John Eglinton


Life
1868-1961 [pseud. William Kirkpatrick Magee]; b. Dublin, of Presbyterian family; ed. High School with W. B Yeats (whom he described as unusually well read with conscious literary ambition); grad. TCD; National Library, asst. librarian, 1895-1921; contrib. to controversy with Yeats, Russell, and Larminie in Dublin Daily Express, later printed as Literary Ideals in Ireland (1899), commencing with an Introduction by Eglinton in which he spoke of its having developed ‘a certain organic unity’, and including his own ‘What Should the Subjects of National Drama’ as the first piece; fnd. Dana with Fred Ryan, 1904; rejected Joyce’s article-essay “Portrait of the Artist” [1904], purportedly because he would not print what he could not understand - but possibly on account of sexual allusions;
 
editor of Dana, shortlived ‘magazine of independent thought’, with Frederick Ryan, 1904; appears as effete librarian in James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922); his Pebbles from a Brook, reviewed in in D. P. Moran’s Leader (April 1901) evoked Standish James O’Grady’s countercharge accusing Moran of sectarian descriptions of Protestants (‘sourfaces’); opposing self-conscious Irishness as a reference point in literary judgement and calls for a human literature in place of a national one in ‘The De-Davisisation of Irish Literature’ (United Irishman, 31 March 1902); Some Essays and Passages by John Eglinton (1905), selected by Yeats;
 
contrib. ‘Dublin Letters’ to The Dial, 1921-29; issued Irish Literary Portraits (1935), including two essays on the early and the later Joyce; edited letters of AE (1942); appears as ‘Contrairy John’ in George Moore’s Hail & Farewell; he was the subject of complementary remarks in Ernest Boyd’s Irish Literary Revival (1916); retired to England after the Treaty, 1923; was visited in Wales by Monk Gibbon; d. 9 May, Bournemouth. JMC DIB DIW DIL FDA OCIL

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Works
  • Two Essays on the Remnant (Dublin: Whaley 1894) [contents];
  • ed., Literary Ideals in Ireland [authored by Eglinton, W. B. Yeats, “AE” [George Russell], and William Larminie] (London: Unwin; Dublin: Daily Express 1899; facs. rep. NY: Lemma 1973) [contents];
  • Pebbles from a Brook (Kilkenny & Dublin: Standish O’Grady 1901) [contents];
  • W. B. Yeats, sel., Some Essays and Passages by John Eglinton (Dublin: Dun Emer 1905);
  • Bards and Saints ([1906] Folcroft Lib. rep. ed., 1975), 55pp. [contents];
  • Anglo-Irish Essays (Dublin: Talbot; London: T. Fisher Unwin 1917) [contents];
  • Irish Literary Portraits (London: Macmillan 1935), Do., rep. (NY: Freeport Books for Libraries 1967);
  • ed. George Moore, Letters to Edouard Dujardin (NY: Crosby Gaige 1929);
  • A Memoir of AE (London: Macmillan 1935);
  • ‘Yeats at the High School’, Erasmian, XXX (June 1939);
  • ed., Letters of George Moore, with an introduction by John Eglinton, To Whom They Were Written (Bournemouth: Sydenham [1942]);
  • Confidential, or, Take it Or Leave It (London: Fortune 1951), poems.

Also, ed. [with Fred Ryan], Dana: An Irish Magazine of Independent Thought, Vol. 1, May 1904-April 1905 (NY: Lemma Publishing Corp. 1970) [unabridged. facs.].

Note: Eglinton contrib. a “Dublin Letter” to The Dial, June 1922, admitting that he did not fully understand Ulysses (p.619-[22]).

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Bibliographical details
Two Essays On The Remnant (Dublin: Whaley MDCCCXCIV [1894]) [printed in London], 49pp., incl. ‘Vox Clamantis’, and ‘The Chosen People at Work’, ingenious fin-de-siecle essays on the refuge from the Aristotelian state into Idealism, departing with a measure of disaffection from contemporary material society, siding with the romantic poets (notably Whitman), assessing their shortcomings, and ending a compromise between spirit and reality. First sentence:‘It takes genius to be honest’; seq., ‘..I understood the absurdity of my own mood during those two dark years I spent in London, trying in vain to catch on as a citizen … the dreadful formula, Each to his own function!’ [On organised Christianity:] how could it survive any rude shock dealth to the social system [with which it so closely identifies its values]’? ‘[W]ould we not leap to the call of some truly magnanimous bard … the cause of Idealism, would we not follow whithersoever it should lead?’. Note also an extract from same, in Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (1904).

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Literary Ideals in Ireland (London: Unwin; Dublin: Daily Express 1899; facs. rep. NY: Lemma 1973); Introduction by Eglinton; piece by Yeats on ‘Poems and Stories of Miss Nora Hopper’; Yeats on ‘John Eglinton and Spiritual Art’ and ‘The Autumn of the Flesh’; Eglinton on ‘What Should be the Subjects of National Drama?’ [Intro.], and ‘Mr Yeats and Popular Poetry’, and ‘National Drama and Contemporary Life’; William Larminie on ‘Legends and Materials for Literature’; also AE, ‘Literary Ideals in Ireland’.

[Note that Lady Gregory later edited a collection entitled Ideals in Ireland in 1901 containing essays by AE. (“Nationality and imperialism”), D. P. Moran (“The Battle of Two Civilizations”, George Moore (“Literature and the Irish Language”), Douglas Hyde ( ”What Ireland is Asking For”), Hyde (“The Return of the Fenians”, Standish J. O’Grady (“The Great Enchantment”), W. B. Yeats (“The Literary Movement in Ireland”) - see under Gregory, infra.]

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Pebbles from a Brook (published at Kilkenny by Standish O’Grady at 32 Dawson Chambers Dublin MDCCCI). Contents: 1) ‘Knowledge’, 2) ‘Heroic Literature’, 3) ‘Apostolic Succession’, 4 ) ‘Saeculorum Nascitur Ordo’, 5) ‘Regenerate Patriotism’, 6) ‘The Three Qualities of Poetry’, 7) ‘Optimism and Pessimism’. (See extracts, infra.)

Bards and Saints, Tower Booklets No. 5 (Maunsel & Co, MCMVI): Contents: ‘Preface’; ‘A Neglected Monument of Irish Prose’ [i.e., “Bedell’s Bible”]; ‘Island of Saints’; ‘The De-Davisisation of Irish Literature; ‘The Best Irish Poem’ [i.e., Midnight Court]. (See extracts, infra.)

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Anglo-Irish Essays (Talbot/Unwin 1917), 129pp. contains reprinted essays (Island of Saints, ‘A Neglected Monument’, ‘The Grand Old Tongue’, ‘Irish Mythological Cycle’ [review of de Jubainville, trans. RI Best]; ‘The Philosophy of the Celtic Movement’ [from Ideas of Good and Evil, ed. WB Yeats (Bullen 1903)]; ‘St Patrick on the Stage’ [on James Shirley’s Irish play]; ‘Best Irish Poem’ [Merriman]; ‘Thomas Moore as Theologian’ [on Travels of an Irish Gentleman, 1833 and 2nd ed.]; ‘Irish Books’ [Carleton, RX, et al.]; ‘A Way of Understanding Nietzsche’; ‘Sincerity’ [Rousseau, et al.]; Reafforestation’ [cf. Bulmer Hobson]; and ‘A Cause’ [a Burkean essay against the fanaticism of in hoc signo, with Catholic Irish nationalism as the implied target]. (See extracts, infra.)

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Articles on Joyce (Ulysses): ‘Dublin Letter’, in Dial (6 June 1922), pp.619-22; ‘Irish Letter’, Dial, LXXXVI (May 1929), pp.417-20 [both rep. in Robert Deming, ed., James Joyce: The Critical Heritage, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1970 [Vol. 1], pp.271-72.] (See extracts, infra.)

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Criticism
  • ‘John Eglinton and Spiritual Art’, in The Daily Express [Dublin] (29 Oct. 1898), rep. in Literary Ideals in Ireland, 1899 [also in The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Vol. IX: Early Articles and Reviews Uncollected Articles and Reviews Written [...] 1886-1900, ed. by John P. Frayne and Madeleine Marchaterre (NY: Scribner 2004), q.pp.;
  • Ernest Boyd, ‘An Irish Essayist: John Eglinton’, in Appreciations and Depreciations: Irish Literary Studies (Dublin: Talbot Press; London: T. Fisher Unwin 1917) [q.pp.];
  • Mary E. Bryson, ‘“Our One Philosophical Critic”: John Eglinton’, in Eire-Ireland, 10, 2 (Summer 1975), pp.81-88;
  • Daniel Lenoski, ‘Yeats, Eglinton and Aestheticism’, in Eire-Ireland, 14, 4 (Winter 1979), pp.91-108;
  • Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis”’, in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982), pp.65-81;
  • Mary E. Bryson, ‘Dublin Letters: John Eglinton and The Dial, 1921-29’, in Eire-Ireland, 24, 4 (Winter 1994), pp.132-48;
  • Richard Kain, The Irish Periodical: An Untilled Field’, in Eire-Ireland, 7, 3 (Winter 1994), pp.93-99 [see also Kain, in Commentary, extract];
  • Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis” , in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982), pp.65-81 [extract].

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Commentary

The Envoy launched in Dec. 1949, the editors wrote that the Irish literary landscape lacked any objective critics other than ‘John Eglinton, the only critic of any stature which the Revival produced’, and in their view, this series was an attempt to ‘belatedly’ fill the gap. (Cited in Adrienne Leavy, feature on Envoy, in The Irish Times, 17 Aug. 2015.)


George Moore, Hail and Farewell [Salve, Vale]: Eglinton on Calderon/Shelley [Salve, p.210]; Eglinton, ‘dear little man … beautiful English’ [Salve, 210]; Eglington, ‘If at Home Rome we are set to persecute the Protestant … the terrible fate of exile may be mine’ [Salve, 342]; Eglinton, ‘there is something in human nature which escapes even your analysis’ [Vale, 114]; Eglinton on the success of AE Russell’s theosophical anthology; ‘The English have so completely lost all standard of poetic excellence that anyone can impose upon them.’ [Vale, 239]. Moore calls him “Contrairy John”, passim [e.g, Vale, 242]. Eglinton disputes with Yeats about the literary value of national legends in modern literature [Ave, c.95]; ‘Eglinton, dear little man … dry, determined, and all of a piece, valiant in his ideas and in his life, come straight down from the hard North into the soft Catholic Dublin atmosphere … [which] has intensified John Eglinton - boiled him down, as it were … the little round head and the square shoulders, and the hesitiating puzzled look that comes into his face … his contempt for our literary activities strengthens [Vale, 250].

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James Joyce (1): Eglinton appears in the “Scylla and Charbydis” chapter in the character of an effete bibliophile, ‘urbane … glittereyed … [with] ‘rufus skull’ and creaking shoes - a portrait conditioned by the fact that he had refused to publish the earliest version of A Portrait of the Artist in Dana (1904). Further references: 1] ‘Magee Mor Matthew, a rugged rough rugheaded kerne’ (Ulysses, Bodley Ed., pp.264; 265). 2] [JE on Shakespeare’s marriage]: ‘The world believes he made a mistake … and got out of it as quickly as he could.’ 3] ‘[A] standpoint different from that of the new Viennese school Mr Magee spoke of […]’. &c.

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James Joyce (2): Joyce submitted the manuscript of In rejecting his “Portrait” essay of 1904 to Eglinton and Ryan at Dana in Dec. 1903. According to his own account, Eglinton told Joyce: ‘I can’t print what I can’t understand.’ (Eglinton, Irish Literary Portraits, 1936, p.136; see Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, 1959, 1965, p.152.]

Vivian Mercier: Noting that Eglinton, in his capacity as editor of Dana, had rejected Joyce’s “Portrait” essay of 1904 on the basis that he [with Fred Ryan] would not publish what they could not understand, Vivian Mercier remarks: ‘Joyce’s essay was in fact no more cryptic than Eglinton’s maiden venture, Two Essays on the Remnant, and may have been modelled on it.’ (See Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis”, in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982, p.76.) [See further under Vivian Mercier, infra.]

James Joyce (3): A source for the phrase ‘saffron kilt’ in “Balkelly the Archdruid” in Finnegans Wake, Bk. IV (p.614) can be found in John Eglinton’s reference to the ‘saffron-coloured kilt’ of a writer of the Cervantes type whose appearance in Ireland he predicts in Anglo-Irish Essays (Dublin: Talbot Press 1917), pp.88-89 - as quoted in Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis” , in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982), p.78. See under ‘Finnegans Wake - First Draft’, in Joyce, Notes, supra.)

James Joyce (4): Joyce was the author of a limerick on Magee: ‘There once was a Celtic librarian / Whose essays were voted Spenserian, / His name is Magee / But it seems that to me / He’s a flavour that’ more Presbyterian.’ (See Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, 1965 Edn., p.123.)

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Stanislaus Joyce, Dublin Diary (2 Feb. 1904): "He has decided to turn the paper into a novel, and having come to that decision is jus as glad, he says, that it was rejected. The paper ... was rejected by the editors, Fred Ryan and W. Magee (“John Eglinton”) because of the sexual experiences narrated in it. Jim things theat they rejected it because it is all about himself, though they professed great admiration for the style of the paper. They always admire the style. Magee has an antipathy to Jim’s character, I think. Magee is a dwarfish, brown-clad fellow, with red-brown eyes like a ferret, who walks with his hands in his jacket pockets and [11] as stiffly as if his knees were roped up with sugauns. He is sub-librarian in Kidare Street, and I thin his mission to Ireland is to prove to his Protestant grand-aunts that unbelievers can be very moral and admire the Bible. He is interested in great thoughts and philosophy, whenver he can understand it.’ (Complete Dublin Diary, ed. George Healey [1962] Cornell UP 1971, pp.71-72.) Note further, ‘Jim calls “John Eglinton” “the horrible virgin”’ (ibid., p.14.) [See further under Stanislaus Joyce, infra.]

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Louis MacNeice, The Poetry of W. B. Yeats (1941), writing on the literary controversy in Dublin Daily Express (1899; rep. in Literary Ideals in Ireland, ed. John Eglinton, 1899]), quotes Eglinton: ‘The poet looks too much away from himself and from his age, does not feel the facts of life enough, but seeks in art to escape from them.’ To which Yeats responded: ‘I believe that the renewal of belief which is the great movement of our time will more and more liberate the arts from “their age” and from life, and leave them more and more free to lose themselves in beauty, and to busy themselves, like all the great poetry of the past and like religions of all times, with old “faiths, myths, dreams” the accumulated beauty of the age. I believe that all will more and more reject the opinion that poetry is a “criticism of life” and be more and more convinced that it is a revelation of hidden life, and that they may even come to think “painting, poetry, and music […] the only means of conversing with eternity left to man on earth”.’ Eglinton concludes by asserting the primary importance of the ‘normal human consciousness’. McNeice calls Eglinton a ‘lonely rationalist’. [84]. Note that McNeice quotes precisely the same extended passage at p.40 and adds his own remark on Yeats’s misuse - if not misunderstanding - of Matthew Arnold’s phrase, ‘the criticism of life’. [Cont.]

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Louis MacNeice (The Poetry of W. B. Yeats 1941) - cont: ‘AE next stepped in to say that Yeats, ‘in common with other literary men, is trying to enoble literature by making it religious rather than secular, by using his art for the revelation of another world rather than to depict this one’; the ensuing article is by William Larminie, who remarks that great poetry requires great animating ideas and that, in the absence of these, it relies excessively on form; on the question of religious poetry (as Yeats understands it), he says, ‘When however, we have agreed that transcendental faith or sentiment is a necessary condition for the health of the soul, we have by no means settled that the substance of art should be transcendentalism, pure and simple. We are living on the physical plane; we are embodied spirits, and we must accept the conditions’; Yeats follows with his article, The Autumn of the Flesh, which McNeice characterises as no argument, and grandiose flourish. [85]

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T. R. Henn, The Lonely Tower: Studies in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats (London: Methuen 1965, 1965): ‘[…] The ancient legends on which so much Yeatsian theory depended had even fewer roots in the Irish peasant memory than had the Mabinogion in the Welsh. After the first excitement of exploration the tensions were considerable. John Eglinton thought that [104] “these ancient legends obstinately refuse to be taken up out of their environment and be translated into the world of modern sympathies”: Jung and his archetypes were still unknown.’ (pp.104-05.)

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Richard Kain, Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce (Oklahoma UP 1962; Newton Abbot: David Charles 1972): ‘John Eglinton had opened the first discussion [in Literary Ideals in Ireland] by expressing doubts concerning the suitability of Irish legend for contemporary drama. He suggested that ancient myths “obstinately refuse to be taken up out of their own environment,” and that what is needed for a vital literature is simply a strong interest in and capacity for life. In reply, Yeats made an eloquent defense of poetic idealism. He predicted that the current “renewal of belief” would increasingly free the arts from practical concerns: “I believe that all men will more and more reject the opinion that “poetry is a criticism of life’ and be more and more [53] convinced that it is a revelation of a hidden life.” Indeed, the arts may eventually replace religion, becoming “the only means of conversing with eternity left to man on earth.” / Actually Eglinton was not far behind Yeats in his respect for the arts. He concluded with an assertion of the artist’s independence that seems to have appealed to Joyce, then a first-year student at the Royal University (now University College, Dublin). “In all ages,” Eglinton wrote, “poets and thinkers have owed far less to their countries than their countries have owed to them.” Joyce remembered the thought some fifteen years later. In Trieste, on the eve of World War I, he wrote the sixteenth chapter of Ulysses (one of the first to be put on paper). It is after midnight, and the weary poet Stephen Dedalus is bored by his garrulous companion Leopold Bloom. The disillusioned young man hears, “over his untasteable apology for a cup of coffee,” the tiresome words “patriotism,” and “work,” and “Ireland.” Stephen bewilders his well-meaning companion with his reply, “But I suspect […] that Ireland must be important because it belongs to me.” (pp.53-54; for longer extracts, see RICORSO, Library, “Critics”, infra.)

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Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis” , in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982): ‘In order to understand the respect with which Stephen treats John Eglinton throughout the episode - a respect that Joyce appears to share, despite Mulligan’s innuendoes - one has to look beyond 1904 to a book Eglinton published in 1917, Anglo-Irish Essays. Among the essays and reviews he then reprinted was “Irish Books”, first published in the Irish Review, 1911. Its chief burden [76] was that there were no Irish books, that the Revival or Renaissance or whatever one liked to call it was all shadow and no substance. In 1917 he added an apologetic postscript to this outburst of spleen [quotes]: “This was of course a sorry account of the ‘Irish Literary Renascence; the collected poems of Mr. Yeats “AE” [G. Russell] , and others, Synge’s plays, &c., will doubtless be called ‘books’ by generations of Irish readers. Mr. James Stephen’s lively and delectable vein had in 1911 only begun to flow, and Mr. James Joyce had not yet published his highly instructive studies in the life of those young men who have chiefly to be reckoned with nowadays in arranging or forecasting the future of Ireland. The anticipation in the final paragraph might seem to have had a partial fulfilment in Mr. George Moore’s Hail and Farewell. [ Anglo-Irish Essays, Dublin: Talbot Press 1917, p.89].” / The shadows of the dead young men who had fought in the Easter Rising of 1916 fall across this paragraph, but it must have given great pleasure to Joyce, who was not accustomed to such praise from his countrymen, very few of whom had yet bothered to read Dubliners or A Portrait; Eglinton seems to have read both. / Many readers of Ulysses may feel that even though Eglinton is paid the compliment of being equated with Socrates and treated as a foeman worthy of Stephen’s ‘dagger definitions’, he still receives pretty severe handling: the constant harping on his bachelorhood and Protestantism becomes especially tiresome. Nevertheless, Joyce has paid him a silent compliment that carries more weight than the overt ones: he has borrowed from him, as he did from A.E., but without making his creditor look ridiculous.’ (p.77; for full text, see RICORSO Library, Criticism / “Major Authors” - James Joyce, infra.)

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D. George Boyce, Nationalism in Ireland (London: Routledge 1982; 1991): ‘In the nineteenth century the Anglo-Irish struck out on yet another path in their quest for a place in Irish history and society when they became the leading figures in the making [394] of cultural nationalism, advocates of the idea of a liberal and pluralist Ireland which should encompass the “Gael”, the “Norman”, the “Dane”, and all the rest of the heterogeneous Irish people. This was not necessarily because they were more enlightened than the bulk of their fellow countrymen … it was because they sought a role in Ireland, one which would guarantee them not only security, but leadership of a Catholic nation - even of a Catholic democratic nation. / This mentality was brilliantly, if arrogantly, expressed by John Eglinton in his collection of Anglo-Irish Essays, published in 1917 and taken from what he himself described as “various defunct Irish magazines and newspapers and from a booklet of which the remaining copies contributed their little flame to the conflagrations in Dublin during Easter Week of 1916”. Eglinton wanted to remind what he called “Irish Ireland” that the “Anglo-Irishman” was still there - but altered. “More than a hundred years, in which he has assisted at the progress of democratic ideals in Ireland, have taught him tolerance, have infected his Protestant eudaemonism with a melancholy scepticism, have mitigated his unsuspecting selfishness and caused him many misgivings as he conned the records of the past, and have bound him by new and inextricable ties to the ancient population of this island.”’ [Cont.]

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D. George Boyce (Nationalism in Ireland, London: Routledge 1991 Edn.) - cont.: ‘This process had “improved him out of all recognition as the descendant of the old rollicking Irishman of the eighteenth century”; the Anglo-Irishman accepted “as a good European the connection with Great Britain and yet feels himself to be far more distinct from the Anglo-Saxon than he is from the mere Irishman”. / The Anglo-Irishman, then, was a cosmopolitan; yet he had “made a present to the Mere Irish of the stand which we made for our liberties in the eighteenth century”. Moreover, he had contributed to the intellectual life of Ireland “by never pressing to a conclusion the Protestant and Roman Catholic controversy”; “we live amicably together, those of us who are Catholics being as little capable of starting an Inquisition as our Protestants of starting a Salvation Army”. To this “race” destiny entrusted “the task of unifying and governing Ireland as clearly as to the Anglo-Norman race it committed the task of unifying and governing England”. But this task had been frustrated by the “premature introduction of democratic ideals into Ireland at the time of the French Revolution”, and the country’s “natural rulers” had to look on while “England made what bargain she could with the subject race”. And so the “modern Irishman” [395] was deprived of his rightful position as leader of the “Celtic nationality” when it “woke up into the democratic era”. The Anglo-Irish, deprived of their right to rule, helped England govern her colonies; but there were not enough posts to go round. Pitt made one of England’s bitterest enemies when he neglected to answer a request for an appointment from Wolfe Tone. Under these conditions “we often, in fact, became bad citizens”: / ‘our sons and daughters chafe at our provincial atmosphere, amaze us by their petulant outbreaks, and set up as rebels … Wherever there has been any ferment of revolutionary ideas … it will usually be found that one of us has been mixing himself with action lest he should wither by despair.’” / Eglinton’s analysis must not of course be taken at its face vale; but it contained important grains of truth, for it mad the point that a minority - social, political and intellectual - played an important part in the making of Irish national, and nationalist, identity. (pp.395-96.)

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David Cairns & Shaun Richards, Writing Ireland, colonialism, nationalism and culture (Manchester 1988), [Among] increasingly well-directed critiques of his cultural politics … a debate with AE (George Russell) and John Eglinton in the Dublin Daily Express in late summer 1898, forced Yeats to confront practical implications of his demand for a literature that would like with patriotism. Eglinton recognised in his article ‘What should be the Subject of a National Drama?’ that the choice of subject-matter ‘might serve as a test of what nationality really amounts to in Ireland.’ He asked if anything better than belle-lettres was likely to be produced from the determined pre-occupation with the past in preference to the realities of the present, and answered in the negative, ‘Ireland must exchange the patriotism which looks back for the patriotism which looks forward … In short, we need to realise in Ireland that a national drama or literature must spring from a native interest in life and its problems and a strong capacity for life among the people.’ (Literary Ideals, 1899; rep. Lemma 1973, pp.9, 12, 13.) In response to Yeats’s answer that it was by looking at the past that the poet serves the present, making Ireland ‘a holy land to her own people’, Eglinton wrote, ‘The poet looks too much away from himself and his age, does not feel the facts of life enough, but seeks in art an escape from them. Consequently, the art he achieves cannot be the expression of the age and himself - cannot be representative or national’ (p.27).

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Norman Vance, Irish Literature, A Social History (Basil Blackwell 1990), pp.9-10, ‘resenting a Celticism which devalued the non-Celtic cultural past of Ireland, objected to the limiting criterion of nationally self-conscious Irishness as a mark of worthwhile Irish literature’; and deplored Yeats partisan disdain for the cosmopolitan Anglo-Irish intellectual and cultural achievement embodied by TCD; saw himself as ‘Modern Irishman’ and also as ‘a good European’. (‘Irish Letter’, in The Dial, 82, May 1927, 407f.)

Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks (London: Faber [1948; rev. 1960]: Magee’s pseudonym “John Eglinton”, is explicable in terms of increased euphone or of a necessary reaction by a man of wide culture against the provincialism implied in the Irish name.’ (p.76.)

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A. N. Jeffares, W. B. Yeats, A New Biography (London: Macmillan 1988), gives an account of the Daily Express controversy, in which Yeats developed ideas later expressed in Lady Gregory’s collection Ideals in Ireland (1901), remarking that afterwards [Yeats] began to use the word ‘Irish’ instead of ‘Celtic’ (Jeffares, op. cit., 1988, pp.119-20.)

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Stephen Watts, Joyce, O’Casey, and the Popular Irish Theater (Syracuse UP 1991), Watts refers to Eglinton-Yeats dialogue in the Daily Express, in which Eglinton anticipates an argument later used by Stephen about art confronting rather than escaping reality. Eglinton wrote, The poet ‘who looks too much away from himself and his age does not feel the facts of life enough, but seeks in art an escape from them.’ (Literary Ideals in Ireland, John Eglinton, WB Yeats, AE, and William Larminie (London & Dublin: Unwin/Daily Express 1899). Note that this text is quoted substantially by Louis MacNeice in his Poetry of W. B. Yeats [p.13 & ftn.] while the dialogue is cited in Cairns & Richards, Writing Ireland, 1988, pp.66, 120.)

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Declan Kiberd, ‘Nationality or Cosmopolitanism?’, in Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation (Cape 1995), espec. pp.156ff; remarks that Eglinton misunderstood deanglicisation when he argued that ‘there was something lacking in a mental and spiritual attitude so uncompromisingly negative’ (in ‘A Word for Anglo-Irish Literature’, United Irishman, 22 March 1902; Kiberd, p.157); further, ‘Eglinton badly misunderestimated the European dimension of Gaelic culture … moreover Eglinton seemd to have forgotten Mazzini’s dictum that a people must become a nation before it can attend to humanity’ (p.158); quotes, ‘A “thought movement” rather than a “language movement” could provide a surer basis for a true Irish identity.’ (Bards and Saints, Dublin 1906, p.11); Kiberd remarks that Eglinton misunderstood de-Anglicization when he argued that “there was something lacking in a mental and spiritual attitude so uncompromisingly negative”’. (John Eglinton, ‘A Word for Anglo-Irish Literature’, United Irishman, 22 March 1902); Further, Eglinton reminded the League that “it was among the lost sheep of the house of Israel - amongst those who had lost the use of the Hebrew tongue - that the Jewish Messiah appeared” (Eglinton, Bards and Saints, p.157-58); quotes Eglinton, ‘Literature must be free as the elements; if that is to be cosmpopolitan, it must be cosmopolitan … and I shoud like to see the day of what might be called .. the de-Davisisation of Irish national literature, what is to say, the getting rid of the notion that in Ireland a writer is to think first and foremost of interpreting the nationality of his country, and not simply of the burden he is to deliver.’ (United Irishman, 31 March 1902; Kiberd, p.158.) [Cont.]

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Declan Kiberd (‘Nationality or Cosmopolitanism?’, 1995) - cont.: Further quotes Eglinton on the Irish-language policy of the literary revival, ‘All the great literatures have seemed in retrospect to have risen like emanations form the life of a whole people, which has shared in a general exaltation: and this was not the case in Ireland. How could a literary movement be in any sense national when the whole interest of the nation lay in extirpating the conditions which produced it?’ (Irish Literary Portraits, p.26; Kiberd, p.159), to which ‘wonderfully dialectical’ critique, Kiberd rejoins: ‘Yet, somewhere along the line of his argument, Elginton aborted the incipient dialectic: he failed to note that element in Irish nationalism which willed its own supersession by humanism not unlike his, and he failed to recognise the genuine achievements of nationalism, albeit in somewhat outmoded forms.’ (p.159); ‘Ireland will have to make up its mind that it is no longer the old Gaelic nation of the fifth or twelfth, or even of the eighteenth century, but one which has been in the making every since these islands were drawn into the community of nations by the Normans.’ (United Irishman, 8 February 1902), with comment: ‘There is no recognition there of the European scope of Irish monasticism … however, the marvellous euphemism for the Norman invasion tells all - what others might see as cultural conquest, Eglinton welcomes as a happy cosmopolitanism’, and goes on to compare this ‘use of the word’ [presumably ‘cosmopolitanism’] with Lord Cromer’s in an Egypt context, to derogatory effect on Eglinton; Kiberd, p.159). Note, Kiberd also cites Eglinton as holding the view that ‘the revivalists […] respond by making the peasant an embodiment of sacred values which the peasant himself would neer claim to uphold, converting him into a fetish of unsatisfiable desire.’ (Vide ftn.:‘This was the allegation made by John Eglinton against revivalist representations of the western peasant’; Inventing Ireland, p.336; no ref.).

Declan Kiberd, ‘Introduction’, Ulysses (Penguin Edn. 1992), pp.lxxiii-iv, quotes Eglinton’s rhetorical question as to ‘how a pastoral movement could be in any sense “national”, since the interest of the whole nation lay in extirpating the conditions which produced it’, and remarks: ‘That question was a shrewd recognition of the poverty of tradition in Ireland (other than the tradition of subverting all attempts to impose one).’

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Quotations

‘How could a literary movement be in any sense national when the whole interest of the nation lay in extirpating the conditions which produced it?’ (Irish Literary Portraits, 1935; quoted in Stephen Gwynn, Irish Literature and Drama, 1936, p.201.)
 
‘[When Joyce] decided to scrap the scholastic habiliments of his mind, the poor disguise of a seedy snobbishness … a thousand unexpected fallacies were liberated in his soul.’ (Ibid., p.144.)

Pebbles from a Brook (MDCCCI [1881]), incls. phrases: ‘transitional age … ’ [7]; ‘… steady tendency towards independence from all authority and commerce with the naked fact’ [12]; ‘… protagonists of humanity [are] those who follow an inward conviction.’ [19].

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Bards and Saints (1906), takes issue with cultural nationalism: ‘The ancient language of the Celt is no longer the language of Irish nationality. And in fact it never was. [7] … with the sudden emergence of almost unsuspected Irish nationality in the time of O’Connell, the claim to nationhood died out among the Anglo-Irish. The solid word “nation” gave place to the flimsy and doctrinaire word “nationalism”.’ Ireland in tres partibus, 1) Anglo-Irish, 2) Scotch-Irish, and 3) a peasant hinterland [a source attributed for this phrase]. ‘Presbyterian Ulster being the only part of Ireland which really knows its own mind - hardly any longer keeps up the pretence of forming portion of an ideal Irish nation’ [8]. ‘The cry of nationalism, in the traditional sense of the word, has now, it is to be feared, a belated sound. The day of nations - those imposing entities the reports of whose doings cast a glamour over the daily papers […] is passing away’ [11]. Eglinton attacks the notion of an original Irish nation sustained by a high-level culture: ‘Columkille suggested to Ard Righ Aodh Mc Ainmire that impudent tribe of bards be dispensed with by turning them into schoolmasters [16] … Settlement of Drum Ketta.’ ‘[T]he cause of nationality became and has remained to this day, in the main, the cause of pre-Lutheran ecclesiasticism’ [29]. ‘Few Irishmen will admit that Ireland would have been made a more interesting and agreeable country by an evangelical movement which would have introduced Bedell’s Bible in every cottage; but it was probably at the cost of her ancient language, as well as some other things, that Ireland kept her religious tradition unbroken.’ [22] [Cont.]

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Bards and Saints (1906) - cont.: “Island of Saints”, [chap.]: ‘Except in Ireland, and one or two other countries where religion and politics insist on confusedly adopting one another’s terms, the question of personal belief has generally come to be recognised as a very much deeper one than whether we are Protestant or Catholic or Christian or infidel. Our real beliefs belong to the subconscious part of our nature, and surprise, and perhaps horrify, ourselves as much as they would anyone else when they emerge / Modern Ireland remains a Catholic country, more strictly than France or Spain, chiefly, we must hold, because its religious consciousness in modern times has never really been awakened.’ [25-6]. ‘The immense number of these saints excites our suspicion almost as much as the number of bards raises one’s doubts as to the existence among them of any genuine poet. Any rogue who had submitted his head to a tonsure, who fasted, and who could repeat the Psalter, was ipso facto a saint.’ Cites the fact that Adamnan retained a monk to tell lies for him. ‘The unregenerate character of Irish saints struck Giraldus Cambrensis who wrote […] that “the saints of this country appear to have been a vindictive character”.’ (For remarks on Thomas Davis, see under Davis, supra.) [Cont.]

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Bards and Saints (1906) - cont.: ‘When Anglo-Irish Literature has brought us so far as the literary integrity and hearty directness of John Mitchel, it seems a pity if the “Language Movement” is to transport literature in this country back again to that point where the good Davis left it, to that region … in which the Irishman has to speak in his national rather than his private character.’ [for further remarks on John Mitchel, q.v.]. ‘The Best Irish Poem’, ‘‘But for the penal regulations, Ireland would have been, at the time of O’Connell, as much an English-speaking country as Scotland. The modern Gaelic movement is in direct line of descent from the battle of the Boyne, which threw the Gaelic world back on itself, and arrested that disintegration of the old language which was already far advanced.’ Eglinton offers a paraphrase of Merriman’s poem and addresses the question of the celibate priest, referring hopefully to the ‘awakening in Ireland by means of general culture of the historic sense [i.e., the sense of changing institutions under the impact of changing needs] [45-49, and see Merriman RX]. [Note that Belfast Central Library holds a copy with the inscription ‘To A. R. Orage, Esq., from the author, June 13 1913.]

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Anglo-Irish Essay (1917) - I: ‘The Grand Old Tongue’: ‘While his European contemporaries have lived and grown to what they are amid the stress of epoch-making ideas and movements, having enjoyed ceaseless intercourse with one another, been partners in the same enterprises, and made common sense cause against foes of intellectual and spiritual liberty, he fell, at the very dawn of what we call the modern movement, out of any share in the titanic struggle of new ideas, and living out his life in solitude and far from towns, with all their iniquities and revolutions, indulged his dreamy inclinations, sharing the kindly life of simple peasants.’ (p.31; quoted in Philip O’Leary, The Prose Literature of the Gaelic Revival, 1881-1921 - Ideology and Innovation, Penn. State UP 1994, p.50.

O’Leary adds in a footnote that the Irish-language reviewer of Eglinton’s book found him ‘incapable of writing objectively about the language since his mind was under the control of ... that disease he himself calls “Anglo-Irishism”’. [Tá a aigne fé smacht ag an mbuntuairim sin .i. an galar úd ar a dtugann sé féin "GallEireannachas”]’ (ACS, 17 Dec. 1917, p.2-4; quoted in O’Leary, idem., ftn.107.)

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Anglo-Irish Essay (1917) - II: ‘[W]e have a fancy that appearances in modern Ireland point to a writer of the type of Cervantes rather than to an idealising poet or romance writer. A hero as loveable as the great Knight of the Rueful Countenance might be conceived, who in some back street of Dublin had addled his brains with brooding over Ireland’s wrongs. … We can conceive him issuing forth, fresh-hearted as a child at the age of fifty, with glib and saffron-coloured kilt, to realise and incidentally to expose the ideals of present-day Ireland. What scenes might not be devised at village inns arising out of his refusal to parley with landlords in any but his own few words of Gaelic speech. … His Dulcinea would be who but Kathleen ni Houlilian herself, who really is no more like what she is taken for than the maiden of Toboso.’ (pp.87-88; quoted in Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis”, in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982, p.78.)

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Anglo-Irish Essay (1917) - III: ‘This was of course a sorry account of the ‘Irish Literary Renascence’; the collected poems of Mr. Yeats, AE, and others, Synge’s plays, etc., will doubtless be called “books” by generations of Irish readers. Mr. James Stephen’s lively and delectable vein had in 1911 only begun to flow, and Mr. James Joyce had not yet published his highly instructive studies in the life of those young men who have chiefly to be reckoned with nowadays in arranging or forecasting the future of Ireland. The anticipation in the final paragraph might seem to have had a partial fulfilment in Mr. George Moore’s Hail and Farewell.’ (p.89; quoted in Mercier, op. cit., 1982, p.77.)

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Irish Literary Portraits (1935) [on Yeats]: ‘The faery land of his imagination suddenly vanished forever in Easter Week of 1916’; New Ireland ‘eliminated the elect breed of those to whom England and Ireland were equally dear’; ‘Moore heard the authentic voice of Ireland’; ‘quarter of a century … special contribution to literature’; ‘How could a literary movement be in any sense national when the whole interest of the nation lay in extirpating the conditions which produced it?’ ‘Yeats allowed an indignant spirit of mischief into his strategy’; ‘neglected the edifying function of literature [but not with impunity]; ‘the omission from his movement of all moral seriousness’; Yeats established the entity of modern Irish literature, and raised the whole standard of production’; [Eglinton] claiming by birthright to belong to a larger political unity than Southern Ireland’; ‘inherent dislike for the green flags a reedy orchestration of nationalist demonstrations’; ‘escapade of having a separate language’; Moore ‘a pathetically lonely figure, lonely both as artist and man’; ‘poets who all made the mistake of going into politics’; Yeats was looking for a ‘nucleus of reality’ but found only a ‘vague historical instinct’; Yeats family ‘entirely without an ear for music’; ‘curiously deaf to music; ‘addicted to founding societies’; ‘One gathers that Yeats and AE had almost reached the conclusion that the kingdom of the Gael, like that of the Jews, was a spiritual kingdom and not of this world, and that the value of political agitation or of armed resistance to British authority was for the most part symbolical. […’; cont.]

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Irish Literary Portraits (1935) - cont.: ‘The amount of sympathy they were able to afford for such movements as that for the revival of the Irish language, or the political programme of Sinn Fein, was not very satisfactory to the new Catholic generation’; comments on his ‘Platonic hatred’, consisting in ‘a dislike of England curiously combined with a preference for the society of English people’; seeking ‘a legitimate outlet for that dramatic instinct which he discovered in his early youth in his being’s core’; ‘the transformation, which happened under our eyes, of a formerly obscure and felonous organisation into a [?paternal] government, probably as good as any other, afforded us a profoundly instructive and perhaps disillusioning insight into the way history is made.’ On Dowden ‘the contented member of a provincial society’ unvisited by the Muse [71]. Further: ‘the ideal of comfort and respectability is not easily transcended in such a society’; ‘the purely English culture which he impersonated’; failed to become, in Yeats’s phrase, “a fatherly figure” in his country’s literature.’ On George Moore: ‘the most familiar of my acquaintance’; ‘a foreigner called in as an ally in a domestic feud’; ‘AE pullulated ideas’; ‘our unquenchable appetite for ideas’; wanted to write his biography [98; cf., to be his Boswell, 115]. On George Moore: ‘There is no Moore world’ [106]; ‘[he] did not achieve enchantment’ [110]; St Winifrid’s Well, ‘a sort of pilgrimage with George Moore; believers in pilgrimages and miracles [are] ‘those who have fallen in the wake not only of the intellectual but the moral companionship of humanity’; ‘artist badly handicapped in an excessively theological atmosphere’. On Moore: ‘his original endowment from Nature was a gift of startled curiosity about everything that life was about to unfold’. [Cont.]

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Irish Literary Portraits (1935) - cont. [on James Joyce]: ‘slight flush of dissipation … seedy hauteur … portentous contribution to Irish literature’; ‘one of a lively group [at Univ. College]; remembers Joyce’s sententious declaration of aesthetic ideas like those in A Portrait; on Dana [134]; ‘Catholic Ireland anxious to get rid of the Dana crew’; when Joyce ‘decided to scrap the scholastic habiliments of his mind, the poor disguise of a seedy snobbishness … a thousand unexpected fallacies were liberated in his soul.’ [144]; ‘our Roman Catholic Joyce nurses an ironic detachment from the whole of English literature. Indeed he is its enemy’; ‘Joyce’s Celtic revenge’; ‘an awful [?universal] void’ [146]; ‘when he had produced Ulysses he had shot his bolt’ [149]; ‘mechanical inventor as much as artist’; ‘I am all for lucidity and logic’.

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Irish Literary Portraits (1935) - cont. [on George Moore:] ‘George Moore used to talk with envy of those English writers who could use whole language [recte, ?the whole of the language] ; and I really think that Joyce must be added to Moore’s examples of this power - Shakespeare, Whitman, Kipling. This language found itself constrained by its new master to perform tasks to which it was unaccustomed in the service of pure literature; and, against the grain, it was forced to reproduce Joyce’s fantasies in all kinds of juxtapositions, neologisms, amalgamations, truncations, words that are only found scrawled up in public lavatories, obsolete words, words in limbo or in the womb of time. It assumed every intonation and locution of Dublin, Glasgow, New York, Johannesburg. Like a devil taking pleasure in forcing a virgin to speak obscenely, so Joyce rejoiced darking in causing the language of Milton and Wordsworth to utter all but unimaginable filth and treason.’ (Quoted in Stephen Gwynn, Irish Literature and Drama, 1936, p.197ff.)

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National Drama: ‘What Should be the Subjects of National Drama’ (Literary Ideals, 1899),, ‘[N]o one can say that political feebleness or stagnation might not be actually favourable to some original manifestation in the world of ideas. What Renan says, in speaking of the Jews, that “a nation whose mission is to resolve in its bosom spiritual truths is often weak politically”, may be used with regard to Ireland as an argument that at least nothing stands in its way in this direction.’ (p.10-11) [Cited by Chris Corr, ‘English Literary Culture and Irish Literary Revival’, PhD Thesis, UUC 1995]; ‘The truth is, these subjects [ancient legends] much as we may admire them and regret that we have nothing equivalent to them in the modern world, obstinately refuse to be taken up out of their old environment and be transplanted into the world of modern sympathies. The proper mode of treating them is a secret lost with the subjects themselves.’ (Quoted in John Harrington, The Irish Beckett, p.33.)

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Joyce’s Ulysses: (1): ‘There is an effort and a strain in the composition of this book which makes one at times feel a concern for the author. But [271] why should we half-kill ourselves to write masterpieces? There is a growing divergence between the literary ideals of ouor artists and the books which human beings want to read […/] I am by no means sure, however, that I have understood Mr Joyce’s method, which is sufficiently puzzzling even where he relates incidents in which I have myself taken part.’ (‘Dublin Letter’, in Dial, 6 June 1922, pp.619-22; rep. in William Wassertrom, ed., Dial Miscellany, 1963; rep. in Robert Deming, ed., James Joyce: The Critical Heritage, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1970 [Vol. 1], pp.271-72.)

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Joyce’s Ulysses (2): ‘In the interview of the much enduring Stephen with the officials of the National Library the present writer experiences a twinge of recollection of things actually said.’ (Quoted in Stephen Gwynn, Irish Literature and Drama, 1936), 197ff.; see Joyce’s reprise, in Commentary, supra.) Gwynn also quotes Eglinton’s later remarks on Joyce’s graffiti.)

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Celtic traditions: ‘It is clear that if Celtic traditions are to be an active influence in future Irish literature they must seem to us worthy of the same compliment as that paid by Europe to the Greeks; we must go to them rather than expect them to come to us, studying them as closely as possible, and allowing them to influence us as they may.’ (‘What Should be the Subject of National Drama?’, in Eglinton, et al., 1899, Literary Ideals in Ireland, London: Unwin, pp.11-12; quoted in Fiona Macintosh, Dying Acts: Death in Ancient Greek and Modern Irish Tragic Drama (Cork UP 1994, p.16.)

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James Shirley: Eglinton speaks of the dramatist Shirley’s attitude in begging not to offend with his treatment of Irish material in his play St. Patrick for Ireland, it shows ‘how completely even then the Anglo-Irish nationality have identified itself with the country.’ Further, ‘it enables us, far better than a good many of the acknowledged sources of the period, to realise how the Anglo-Irish felt towards their country on the eve of the rebellion [of 1641].’ (Anglo-Irish Essays, 1917, p.62; quoted in Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre, 1946.)

Moral seriousness: Patrick Tuohy (Yeats, 1976) quotes Eglinton as remarking on ‘the apparent omission from Yeats’s movement of all moral seriousness’. (p.141).

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References
D. E. S. Maxwell, Modern Irish Drama (Cambridge UP 1984), p. ix, 1902, cites the essay by John Eglinton, ‘The De-Davisisation of Irish Literature’ printed in the United Irishman, 31 March.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2: selects ‘The De-Davisisation of Irish Literature’ [a title which parodies Hyde’s ‘Necessity for De-anglicising &c.’], ‘The only distinctive national literary tradition, within its own coasts, acknowledged by Ireland, is mainly the creation of Thomas Davis, and had its point of departure in the anger felt by that excellent patriot … brought into contact with the crass worldliness and provincialism of the official and professinal classes on Dublin, to which he himself belonged … his ‘Address to the Historical Society’ … [he] suffered a little from compromise … since Davis the true religion of the Irish Nationalist has been patriotism … succeeded in giving Ireland a brilliant journal … succeeded so well [in journalism] that his colleagues imposed the tradition of their newspaper on Irish national literature … [de-Davisation is] getting rid of the notion that in Ireland, a writer is to think, first and foremost, of interpreting the nationality of his country, and not simply of the burden which he has to deliver.’ (from Bards and Saints, 1906) [FDA2, 995-97; also cited in Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland, 1995, p.158, with ref. United Irishman, 31 March 1902]. Also extracted in FDA2 are, Literary Ideals of Ireland, ‘What Should be the Subject of National Drama?’ [956-57 (see Cairns & Richards, infra]; ‘National Drama and Contemporary Life’ [959-60; ‘Mr Yeats and Popular Poetry’ [962-63], editorial from Dana [975-76].

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3, REFS & REMS [61, 62, 63, in Joyce]; called ‘caustic critic and Unionist’, by Austin Clarke, 497; his strictures on the use of Celtic mythology and similar archaic matter, ‘These subjects, much as we may admire them and regret that we have nothing equivalent to them in the modern world, obstinately refuse to be taken up out of their old environment, and be transplanted into the world of modern sympathies. The proper mode of treating them is a secret lost with the subjects themselves’ [see FDA2, 993], 565; Note Ernest Boyd, ‘An Irish Essayist, John Eglinton’, in Appreciations and Depreciations (Talbot/Fisher Unwin 1917), from which Luke Gibbon quotes the riposte to those who attempted to disenfranchise Eglinton of national identity, ‘There seems to be a tacit understanding that all criticism of national aspirations must come from the side of the enemy, for whom a reply is usually ready. But when the critic cannot be stigmatised as hostile to nationalist ideals, the problem of silencing him becomes more difficult’ (Boyd, p.61), 568; [W. J. McCormack, 665n, 671].

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Mark Storey, Poetry and Ireland since 1800, A Source Book (1988) pp.119-137, reprints extracts fromLiterary Ideals of Ireland, ed. John Eglinton (1899), including his own essay ‘What Should be the Subjects’ of National Drama?’; his own ‘National Drama and Contemporary Life’; AE’s ‘Literary Ideals in Ireland’, and ‘Nationality and Cosmopolitan Literature’, though not Yeats’s contributions. Storey notes, A debate took place in the Saturday issues of the Daily Express in 1898, which developed, as Eglinton explained in his Introduction to this volume, ‘a certain organic unity’. it started with Eglinton’s essay, ‘National Drama’, to which Yeats partially replied in a piece on the ‘Poems and Stories of Miss Nora Hopper’ (a minor writer). Apart from the essays reprinted her, thre were pieces by Yeats on ‘John Eglinton and Spiritual Art’, ‘The Autumn of the Flesh’, John Eglinton on ‘Mr Yeats and Popular Poetry’, and W[illiam] Larminie on ‘Legends as material for Literature’. For Yeats the whole debate was a kind of holding operation before the announcement of the Irish Literary Theatre in December. Bibl. cites Anglo-Irish Essays (1917), and Memoir of AE (1937).

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Catalogues
Belfast Public Library
holds Anglo-Irish Essays (1917); Bards and Saints (1906); Irish Literary Portraits (1935); Memoir of AE (1935); Pebbles from a Brook (1901); Two Essays on the Remnant (1894).

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Notes
W. B. Yeats: In the sole allusion to Eglinton in his Autobiographies (1955), Yeats refers to him as remarking that George Russell [“AE”] stood outside the sense of comedy which his friend Eglinton called ‘the social cement’ of our civilisation (p.241).

Monk Gibbon met Eglinton (Magee) in Wales, in the town of Rhyl, where he was then retired with his younger wife and daughter. Eglinton mentions that he once was ‘usher’ in a school in Drogheda. Further, Gibbon alludes to Moore’s nick-name for him, thus: ‘“Contrairy John,” as George Moore has called him in Hail and Farewell (where his half-length portrait has all that author’s customary skill and less than his customary malice).’ (Mount Ida, London: Jonathan Cape 1948, p.82).

Remnant’ - in Eglinton’s book-title - glossed as ‘elite’ in Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks, 1948, p.133, remarking that Yeats wrote in a review for United Irishmen (9 Nov. 1901): ‘They are a small body, not more than one in five thousand anywhere, but they are many enough to be apriesthood, and in the long run to guide the great instiinctive movements that come out of the multitude.’

Portraits: one pen and one chalk, by John Butler Yeats, Dec. 1901 [NGI]

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