joseph Campbell’, in Rann, 17 (Autumn 1952), pp.10-12.
  • ‘Working with Joyce ’, in The Irish Times (5 Oct. 1956), p.5 [rep. in Our Friend James Joyce, pp.156-61].
  • ‘Swift’s Poetry’, The Dublin Magazine [‘Swift Tercentenary Issue’] (Autumn/Winter 1967), pp.5-13; ‘Landlords’ Ireland’, in Éire-Ireland, 4, 1 (Spring 1969), pp.109-13.
  • ‘Life in a World of writers’, in A Paler Shade of Green, ed. Des Hickey & Gus Smith (London: Leslie Frewin 1972), pp.13-22 [transcript of recorded interview].
See also Padraic Colum, ‘Early Days of the Irish Theatre’, in Abbey Theatre: Interviews and Recollections, ed. E. H. Mikhail (London: Macmillan 1988), pp.59-71.
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Padraic Colum’s contributions the Dial during 1917-1929

[ The following list was supplied by Cathryn Setz via Facebook and Dropbox (21 Oct. 2014) ]

  • ‘The Imagists’, in Dial lxii: 736 (22 Feb. 1917), p.3-.
  • ‘The Celt and some Irishmen’, in Dial lxii: 742 (17 May 1917), p.435-.
  • ‘Jacinto Benavente’, in Dial [vol?]: 752 (25 Oct., 1917), p.393-.
  • ‘The swallows’, in Dial lxiv: 758 (17 January 1918), p.50-.
  • ‘New Plays and a New Theory’, in Dial lxiv: 763 (28 March 1918), p.295-.
  • ‘Folk Seers’, in Dial (Sept. 1920): 300-.
  • ‘Autumn’, in Dial (June 1921), p.626-.
  • ‘The Sad Sequel to Puss-in-Boots’, in Dial (July 1921), p.28-.
  • ‘Mr Yeats’ Selected Poems’, in Dial (Oct. 1921), p.464-.
  • ‘In a Far Land’, in Dial (Nov. 1921), p.550-.
  • ‘Irish Fairy Tales’, in Dial (Nov. 1921), p.601-.
  • ‘Half Enchantment’, in Dial (Dec. 1921), p.711-.
  • ‘Sea and Sardinia’, in Dial (Feb. 1922), p.193-.
  • ‘Memoirs of a Midget’, in Dial (April 1922), p.416-.
  • ‘Lady Gregory’s Plays’, in Dial (Nov. 1922), p.572-.
  • ‘The Lehua Trees’, in Dial (Dec. 1923), p.1-.
  • ‘The South Seas Again’, in Dial (January 1924), p.81-.
  • ‘A Note on Hawaiian Poetry’, in Dial (April 1924), p.336-.
  • ‘Three Hawaiian Poems: The Pigeons on the Beach’, in Dial (April 1924), p.340-.
  • ‘Desert Arabia’, in Dial (Oct. 1924), p.336-.
  • ‘Queen Gormlai’, in Dial (May 1925), p.391-.
  • ‘The Possessed’, in Dial (Feb. 1925), p.142-.
  • ‘Lost Fatherlands’, in Dial (Jan/Jun [?] 1926), p.61-.
  • ‘Asses’, in Dial (Sept. 1926), p.4-.
  • ‘Aqueducts’, stratagems, and shows. Dial (Dec. 1926), p.511-.
  • ‘The Herd’s House’, in Dial (Dec. 1926), p.471-.
  • ‘From Circus to Theatre’, in Dial (Feb. 1927), p.157-.
  • ‘Stendhal’, in Dial (June 1927), p.470-.
  • ‘A Showman’, in Dial (August 1927), p.156-.
  • ‘Camps and Museums’, in Dial (Sept. 1927), p.254-.
  • ‘Archaeologist as Historian’, in Dial (Dec. 1927), p.519-.
  • ‘Dublin Roads’, in Dial (Feb. 1928), p.122-.
  • ‘The River Episode from James Joyce’s Uncompleted Work’, in Dial (April 1928), p.318-.
  • ‘The Possessed Sea-Captain’, in Dial (June 1928), p.511-.
  • ‘Etched in Moonlight’, in Dial (July 1928), p.69-.
  • ‘From the Founding of the City’, in Dial (Nov. 1928), p.426-.
  • ‘Mr. Weston’s Good Wine’, in Dial (Oct. 1928), p.350-.
  • ‘Prologue to Balloon: a Comedy’, in Dial (Dec. 1928), p.490-.
  • ‘Cicero and the Rhetoricians’, in Dial (January 1929), p.52-.
  • ‘Spinoza and his Correspondents’, in Dial (Feb. 1929), p.142-.
  • ‘The Theatre’, in Dial (Feb. 1929), p.169-.
  • ‘Infinite Correspondences’, in Dial (March 1929), p.8-.
  • ‘The Theatre. Dial (April 1929), p.349-.
  • ‘Actualities and Potentialities’, in Dial (May 1929), p.428-.
  • ‘The Theatre’, in Dial (May 1929), p.440-.
  • ‘Studies in Personality’, in Dial (June 1929), p.4-.
  • ‘The Theatre’, in Dial (June 1929), p.531-.
  • ‘The Journey’, in Dial (June 1929), p.12-.

Padraic Colum’s The King of Ireland’s Son is available at Gutenberg Project - online.

Padraic Colum, ed., An Anthology of Irish Poetry (1922) is given in Bartleby Quotations - as attached, or online.

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Bibliographical details
Anthology of Irish Verse, ed. Padraic Colum (NY: Boni & Liveright 1922; rev. edn. 1948) contains 181 classic Irish poems. (See Contents - as attached; also, an extract from the Introduction, as infra.)

Poems of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, ed. by Padraic Colum & Edward J[oseph Harrington] O’Brien (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company 1916), xxiv, 60pp. [Intro. vii-xxiv; Notes, 58ff; ends with Yeats’s “Song of Red Hanrahan”, pp.56-57; see extracts.]

Poems of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood
ed. by Padraic Colum and Edward J[oseph Harrington] O’Brien
Contributors: Joseph Mary Plunkett, Padraig H. Pearse, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Sir Roger Casement
Published: 1916, Small, Maynard & Company (Boston)
Pagination: xxiv + 60 [Notes, 58ff.]
Available at Internet Archive

[ Copy held in Harvard College Library ]

A Treasury of Irish Folklore: The Stories, Traditions, Legends, Humours, Wisdom, Ballads and Songs of the Irish People, ed. with intro. by Patrick Colum, 2nd rev. edn. (NY: Crown Pub. 1967), 613pp, comprised of 9 parts: “The Irish Edge”; “Heroes of Old”; “Great Chiefs and Uncrowned Kings”; “Ireland Without Leaders”; “Ways and Traditions”; “Fireside Tales”; “The Face of the Land”; “Ballads and Songs”; “A Bit of the North” [sect. incls. John Hewitt’s “Once Alien Here”, poem with “Winter” by James Orr and collected by Hewitt in Rann (Winter 1950), p.6]; also num. biographical articles from The Gael, viz., Geraldine M. Haverty, “Lord Edward F.” (Sept. 1901), pp.293-296; Charles O’Hanlon, “John Philipot Curran,” Gael (Feb. 1900), pp.52-54; Douglas Hyde, “A Famous Mayo Poet [Raftery]”, in The Gael (April 1903), pp.115-16. Note that the Abbé Edgeworth is quoted at p.248. (See separate copy in RICORSO Bibliography > Anthologies via index or direct [sep. window].

Irish Elegies: Memorabilia of Roger Casement, Thomas MacDonagh, Kuno Meyer, John Butler Yeats, Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Thomas Hughes Kelly, Dudley Digges, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Monsignor Padraig de Brun, Seumas O’Sullivan / by Padraic Colum [Dolmen Chapbook, 9](Dublin: Dolmen Press 1958), 11, [1]pp. [24.5 cm.]; Do. [with 3 add. poems, viz., Allen, Larkin & O’Brien] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1961; 3rd edn. 1963), 19, [5]pp. [actually March 1962]; and Do. [4th edn.] (Dublin: Dolmen Press; [US distrib., Humanities Press] 1976), 32pp. [22cm]. A 2pp. “Prospectus” was issued in June 1958.

Anna Livia Plurabelle, by James Joyce with a Preface by Padraic Colum (1928), pp.vii-xix [prev. ‘River Episode from James Joyce’s Uncompleted Work’, in Diala, April 1928, pp.318-22; also printed in Our Friend James Joyce (1958), pp.139-43; extract in Robert Deming, ed., James Joyce: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1970) [Vol. 2], pp.388.

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  • Ernest A. Boyd, ‘Padraic Colum’ [in Chap. V: The Impulse Towards Folk Drama], The Contemporary Drama of Ireland (Boston: Little Brown 1917), pp.110-21.
  • Mary O’Malley & John Hewitt, eds., Threshold, 4, 2 [Padraic Colum Special Issue] (Autumn/Winter 1960), incl. ‘assessment of his place in Irish Letters’.
  • R. J. Loftus, Nationalism in Modern Anglo-Irish Poetry (Wisconsin 1964), pp.14-15 & Chap. 7, espec. pp.176-80 [Colum’s use of ballad tradition and Gaelic prosody].
  • Alan Denson, ‘Padraic Colum: An Appreciation, with a Check-list of Publications,’ in The Dublin Magazine, VI (Spring 1967), pp.50-67; Zack Bowen, ‘Padraic Colum and Irish Drama’, Éire-Ireland, 5, 4 (Winter 1970), pp.71-82.
  • Zack Bowen, Padraic Colum: A Biographical-Critical Introduction (Carbondale: S. Illinois UP; London: Feffer & Simons 1970).
  • Zack Bowen and Gordon Henderson, eds., ‘A Padraic Colum Number’, Journal of Irish Literature, 2, 1 (Jan. 1973) [with interview as infra].
  • Ann Murphy, ‘Appreciation: Padraic Colum, 1881-1972 - National Poet’, Éire-Ireland, 17, 4 (Winter 1982), pp.128-47.
  • Padraig Fiacc, ‘Remembering Padraic Colum’, Threshold, 37 (Winter 1986/87), pp.14-19.
  • Yancy Barton, ‘Padraic Colum’s The Children of Homer: A Myth Reborn’ and Nancy Huse, ‘Padraic Colum’s The Golden Fleece: The Lost Goddesses’, in Perry Nodelman, ed., Touchstones: Reflections on the Best in Children’s Literature (Indiana: Children’s Lit. Assoc. 1987) [q.pp.].
See also
  • Ellin Greene, ‘Literary Uses of Traditional Themes: From “Cinderella” to The Girl Who Sat by the Ashes and “The Glass Slipper”’, in Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 11 (Fall 1986), pp.128-32; Kay S. Diviney, ‘Padraic Colum’ in Bernice Schrank & William Demastes, ed., Irish Playwrights, 1880-1995: A Research and Production Sourcebook (CT: Greenwood Press 1997), pp.69-79.
  • Paul A. Doyle: ‘I was extremely disturbed by the six letters ridiculing Frank O’Connor and his review of Our Friend James Joyce, by Mary and Padraic Colum ....’] (New York Times, 12 Oct. 1958); also Israel Shrenker, ‘Colum at 90’ (New York Times, 8 Dec. 1971); ... &c. - all available at NY Times Archive [online].

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W. B. Yeats: Yeats once criticised the characters in Colum’s plays in ‘[they] were not the true folk. They are the peasant as he is being transformed by modern life. [...]’. Further, Yeats writes of his language: ‘[It is the speech of the people] who think in English, and ... shows the influence of the newspaper and the national schools.’ (Yeats, Explorations, Macmillan 1962, p.183; quoted in Loreto Todd, The Language of Irish Literature, Gill & Macmillan 1989, p. 168.)

W. B. Yeats wrote of Colum that ‘He has read a great deal, especially of dramatic literature, and is I think , a man of genius in the first dark gropings of thought.’ (Quoted in Sanford Sternlicht, ‘Padraic Colum’, in Alexander Gonzalez, ed., Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, NY: Greenwood 1998; see further below.)

John B. Yeats: ‘The Colums I see sometimes. I don’t know what the Devil he means by admiring the Germans. He does not really admire them, only tries to do so. Meantime the tide here aainst the Germans everywhere is setting in with greater and greater strength. It is like wathcing the first movement of heaped up snow in the Alps knowing that it will soon be an avalanche. More and more all eyes are turned to Roosevelt. [...]’ (Letter of 7 April, 1916; 317 W 29, NY; printed in Declan J. Foley, ed. & intro., The Only Art: Jack B. Yeats - Letters from his Father John Butler Yeats; Essays on Their Works, Dublin: Lilliput Press 2008, p.113.) Further: ‘Colum asked me to tea on Saturday’s and I had a good excuse, and so excaped - possibly again Kuno Meyer. Long ago I liked Kuno Meyer, but never sure of his strict honesty and veracity. He wants to be so agreeable to everyone [...] a man of that kind you never know. [... &c.]’ (31 May 1916; in idem. p.114.)

James Joyce: In his Pola Notebook, Joyce wrote: ‘That queer thing - genius.’, being ‘Æ’s [George Russell] term for Colum, which led Joyce to call Colum ‘the Messenger-boy genius’, reflecting his occupation in the Post Office. (See Kain & Scholes, The Workshop of Daedalus, [... &c.] Northwestern UP 1965, p.84.)

James Joyce - Joyce wrote to his brother Stanislaus: ‘I read in the D.M. under the heading “Riot in a Dublin theatre” that a “clerk” named Patrick Columb and someone else were put up at the Police Courts for disorderly conduct in the Abbey Theatre at a performance of Synge’s new play The Playboy of the Western World. [...] Columb must either have been forsaken by Kelly or have returned to his office since he is called a clerk.’ (Selected Letters, ed. Richard Ellmann, Faber 1975, p.143-44.) Note: Ellmann explains in a footnote that Joyce mistook the father of the writer for his son. [For a longer extract see under Joyce > Quotations - infra.]

Ernest Boyd regarded Colum and Seamus O’Sullivan [Starkey] as the ‘promising successors of Yeats’. (Ireland’s Literary Renaissance, NY: Knopf, 1922, pp.255-58).

Ernest A. Boyd, Ireland’s Literary Renaissance (Dublin: Maunsel 1916) - “Padraic Colum”

Wild Earth presents no analogies with anything written by his immediate predecessors. The young poet had neither Yeats’s passion for the music of verse, nor the mystic vision of A.E. Unlike his contemporaries he does not oscillate between the two, being as far removed from the one as the other. The impression conveyed by his work approximates rather to that Douglas Hyde’s Songs of Connacht. Not that Colum’s Catholicism ever becomes articulate, as in Hyde’s Religious Songs, or that he displays any of the dialectic energy of the Love Songs. His thought is as devoid of specific religious colour as his language is devoid of that Gaelic exuberance which Synge caught from the same sources as Hyde. What then, it may be asked, is left of the suggested resemblance between Wild Earth and Hyde’s translations. Very little, it must be confessed, that is tangible. There is, however, an undoubted kinship of spirit between the poet of the Midlands and the poets of the West in The Songs of Connacht.  Probably it is their common origin [265] which unites them. They all sing the same song of peasant life, the emotions they render, the scenes they describe, belong to an identical rural civilisation. Writing of the peasantry from the inside, while unspoiled by urban sophistications, Colum responded to the deeper race tradition which still survived from the days when the Connacht poets were similarly inspired. He has brought once more the peasant mind into Anglo-Irish poetry, which is thus renewed at the stream from which our national traditions have sprung, for it is the country people who still preserve the Gaelic element in Irish life, the beliefs, the legends and the usages which give us a national identity. So long as he continues to cherish those impressions of early life, so long as he retains his original imprint, Padraic Colum will contribute an essential part to the growth of the literature created by the Revival. Fortunately he has not lost that eagerness of mind peculiar to the imaginatively young. He still can view things with a certain fresh, all-consuming curiosity which lends a specially naive charm to his work. He is at his best when he is simple.

pp.261-65; here pp.259-60; see full copy in Library > “Critical Classics” - as attached.
See also comments under “Fiction and Narrative Prose” [Chap. XV]—

A fine gift for narrative prose was revealed by Padraic Colum in his volume of impressions, My Irish Year (1912), where he evokes with sympathetic charm a series of pictures of peasant life in the Irish Midlands. The author’s power of creating atmosphere, that intangible something which differentiates his plays from those of his contemporaries, is nowhere more remarkable than in this work. Much of My Irish Year might be classified as fiction, so skilfully has Colum blended the material elements of his narrative with the imaginative qualities of intuition and instinct. No mere observer, on the outside of Irish life, could have reproduced so wonderfully the soul of rural Ireland. Similarly, in a later volume of prose, A Boy in Eirinn (1913), he contrives to invest a somewhat matter-of-fact presentation of Irish life and character with a delicate suggestion of the poetry and romance of childhood. Padraic Colum is obviously qualified to undertake the novel for which the Revival has been waiting.

pp.387; see full copy in Library > “Critical Classics” - as attached.

John Hewitt, review-essay on The Poet’s Circuits (OUP [1960]), in Threshold, ed. Mary O’Malley & Hewitt, Vol. 4, No. 2 [Padraic Colum Special Issue] (Autumn/Winter 1960), calls it ‘the most acceptable book of verse by an Irish poet to have come out since the War ... it contains the bulk of Colum’s poems which have Irish subjects (pp.61-67.) Further: ‘For decades I have found, line after line, stanza after stanza, of Colum’s memorable, life-enhancing, and have therefore felt sure of their high quality.’ (op. cit., p.66). ]

D. E. S. Maxwell, A Critical History of Modern Irish Drama 1891-1980 1980 (Cambridge UP 1984; 1985), notes that ’[i]n its 1963 publication, Thomas Muskerry is quite extensively revised ... introduc[ing] a new character, it brings on stage another only mentioned in the 1907 [sic] text, and compresses the final scene’; ‘the changes ... do not improve the plays original statement of Muskerry’s decline and the back-biting small-town life which surrounds it.’ (Maxwell, op. cit., 1985, p.70.) Maxwell remarks of the playwright William Boyle that he ‘did not move, in phrases from a defence by Colum of Thomas Muskerry, into the “universal”, the “typically human”, from intimate knowledge of “his own locality”.’ (vening Telegraph, 20 May 1911; Maxwell, op. cit. p.72.)

Maurice Beja, James Joyce: A Literary Life (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1992), on Sylvia Beach’s contractual claims on Ulysses: ‘The next year, 1931, decisions about what she would be recompensed if another edition were published had to be faced: her demand turned out to be the immense sum, for the time, of $25,000. No one could deny, then or now, that she full deserved even such a high figure [...] nevertheless, no publisher could have agreed to such a demand, and matters stalled for a time. Finally Padraic Colum acted as intermediary, making periodic visits to Shakespeare and Company on Joyce’s behalf; one day he asked her what rights she had in Ulysses, and she mentioned that after all there was her contract. When he doubted its existence and she showed it to him, he at last blurted out the message that, she later said, “immediately floored me”: “You are standing in Joyce’s way!” As soon as he left, Beach telephoned Joyce and in cool anger told him that she would make “no further claims” on Ulysses. In fact, however, she did obtain royalties for some editions, and Joyce had also presented her, in gratitude, with the manuscript of Stephen Hero.’ (p.95.) Note that she sold Stephen Hero to Buffalo University, where it was edited by Theodore Spencer and published in 1944.

Seamus Deane, Short History of Irish Literature (1986), p.160 [re. Abbey], ‘blend of folk drama and basic Ibsen [established by Thomas Muskerry (1910) and plays by T. C. Murray (1910) and George Fitzmaurice (1907)]’.

David Cairns & Shaun Richards, Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism and Culture (Manchester UP 1988), remarks: ‘Colum’s The Saxon Shillin’ had been found too contentious by the Fay’s Irish national Dramatic Society because of its overt propagandising in which a family’s eviction is resisted by the son who, having once taken ‘the Saxon shilling’’ and joined the British Army comes to see that his loyalty is with the family in whose defence he dies. Produced by the children’s dramatic class of Inghinidhe na hÉireann in 1903, Colum’s basic theme of British authority and asserting Irish rights to land and property, even at the pain of individual loss [...]’ [76]

Sanford Sternlicht: ‘Unlike Yeats, Colum never groped deeply in thought. He was content to feel deeply about his country, his wife, his friends, and the poor, hardworking people of the rural Ireland of his youth.’ (Sternlicht, ‘Padraic Colum’, in Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, ed. Alexander Gonzalez, NY: Greenwood 1998, p.55.)

R. F. Foster, W . B. Yeats: A Life - I: “The Apprentice Mage” (OUP 1997) - of the Irish Literary Theatre: ‘Padraic Colum noted acidly that Reading Committee meetings were held in Gregory’s sitting-room at the Nassau Hotel [from the Royal Hibernian Hotel] because WBY [288] suggested it would be warmer; the centre of decision-making thus shifted to her sphere.’ (pp.288-89.)

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An Old Woman of the Roads

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house - house of my own -
Out of the wind’s and the rain's way.

Note possible inspiration in Alice Milligan [q.v.]: ‘[...] And I am praying to God on high, / And I am praying Him, night and day, / For a little house, a house of my own, / Out of the wind and the rain’s way.’ (Quoted in Benedict Kiely, Sing to the Bird, London: Methuen 1991, p.129.)

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She moved through the Fair”:

‘My young love said to me,
My mother won’t mind
And my father won’t slight you
For your lack of kind:
And she laid her hand on me -
And this did she say:
It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.

She went away from me,
And she moved through the fair;
And fondly I watched her
Move here and there.

And then she went homeward
with one star awake
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

The people are saying
That no two hearts were we,
But that one had a sorrow
That never was said:
And she smiled as she passed me
With her goods and her gear,
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.’

—Quoted in Frank Gallagher, Days of Fear (NY & London: Harper Bros. 1929]), 144-45. Note that Gallagher correctly identifies it as a poem by Colum whereas it is often mistaken for a traditional ballad. The song is sung by a young Republican prisoner during a hunger-strike concert in 1920. Gallagher writes:

‘Of all the weird airs! One of the Antrim ballads, I think’, and remarks after the singing is over: ‘Dead silence .. He stopped, and not one man clapped or cheered. .. Just dead silence. It sounded awful. Nobody has any hope ... That ends the concert.’ (op. cit., pp.144-45.)


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The Poor Girls Meditation

I am sitting here
Since the moon rose in the night,
Kindling a fire,
And striving to keep it alight;
The folk of the house are lying
In slumber deep;
The geese will be gabbling soon:
The whole of the land is asleep.

May I never leave this world
Until my ill-luck is gone;
Till I have cows and sheep,
And the lad that I love for my own;
I would not think it long,
The night I would lie at his breast,
And the daughters of spite, after that,
Might say the thing they liked best.

Love takes the place of hate,
If a girl have beauty at all:
On a bed that was narrow and high,
A three-month I lay by the wall:
When I bethought on the lad
That I left on the brow of the hill,
I wept from dark until dark,
And my cheeks have the tear-tracks still.

And, O young lad that I love,
I am no mark for your scorn;
All you can say of me is
Undowered I was born:
And if I’ve no fortune in hand,
Nor cattle and sheep of my own,
This I can say, O lad,
I am fitted to lie my lone!


Note: The poem is included in Patrick Crotty, ed., The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry (2010). Patricia Craig, reviewing same in The Independent [UK] (8 Oct. 2010), remarks that it is not, as implied therein, an autograph poem but in fact a close translation of the Irish original, ‘Tá me ’mo shuidhe o d’eirigh an ghealach areir’.

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Poor Scholar of the 1840s”: ‘And what to me is Gael or Gall? / Less than the Latin or the Greek / I teach these by the dim rush light / In smoky cabins night and week. / But what avail my teaching slight? / Years hence, in rustic speech, a phrase, / As in wild earth a Grecian vase!’ (Quoted in Benedict Kiely, Drink to the Bird, London: Methuen 1991, p.15; ee also Kiely’s remarks on MacDonagh and Colum’s decision about the name of the collection Wild Earth (idem.)

A Poor Scholar of the 1840s

My eyelids red and heavy are
With bending o’er the smould’ring peat.
I know the Aeneid now by heart,
My Virgil read in cold and heat,
In loneliness and hunger smart.
And I know Homer too, I ween,
As Munster poets know Ossian.

And I must walk this road that winds
‘twixt bog and bog, while east there lies
A city with its men and books,
With treasures open to the wise,
Heart-words from equals, comrade looks
Down here they have but tale and song,
They talk Repeal the whole night long.

“You teach Greek verbs and Latin nouns,”
The dreamer of Young Ireland said,
'You do not hear the muffled call,
The sword being forged, the far-off tread
Of hosts to meet as Gael and Gall
What good to us your wisdom-store,
Your Latin verse, your Grecian lore?'

And what to me is Gael or Gall?
Less than the Latin or the Greek
I teach these by the dim rush-light
In smoky cabins night and week.
But what avail my teaching slight?
Years hence, in rustic speech, a phrase,
As in wild earth a Grecian vase!

Bibl. note: Quoted [in part] in P. J. Dowling, The Hedge Schools of Ireland 1935; rep. 1968); cited in Tessa Maginess [QUB], ‘Hedging Hegemony: From  Salubrious Scriptorium to the Sunny Side of a Ditch’, supplied by the author, Feb. 2014; full text available at Poem Hunter - online; accessed 28.04.2022.

[Note that the poem’s title is playfully echoed in Seamus Heaney’s “A Settle-bed in the 1940s” - as attached. ]

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Poems of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, ed. & intro. by Padraic Colum (1916)

The years that brought maturity to the three poets who were foremost to sign, and foremost to take arms to assert, Ireland's Declaration of Independence, may come to be looked back on as signal days in Irish history. They were days of preparation. The youth of Nationalist Ireland had turned to a task — the task of learning — of learning first the Irish language, of learning then about Irish public affairs, and at the end of learning arms and about the handling of men.

The generation that became conscious twenty years ago turned with hope, faith and reverence to Gaelic Ireland. From the remnant of the Gaelicspeaking people they would learn what [vii] civilization their country was capable of attaining to. Those who regarded themselves as the historic Irish nation were then rediscovering their origins and their achievements : they were Celts; they were of the race of Brennus and Vercingetorix, of Cuchullain and Maeve, of Columbanus and Scotus Eirigena; they were of the breed of the warriors who had shaken all empires although they had founded none; of the race of the missionary saints, and of the lovers of learning who had made themselves the patrons and protectors of European culture. The Ireland they willed would not be an autonomous West Britain, but a resurgent Gaelic nationality. And their race-dream was as fantastic perhaps as the race-dream of any other reviving people. [...; p.viii.]

See full-text copy of Introduction - as attached.

Anthology of Irish Verse, ed. Colum (NY: Boni & Liveright 1922; rev. edn. 1948), Introduction:

‘It would not do, I considered, to arrange the poetry of Ireland according to chronological order. Irish poetry in English is too recent to permit of a number of initial excellencies. Then the racial distinction of Irish poetry in English - in Anglo-Irish poetry - was not an immediate achievement, and so the poetry that would be arranged chronologically would begin without the note of racial distinctiveness. And because so much of Irish poetry comes out of historical situation, because so much of it is based on national themes, the order that has a correspondence in personal emotion, would not be proper to it. The note that I would have it begin on, and the note that I would have recur through the anthology is the note of racial distinctiveness. [...] Anglo-Irish literature begins, as an English critic has observed, with Goldsmith and Sheridan humming some urban song as they stroll down an English laneway. That is, it begins chronologically in that way. At the time when Goldsmith and Sheridan might be supposed to be strolling down English laneways, Ireland, for all but a fraction of the people, was a Gaelic-speaking country with a poetry that had many centuries of cultivation. Afterwards English speech began to make its way through the country, and an English-speaking audience became important for Ireland. And then, at the end of the eighteenth century came Thomas Moore, a singer who knew little of the depth or intensity of the Gaelic consciousness, but who, through a fortunate association, was able to get into his songs a racial distinctiveness. [...]’

—See full-text version in RICORSO Library, “Critical Classics”, Anglo-Irish [as attached].

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On good poetry: ‘words as simple and as clear / As raindrops off the thatch.’ (The Poet’s Circuits: Collected Poems of Ireland, OUP 1960; quoted in Zack Bowen, Journal of Irish Literature II, 3, 1973, with remarks identifying the quality described with Colum’s own verse-manner .)

Joyce’s New Work [review of Finnegans Wake], in New York Times (7 May 1939), “Book Review”: ‘[...] Language, nothing less than the problem of conveying meaning through words, is the first term we have to discuss in connection with Finnegans Wake. Let us get away from the book for a moment and begin by saying that writing today - I mean what can be described as imaginative writing - is dissociated from the value-making word: that is, it is writing, passing from the brain through the hand to the paper without ever coming out on the lips to be words that a man would say in passion or merriment. I am not speaking now of magazine writing, but of the writing of authors of status - John Galsworthy, for instance. As I write this sentence I see the title of a moving picture before me: it is The Lone Ranger; I think that there is more verbal creation in these words than in chapters of Galsworthy’s. ‘Ranger’ is a real word, holding a sense of distance, suggesting mountains; ‘lone’ beside it makes the distance inner. There are great writers today who do not put us off with destitute words: Yeats’s ‘The dolphin-torn, the gong-tormented sea’ are value-making words. / The problem of the writer of today is to possess real words, not ectoplasmic words, and to know how to order them. They must move for him like pigeons in flight that make a shadow on the grass, not like corn popping. And so all serious writers of English today look to James Joyce, who has proved himself the most learned, the most subtle, the most thorough-going exponent of the value-making word. [...]’ (See full text in RICORSO Library, “Criticism / Major Authors” - James Joyce, infra.; and see also various comments in James Joyce, Commentary, infra.)

Life in the World of Writers’ [interview], in Hickey & Smith, eds., A Paler Shade of Green (1972), pp.13-22: ‘The most fruitful and exciting time in the Irish Dramatic Movement was before it became the Abbey Theatre. You must remembers that the Abbey Theatre was given to Yeats by Elizabeth Horniman, but she had a wrong idea of Ireland altogether. She thought the Gaelic League would murder her. I remember the opening ... with the production of Yeats’s On Baile’s Strand on 27th December 1904. The élite of Dublin was there, both nationalist and Unionist. But then came the withdrawal from the Abbey .... Yeats ... continued to create himself. One of the ways in which he achieved this was through the theatre .... He speaks of trying to find a more manly energy. He found that energy in the theatre; but it was a deliberate choice. Although not by nature a dramatist, he wrote the best dramatic verse since the Jacobeans, since Webster. I think Yeats was very sincere about Ireland. Later he adopted what might be termed the Ascendancy point of view. He admired the Ireland of Grattan and Berkeley and the great Anglo-Irish writers.’ (p.17).

Cont. (‘Life in the World of Writers’, 1972): ‘There was more of our traditional poetry in the peasant life of Synge’s plays than in the life of O’Casey’s Dublin workmen. O’Casey’s dialect never appeared to me to be real. It was Dublin speech, and I didn’t quite accept it. He was not really influence by what is called the Irish Movement. Writers like Yeats and Synge and myself were influenced by the ideas of the Movement - the language movement and so on, but O’Casey is the successor to Boucicault.’ (Hickey & Smith, op. cit., p.19).

‘Whereas Joyce came from a nationalistic family, I don’t think Beckett did. He did not have the same attachment to Ireland. It was not the same heartbreaking disruption on his part to leave the country as it was for Joyce. / The Beckett I knew in Paris was a very silent and I think a troubled man. He was misled about the withdrawl of The Drums of Father Ned from Dublin Theatre Festival 1958. This was a great misunderstanding on Beckett’s part. O’Casey had the curious idea that he was being accused of anti-clericalism and that the bishops and everybody here were against him. There were to be religious services to start the Festival: a Mass, a Church of Ireland service, even a Jewish service. It was all nonsense to start like that. The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin very properly decided he wouldn’t say the Mass. That was all there was too it. But it was blow up into an imaginary anti-O’Casey crusade led b the Archbishop and it was taken in New York that O’Casey was being persecuted. It wasn’t like that at all. But Beckett was misled by the news. He withdrew his mime plays and said he would not return to Dublin. [...] In breaking new ground, Godot is a work of genius, but I feel Beckett has reached a dead end and that his theatre cannot be developed further.’ (Hickey & Smith, op. cit., p.20).

Colum further speaks of plays ‘in the convention of the Japanese Noh theatre ... using Irish subjects’ and refers to the plays Moytura [on William Wilde]; Glendalough [on Parnell]; Monasterboice [on G. M. Hopkins]; Clogher [on Roger Casement] and Kilmore [on Bishop Bedell] (Hickey & Smith, op. cit., p.21).

Hiberno-English: ‘Yeats, Lady Gregory, Synge, and all were doing it, but the truth of the matter is that I was the only one of the lot that knew what the real country speech sounded like. I wouldn’t want to say a word against Synge’s language, which is exquisite, very fine, but has no more to do with how people actually spoke than Oscar Wilde’s dialogue in his comedies has to do with how people spoke in London drawing rooms in the eighteen-nineties.’ Further: ‘Anything I have written, whether in verse or narrative, goes back to my first literary discipline, the discipline of the theatre.’ (RTÉ interview; q. source.)

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The Orpheus Myths of the World (NY: Macmillan 1930)
The Significance of Mythology” - Celtic

Celtic mythology is known to us only in the fragments that have come down to us through Irish (Gaelic) and Welsh (Brythonic) romances. Of the mythology of the Continental Celts we know nothing: [xvi]

On the Continent the Celtic tribes came in contact with the rich and highly organised Graeco-Roman mythology, and discarded their own mythic romance. In the British Isles Celtic mythic romance escaped the destructive influence of Rome, was spared by Christianity, and served, almost down to the present day, as a backbone and rallying centre to the peasant lore about the fairies, which is substantially the old agricultural faith, preserved in rude and crude form, and partly reshaped by the fierce opposition or the insidious patronage of Christianity. Gaelic peasant lore only differs from that of other parts of Europe, because Gaeldom has preserved, in a romantic form, a portion of the pre-Christian mythology. Thanks to the fact that this mythology enters largely into the Arthurian romance, the literature of modern England has retained access to the fairy realm, and has been enabled to pluck in the old wonder- garden of unending joy fruits of imperishable beauty. Alfred Nutt, The Voyage of Bran, Vol 2, in the Grimm Library.

In Ireland a learned class who took pride in preserving the relics of the national past, wrote down histories and romances that contained mythological material. We have these histories and romances in documents of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Book of Leinster and the Book of the Dun Cow: the material on which they are based is of a much earlier period. In Wales a material less copious and more distorted, was, between 1080 and 1260, shaped into the romances that we know in the Mabinogion.

The Celts were known in the ancient world for their positive beliefs concerning the survival of the soul. They appear to have had a conception of a Happy Otherworld which was similar to that of the early Greeks:

Although from fifteen hundred to two thousand years separate the earliest recorded Greek and Irish utterances in a form, substantially speaking, yet extant, yet both stand on much the same stage of development, save that Ireland has preserved, with greater fulness and precision, a conception out of which Homeric Greece had already emerged. Examination of the mythologies due to other Aryan races, or rather, to prejudge nothing, to peoples speaking Aryan tongues equally with the Greeks and Irish, reveals the remarkable fact that Greeks and Irish alone have preserved the early stage of the Happy Other-world conception in any fulness. (Ibid.)

The Celtic religion appears to have been the worship of the Powers of Life and Increase: [xvii]

In Greece the Powers of Life and Increase, worshipped by the primilive agriculturists, are but one clement in the completed Hellenic Pantheon, and this has been subjected to so much change, to such enlargement and glorification, as to be well-nigh unrecognizable. In Ireland, to judge by extant native lexis, these powers must have constituted the predominant element of the Pantheon, and cannot have departed very widely from their primitive form. ... In the main that mythology had for its dramatis personae the agricultural Powers of Life and Increase, in the main it was made up of stories of which the ultimate essence and significance were agricultural. (Ibid.)

The same authority offers the following conclusions on the subject of Celtic mythology as it is revealed in the Irish romances:

The features common to Greek and Irish mythology belong to the earlier known stage of Aryan mythical evolution, and are not the result of influence exercised by the more upon the less advanced race. Survivals in Greece, they represent the high-water mark of Irish pre-Christian development; hence their greater consistency and vividness in Ireland. Fragmentary as they may be in form and distorted as it may be by its transmission through Christian hands, wc thus owe to Ireland the preservation of mythical conceptions and visions more archaic in substance if far later in record than the great mytholo- gies of Greece and Vedic India.

The Celtic stories given here deal mainly with adventures in the Happy Otherworld, in the Divine Land. The Voyage of Prince Bran is a typical story. Translated by Kuno Meyer, it is published with a comment by Alfred Nutt which is a study of Celtic mythology. The poems form the oldest part of the story; they date back to the eighth, or possibly to the seventh century. In the Divine Land to which Prince Bran voyages take place the events which lead up to the birth of Etain and afterwards to the death of King Conaire. This Divine Land is also the scene of Pwyll’s adventures in the Welsh story. Pwyll, Arawn, and Mathonwy were originally divinities in Celtic Britain: their stories are taken from the Welsh Mabinogion. (pp.xvi-xviii.)

[ Available at Internet Archive - online; accessed 14.02.2013 ]

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Stay on the land!: ‘Aren’t they foolish to be going away like that, Father, and we at the mouth of the good times? The men will be coming in soon, and you might say a few words ... you might say, “Stay on the land and you’ll be saved body and soul; you’ll be saved in the man and in the nation ...”. Do you ever think of the Irish nation that is waiting all this time to be born?’ (Cornelius, in The Land; cited in Shaun Richards, ‘Progressive Regression in Contemporary Irish Culture’, [Pt. 3 of] ‘The Triple Play of Irish History’, in Irish Review, Winter-Spring 1997, p.37.)

National freedom is a concept that varies in different countries and covers many different sentiments. For Irish people it means a reconquest. It is a reconquest by stages, each stage leaving an emotional deposit: survival as Irish through the outlawry of the Penal days, Catholic Emancipation, destruction of feudalism thorugh the agrarian struggle, the attainment of national consciousness through the Gaelic League and Sinn Féin ... The men and women of Dail Eireann, whether they voted or the Treaty or against it, had in their bones a history that [an Englishman] could never know: their grandfathers had heard for the first time in a hundred yards a bell ring from a Catholic place of worship.’ (Story of Arthur Griffith; quoted in Julian Moynahan, Anglo-Irish: The Literary Imagination of a Hypenated Culture, 1995, with comment: Colum ... cannot help sounding this note of native triumph ...’, p.10.)

The 1916 Leaders: ‘An Irishman knows well how those who met their deaths will be regarded. They shall be remembered for ever; they shall be speaking for ever; the people shall hear them for ever.’ (Introduction, Poems of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, Boston 1916; echoing Yeats’s Kathleen Ni Houlihan.)

W. B. Yeats: Colum wrote an obituary-cum-review of Yeats’s Autobiographies in Book Review (12 Feb. 1939), giving due acknowledgement to the Fay brothers’ role in the Irish National Theatre and summarising the question of Yeats’s Irishness in these terms: ‘[Yeats was] a Byzantine one, like el Greco, strayed into the western world, and expressing in our time that unaccountable affinity that the Ireland of the ninth and tenth century had for Byzantine civilisation.’ (Cited in Roy Foster, ‘When the Newspapers have forgotten me ...’, in Warwick Gould & Edna Longley, eds., Yeats Annual 12, London: Macmillan 1996; offprint supplied by author.)

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), gives bio-data: b. Longford, taught at St. Enda’s School; emig. to USA in 1914; lists Broken Soil (1903); The Land (1905), and Thomas Muskerry (1910), plays that established the realist pattern at the Abbey. Also Collected Poems (1932); employed to record Hawaiian legends, 1924, resulting in [At] The Gateways [of] the Day, 1924, and The Bright Island (1925); The Legend of St. Columba; The Story of Lowery Maen (1937), a narrative poem; also Ten Poems (1959); Our Friend James Joyce, with Mary Colum (1959); The Poet’s Circuits (1960); Wild Earth; Dramatic Legends, etc. Travel, criticism and biography incl. A Half Day’s Ride, Corsica (1932); Ourselves Alone, The Story of Arthur Griffith & the Origin of the Irish Free State (1959).

D. E. S. Maxwell, A Critical History of Modern Irish Drama 1891-1980 1980 (Cambridge UP 1984; 1985), lists Three Plays, The Land, The Fiddler’s House, Thomas Muskerry [performed 1907] (Dublin: Allen Figgis, 1963, rev. edn.); also The Land (Dublin: Maunsel 1905); The Fiddler’s House (1907); Thomas Muskerry (1910). Cites study by Zack Bowen as Padraic Colum (1970) and another in Journal of Irish Literature, 2 Jan. 1973 (Proscenium 1973). Note that chronology in the front pages of Maxwell (1985) gives 1910 as the date of Thomas Muskerry, and thus also the bibliography.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Literature (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, selects The Land [655-59]; The Poet’s Circuits [763-64]; “Across the Door”, “Cradle Song” [763], “Woman by the Hearth” [763-64], “Old Woman of the Roads”, “Poor Scholar” [764]; Wild Earth and Other Poems [764-65], “She Moved Through the Fair” [764-65], “Drover” [765], “I Shall not Die for Thee” [765]; 780; 781, 1012, 1026, 1219; 781, BIOG: five years as railway clerk in Dublin; scholarship; founded The Irish Review with Thomas MacDonagh and James Stephens; emigrated with Mary, 1914; three years in France, 1930-33; taught Columbia Univ.; d. Enfield, Connecticut. [Criticism as above.]

Alexander G. Gonzalez, ed., Short Stories form the Irish Renaissance, An Anthology (Whitston 1993), contains three of his stories including “Three Men”, a vinegary portrait of small town intellectual life.

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Library Catalogues
Berg Collection
of the New York Public Library holds ten book-titles by Colm together with c. 15 other papers incl. three typescript fragments of The Flying Swans, an essay on Carl Sandberg and a writing on Arthur Griffith (dated 21 Jan. 1950), all collected by W. T. Levy along with literary works of Robinson Jeffers, et al.

British Library holds Goldsmith, selected with intro. [1913, 1928]; ed. Griffin’s Collegians (1918); Adventures of Odysseus, and Tale of Troy (1920 [1st edn. recte 1918]); pref. to Joyce’s Anna Livia Plurabelle (1928); Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, intro. (1908); Gulliver’s Travels, ed. (1919); Songs and Poems of George Sigerson, with an introduction by Padraic Colum (Dublin: Duffy & Co. 1927), vi, 72pp.; The Big Tree, stories of my own countryside, ill. Jack B. Yeats (NY 1935); Broadsheet Ballads [being a Collection of Irish Popular Songs (Maunsel 1913); The Fiddler’s House (1907); Three Plays [contains Fiddler’s House, The Land, and Thomas Muskerry] (1917); The Land (1905); Half Day’s Ride, or Estates of [?recte in] Corsica (London 1932); Legend of St. Columba (1936); My Irish Year (Mills & Boon, London 1912); The Road Round Ireland (DIL NY 1926); Legends of Hawaii [include sel. from [At] The Gateway of the Day (New Haven. Conn., 1924), and The Bright Islands (New Haven 1925); A Boy in Eirinn ([1913] Oifig Díolta Foillseacáin Ríaltais, 1934). Note that the BL holds no copies of Balloon, Bearkeeper, or Grasshopper.

Belfast Central Library holds 12 titles, incl. Padraic Colum, Ziehende Schwune, roman [The Flying Swans] (Hamburg: Kroger 1960), 658pp.

Booksellers’ Catalogues
Whelan Books, No. 32 lists Half a Day’s Ride; or, Estates in [sic] Corsica [1st ed.] (Macmillan 1932); joint edition of The Land and The Fiddler’s House [n.d.] Cathach Books Catalogue, No. 12 (1996-97) lists also The Children of Odin (London 1922), ill. Willie Pogany; also The Fiddler’s House; A Play in Three Acts and The Hand: An Agrarian Comedy (Dublin: Maunsel 1909) [sic], fp. port. The Road Round Ireland (NY: Macmillan 1930), 492pp., ill. Three Geese Catalogue (1999) lists Irish Fairy Tales (1920), ill. Arthur Rackham; another edn. with ills. (1953).

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George [“Æ”] Russell (1) - letter to Sarah Purser of 5 March 1902: ‘[...] I have discovered a new Irish genius – his name is Columb [sic]: only just twenty, born an agricultural labourer’s son, laboured himself, came to Dublin two years ago and educated himself, writes astonishingly [39] well, poems and dramas with real originality. He has three or four more years at his back he will be a force and I believe a name - He is a rough jewel at present, but a real one. I prophecy about him.’ (Alan Denson, ed., Letters from AE, London: Abelard-Schuman 1961, pp.39-40.) [See also under Monk Gibbon, infra.]

W. B. Yeats called Padraic Colum ‘the one victim of [George] Russell’s misunderstanding of life that I rage over’. (Quoted in Frank Tuohy, Yeats: An Illustrated Biography, London: Macmillan 1976, p.135; (See further under Russell, Commentary - infra.)

James Joyce (1): Colum joined Joyce in George Robert’s office when the former was urging the publication of Dubliners and unhelpfully called “Encounter” - which he read on the spot - ‘a terrible story’. He also also posed a facetious question, asking were the stories were all about public houses. (See Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, 1965, p.340.)

James Joyce (2) - see Herbert Gorman, James Joyce: His First Forty Years [NY 1924] (London: Geoffrey Bles 1926): ‘[...] when we find Mr. James Joyce remarking to Yeats, “We have met too late; you are too old to be influenced by me,” [Note: ‘This statement and several of the following facts are taken from Padraic Colum’s excellent article ...], &c.’ (p.5; see further under Joyce, Commentary, Gorman, infra.)

James Joyce (3): In a notebook of 1904, Joyce entered a remark which he had heard in Dublin: ‘Miss Esposito, I never see a rose but I think of you’ (Herbert Gorman, James Joyce, NY 1939, p.135). Richard Ellmann identifies Colm as the author of the remark a footnote to Selected Letters of James Joyce (1975) - viz., the letter of 19 Aug. 1906 where Joyce wrote irreverently that W. B. Yeats ‘should hurry up and marry Lady Gregory - to kill talk’, and that ‘Colm ought to propose to his roselike Miss Esposito.’ (Ellmann, op. cit., 1975, p.9.)

Monk Gibbon: Gibbon writes of George Russell’s fostering of Irish poets: ‘James Joyce was one of his beneficiaries. But the three who meant most to him were Colum, Stephens and Starkey (Seumas O’Sullivan). “I have discovered a new Irish genius - Columb: only just twenty, born an agricultural labourer’s son [...; Gibbons lacunae; see George Russell’s original, as supra]. When he has three or four more years at his back he will be a force and I believe a name.” Three years later: “Colum’s poems rude as they are reveal a talent which I think one day Europe will recognise.” And, thirty years later, writing to Colum himself, “You are always kind. You are as good as you were when you were young, which is saying a great deal about anybody.” Almost another thirty years have passed since that was said, but to those of us who know Colum today the words are as true as ever.’ (Foreword to Letters from AE, ed. Alan Denson, London: Abelard Schuman 1961, p.ix.)

Note: Gibbon seems to imply by his preceeding paragraph that Joyce borrowed five pounds on a promise of returning it on the following day. See also Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (1959; 1965 edn.), quoting Russell: ‘Colum will be our our principal literary figure in ten years.’ (p.140.)

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A. N. Jeffares, W. B. Yeats: A New Biography (London: Hutchinson 1988), writes: ‘When Maud Gonne vetoed Lady Gregory play Twenty-Five, as encouraging emigration, Colum’s Saxon Shillin’ was rehearsed instead; but Willie Fay, who shared the desires of Yeats, Lady Gregory and Synge for a professionally run national theatre, revised it into a form more suitable for staging; this led to accusations that Far was trying to avoid upsetting Dublin Castle ... Colum withdrew his play and Lady Gregory revised hers.’ (p.136).

D. George Boyce, Nationalism in Ireland (London: Routledge 1982; new edn. 1991), comments on Colum’s connection with the tap-root of Irish rural sentiment and refers to the ‘Kickham/Colum school whose popularity and influence lay in its depicting a way of life that people wanted to regard as authentic and truthful’ and with which they felt ‘at home’ (p.253); includes reference to R. J. Loftus, Nationalism and Anglo-Irish Poetry (1964), Chap. 7.

Con Markievicz: ‘In 1906 she rented a cottage in Ballally in the Dublin Mts. and came across back numbers of The Peasant and Sinn Féin, left by the previous tenant, Padraic Colum [thus] her interest in her country’s struggle for freedom was first aroused.’ (See Harry Boylan, Dictionary of National Biography, Gill & Macmillan 1988 > ‘Con Markievicz’.)

Top of the pops: ‘Colum, that most Celticky-Twilighty of figures, lived to savour “Ride a White Swan” at number one in the Hit Parade - how up-to-date does Mr. Crotty want?’ (Patrick Ramsay, review of Patrick Crotty, Contemporary Irish Poetry, 1995; in Fortnight, Jan. 1996, p.33.)

Thomas F.? Thomas Hughes Kelly, given as Thomas F. Kelly, in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (1965 Edn., p.146.). Joyce walked 14 miles to Kelly’s home in Celbridge, Dec. 10, 1903, only to be refused admission by the porter, later receiving an apology by telegram though without offering anything on the grounds that he could not presently find £2,000 (as reported in ibid.).

Patrick Colum, father of Padraic, participated prominently in the so-called ‘Playboy Riot’ against Synge’s piece at the Abbey (The Playboy of the Western World, 1907), and charged with disorderly conduct and fined 40s. in a police court.

Francis Carlin, an Ulster regional poet and author of a memorable ballad on Count O’Hanlon, was discovered in New Yorker by Padraic and Mary Colum and found work in ‘the framework or firmament of Macey’s’ (see Benedict Kiely, Drink to the Bird, London: Methuen 1991, p.127.)

Portraits: there is a portrait of Colum by Robert Gregory in black crayon by, purchased by National Gallery of Ireland and held in Lady Gregory Collection [NGI]; also a pastel port. by Lily Williams [Abbey theatre]; and pencil drawing by John Butler Yeats [Abbey] and an oil portrait by John B. Yeats, 1903 (Sligo Library Collection). There is a portrait by Estelle Solomons 1921 (see Hilary Pyle, Estelle Solomons: Patriot Portraits, 1966).

Scheme: there is a letter from Charles J. Haughey to Sybil Le Brocquy referring to the making public of a scheme presumably for his welfare at the time of Colum’s illness in 30th July 1970. (See under Sybil Le Brocquy, Notes - Correspondence, infra.)

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