Stephen Gwynn (1864-1950)


Life
[Stephen Lucius Gwynn; S. L. Gwynn;] b. born at St. Columba’s, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, son of Rev. John Gwynn, the warden and later Regius Prof. of Divinity at TCD [Archb. Wm. King’s endowment], and Lucy (1840-1907), eldest dg. of William Smith O’Brien; ed. Columba’s Rathfarnham; and Brasenose College, Oxford; spent ten years as a schoolmaster-tutor, partly in France; m. Mary Lousia, daughter of Revd. James Gwynn and hence a cousin a cousin, who later converted to Catholicism, becoming the religion of their children also (d.1941);
 
worked on journals in London from 1894 and encountered Irish literary revival as journalist in London; issued The Old Knowledge (1901), a novel about a Donegal schoolmaster called Conroy who has visions of pagan gods of Ireland; his John Maxwell’s Marriage (1903), concerning a forced marriage and depicting the climate of sectarian hatred in Northern Ireland, with some scenes in America; returned to Ireland, 1904; sec. of Irish Literary Society (in 1904);
 
elected Nationalist MP for Galway City, 1906-1918 [var. 1908; publ. The Glades in the Forest (1907), containing stories about Donegal; acted as lit. adviser to Maunsel & Co., on Yeats’s recommendation [and sometimes called its founder]; his biographical subjects. incl. Thomas Moore (1904), Horace Walpole (1932), Dean [Jon.] Swift (1933); Oliver Goldsmith (1935), R. L. Stevenson (1939) and Henry Grattan (also 1939); dissociated himself from press attacks on G. B. Shaw and George “AE” Russell when the latter supported Larkin and the Dublin Workers (Freeman’s Journal, 5 Nov.);
 
enlisted in the ranks, 1914 but afterwards received a commission, serving in France with Connaught Rangers; witnessed the body of Willie Redmond being carried back from the front by men of an Ulster regiment; appt. to Darndanelles Commission, 1916; returned to Ireland to serve on Irish Convention at instigation of Horace Plunkett; led the moderate nationalists on the Convention after the death of John Redmond, March 1918, forming the Irish Centre Party, 1918-19;
 
opposed conscription in Ireland but served on Irish Recruiting Council, supporting volunteer enlistment; stood unsuccessfully as independent nationalist candidate for Dublin University at Westminster; awarded the Legion d’Honneur; joined Plunkett as signatory of Irish Dominion League [Dominion Home Rule] manifesto, 1919; his house was destroyed in the same week as Sir Horace Plunkett’s during 1923; issued Irish Literature and Drama in the English Language (1936), identifying the marks of the culture as ‘nationality, religion, revolt’; awarded Hon. D.Litt, NUI;
 
founding-member of Yeats’s IALM [Irish Academy of Letters and Medals]; established a relationship with Grace Henry, wife of the painter Paul Henry; wrote obituary for Yeats (Observer, 5 Feb. 1939); awarded the Gregory Medal of the Irish Academy of Letters [IAL], April 1950; d. 11 June 1950, Dublin; bur. Tallaght cemetery; survived by Aubrey Gwynn (1892-1983, a Jesuit) and Denis Rolleston Gwynn (q.v.), Professor of Mod. History, Cork [UCC]; he called the Anglo-Irish ‘a spiritually hyphenated people’; his sister Mary became the second wife of Henry Bowen, father of the novelist Elizabeth Bowen. PI JMC ODNB IF DBIV DIW DIB DIH DIL KUN DUB OCIL
 

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Works
Poetry
  • The Queen’s Chronicler and Other Poems (London & NY: John Lane 1901);
  • A Lay of Ossian and Patrick (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1904);
  • Collected Poems (Edinburgh/London: Blackwood 1923);
  • Salute to Valour (London: Constable 1941), poems;
  • Aftermath (Dundalk: W. Tempest 1946).
Fiction (stories)
  • The Glade in the Forest [Popular Irish Books] (Dublin: Maunsel 1907)
Fiction (novels)
  • The Old Knowledge (London: Macmillan 1901);
  • John Maxwell’s Marriage: A Novel (London: Macmillan 1903);
  • Robert Emmet : A Historical Romance (London: Macmillan 1909).
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Biography
  • Thomas Moore [Englishmen of Letters Ser.] (Macmillan 1904, 1905)*
  • John Redmond’s Last Years (London: Edward Arnold 1919);
  • Captain Scott (London: J Lane 1929);
  • The Life of Horace Walpole (London: Thorton Butterworth 1932);
  • The Life of Mary Kingsley (London: Macmillan 1932; 2nd ed. 1933);
  • The Life of Sir Walter Scott (London: Thorton Butterworth 1933);
  • Claude Monet and His Garden (London: Country Life 1934);
  • The Life and Friendships of Dean Swift (London: Thornton Butterworth 1933);
  • Mungo Park and the Quest for the Niger (London: J Lane 1934);
  • Henry Grattan and His Times (Dublin: Browne & Nolan 1939);
  • Robert Louis Stevenson (London: Macmillan 1939);
  • Saints and Scholars (London: Thorton Butterworth 1929);
  • Oliver Goldsmith (London: Thorton Butterworth 1935).
*Thomas Moore (1905) is available at Internet Archive online; accessed 8.11.2010; ssee also extracts under Moore, Commentary, infra.
Autobiography
  • Experiences of a Literary Man (London: Thornton Butterworth 1926).
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Miscellaneous
  • Memorials of an Eighteenth-century Painter: William Northcote (London: Unwin 1898);
  • The Repentance of a Private Secretary (London: J Lane 1898);
  • The Decay of Sensibility and Other Essays (Lane 1899) [see details];
  • Today and Tomorrow in Ireland: Essays on Irish Subjects (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis 1903);
  • Fishing Holidays (London: Macmillan 1904);
  • Masters of English Literature (London: Macmillan 1904; rev. edn. 1925, 1931; 2nd edn. 1938);
  • Intro., Moore’s Melodies and Songs [The Muses’ Library] (London & NY: G. Routledge & Sons. Ltd. 1908), xxv, [11]-253pp., 16cm.;
  • ed., Charlotte Grace O’Brien, Selections from her Writings and Correspondence (1909);
  • The Case for Home Rule, Stated by Stephen Gwynn (Dublin: Maunsel 1911); and Do. ([3rd edn.] 1913), xxviii, 160pp. [Carty 1091];
  • Connaught (London: Blackie 1912), ill. with 12 col. pls. by Alex. Williams;
  • Ulster (London: Blackie n.d.), ill. with 12 col. pls. by Alex. Williams;
  • Second Reading (Dublin: Maunsel 1918), essays;
  • Irish Books and People (Dublin: Talbot/ London: Unwin 1920) [var. 1919 Hyland];
  • Irish Literature and Drama in the English Language: A Short History (London: Nelson 1936) [incl. ‘Modern Irish Literature’, formerly in Manchester Guardian, 15 March 1923, pp.36-40;];
  • Garden Wisdom (Dublin: Talbot/London: Unwin 1921) [see details];
  • The Irish Situaton (London: J. Cape 1921);
  • The History of Ireland (London: Macmillan; Dublin: Talbot 1923);
  • Ireland, with an introduction by H. A. L. Fisher [series ed., The Modern World: A Survey of Historical Forces] (London: Ernest Benn 1924), 247pp. [incl. as appendix the Act of 1922 authorising the Constitution of the Saorstat];
  • The Student’s History of Ireland (London: Longman’s 1925);
  • Fond Opinions (London: Frederick Muller 1938), essays.
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Travel
  • Highways and Bye-ways in Donegal and Antrim (London: Macmillan 1899; 1903), ill. BY Hugh Thomson, with folding map [var. Byways];
  • The Fair Hills of Ireland (Dublin: Maunsel 1906), ill. BY Hugh Thomson;
  • A Holiday in Connemara (London: Methuen 1909);
  • Beautiful Ireland (London: Blackie 1911), guidebook;
  • The Famous Cities of Ireland (Dublin & London: Maunsel 1915), ill. BY Hugh Thomson;
  • Duffer’s Luck (Edinburgh/London: Blackwood 1924) (viii), 308pp. [fisherman’s adventures];
  • Ireland, Its Places of Beauty, Entertainment, Sport, and Historic Association [Kitbag Series] (London 1927);
  • In Praise of France (London: Nisbet 1927) [printed 1928, Cathach Cat. 12];
  • Ireland (London: Harrap 1927);
  • Burgundy (London: Harrap 1930);
  • Ireland in Ten Days (London: Harrap 1935);
  • Dublin, Old and New (Dublin: Browne & Nolan; London: Harrap [1938]), ill.;
  • The Happy Fisherman (London: Country Life 1936), ill. Roy Beddington [ills. of Lough Gill, Donegal, Westmeath, &c.];
  • River to River (London: Country Life 1937);
  • Two in a Valley (London: Rich & Cowan [1938]), travel;
  • Munster (London & Glasgow: Blackie [1938]);
  • ed., Scattering Branches (London: Macmillan 1940).
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Selections
  • Memories of Enjoyment (Tralee: Kerryman 1946), 148pp. [selections from his writings with introductions to The History of Pendennis, 1903, and The History of Henry Esmond, 1900].

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See chap.-by-chap. extracts from Irish Literature and Drama in the English Language: A Short History (London: Nelson 1936), in RICORSO Library, “Criticism”, attached.

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Bibliographical details
Decay of Sensibility and Other Essays and Sketches (John Lane/The Bodley Head MDCCCC, reprinted from various magazines; 236pp.; titles include ‘Theory of Talk’; ‘Buying and Selling’; ‘Bachelor Women’; ‘Plea for Apple Dumplings’; ‘Nature in London’; ‘Sense of Smell’; ‘Paternal Emotions’; ‘Scores’; ‘Middlesex in Sept.’, &c. Memories of Enjoyment (Tralee Kerryman Ltd. 1946), 148pp.; titles include. ‘In Praise of Wine’; ‘What Did Shakespeare Drink?’; ‘What Izaak Walton Liked Better than Fishing’; ‘Long John [O’Connor]’; ‘A Galway Merchant’; ‘Looking Back in Donegal’; ‘About Oliver Goldsmith’, ‘Anno Domini’ [on Shaw’s 90th birthday], and others. The Queen’s Chronicler (London: J. Lane MDCCCCI], prev. publ in Anglo-Saxon Review; with ‘Known and Unknown’; ‘Gifford’s Grave’, and ‘The Woman of Beare’, et al., each appearing previously in other magazines –the last named in Fortnightly Review as part of an article, and adapted from Kuno Meyer’s prose translation.

Garden Wisdom; or, From One Generation to Another (Dublin: Talbot; London: Unwin 1921) 149pp., with a frontis. by Grace Henry. CONTENTS: The Ageing of a Poet [i.e., W. B. Yeats]; An Artist and his Work; A Poet under a Cloud; A Lover of Justice [i.e., Mary Kingsley]; A Scholar [i.e., his father, ed. of Book of Armagh]; An Eighteenth Century Gardener [i.e., Horace Walpole].

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Commentary
J. M. Synge, review of The Fair Hills of Erin in Manchester Guardian (16 Nov. 1906; rep. in Coll. Works, Vol. II, Prose, ed. Alan Price, pp.387): ‘when this attractive and leisurely book made its appearance, a few days ago, its author, Mr. Stephen Gwynn, was standing as a member of Parliament for Galway, and fighting, in the face of rotten eggs and decayed fish, what is said to bave been the stormiest election to have taken place in Ireland for the last ten years. He is to be congratulated on the success of both his ventures […] a guide book in the best sense.’ [Here gives account of general itinerary] Throughout it is charmingly written - with an eye on the trout streams that Mr. Gwynn has so often dealt with before - in a excellent patriotic spirit, kept in check by a scholarly urbanity which has been absent too frequently from patriotic writings in Ireland. The illustrations by Mr. Hugh Thomson add to the pleasantness of the book, whichis likely to bring many minds into a more intelligent sympathy with Ireland where, for good and for bad, the past is so living and the present so desirous to live.’

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James Joyce, review of Today and Tomorrow in Ireland: Essays on Irish Subjects (1903), in Daily Express, 29 Jan. 1903), rep. in rep. in Critical Writings of James Joyce, ed. Ellsworth Mason & Richard Ellmann [1959] 1965, pp.90-92: ‘[…] Mr Gwynn, too, is a convert to the prevailing national movement, and professes himself an irreconcilable about it. Give Ireland the status of Canada and Mr. Gwynn becomes a Imperialist at once. It is hard to saw into what political party Mr. Gwynn should go, for he is too consistently Gaelic for the Parliamentarians, and too mild for the true patriots, who are beginning to speak a little vaguely about their friends the French. / Mr. Gwynn, however, is at least a member of that party which [90] seeks to estabilsh an Irish literature and Irish industries. […] Mr Gwynn has evidently a sense of the humorous, and it is pleasing to see this in a revivalist. He tells how, fishing one day, it was his fortune to meet with an old peasant whose thoughts ran all upon the traditional tales of his country and on the histories of great families. Mr Gwynn’s instinct as a fisherman got the better of his patriotism, and he confessed to a slight disappointment when, after a good catch on an unfavourable day, he earned no word of praise from the peasant, who said, following his own train [91] of thought, “The Clancartys was great men, too. Is there any of them living?”’ (pp.91-92; for further remarks, see under James Clarence Mangan, infra.)

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P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland (London: John Murray 1994), quotes extensively from Gwynn’s travel works, and also his account of the meeting with an old and sick shanachie, James Kelly, who has the Fenian Cycle and the older sagas of Cuchulain off by heart: ‘here then was a type of the Irish illiterate. a man somewhere between fifty and sixty. at a guess; of middle height, spare and well-knit, high-nosed, fine-featured, keen-eyed; standing here on his own ground, courteous and even respectful, yet consciously a scholar […] one who could recite without apparent effort long narrative poems in a dead literary dialect.’ (Op. cit., p.101.)

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Quotations

For quotations from Stephen Gwynn’s Thomas Moore (Macmillan 1905), see under Moore, Commentary, infra. The work is also available at Internet Archive online; accessed 8.11.2010.


Irish Literature and Drama (1936), Gwynn compares Irish literature in English to other regional British literatures, ‘the whole position has been altered out of knowledge by the work of men who are either still living or only recently dead. [1]; […] Yet this Scottish language was at most only a sister shoot from the same stem as English; whoever understood the one, understood the other; and in that sense Scottish national literature is a part of English; it brings no alien element. In Ireland the case is very different. The special interest in the literature of which I have to write is that it links up the intimate expression of an Ireland which has become English-speaking, which for a century at least has thought in English, to a poetry and a mythology that took literary shape centuries before English was a written or a spoken speech. [2] The Gael assimilated Pictish culture [3] never came under Roman sway […] nothing else […] so little Greek, so little Roman [4] in the 18th c. nobody using English sought to explore Ireland’s intellectual inheritance [7]; For a century and a half from Swift’s day, nearly all the literature that came out of nationalist Ireland was forged as a weapon for combat. […; see further under Swift, Commentary [infra]; nationality, religion, revolt [9]; It must have been through music that Moore contrive to get into intimate touch with the national spirit. [12]. Includes a ‘Preces of The Irish National Literature (Gaelic)’; also chapters on Swift; Edgeworth; Thomas Moore; ‘Miss Edgworth’s Successors’; ‘Young Ireland’; ‘Beginnings of Irish Drama – Wilde, Shaw, George Moore’; ‘Prose Fiction’; ‘Stephens, Joyce, and Ulster Writers’; ‘After the Revolution’ [?&c.] (For longer extracts, see Ricorso Library, “Criticism”, infra.

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“I call to your mind Benburb,
And the stubborn Ulster steel,
Clonmel, and the glorious stand
Of the younger Hugh O’Neill;
And Owen dead at Derry
And Cromwell loosed on the land […]”
—Quoted in Patricia Craig, Elizabeth Bowen (Penguin 1986, p.45.)

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History of Ireland (Talbot 1923) viii, 549pp., index. Signed copy, library of Albert le Brocquy. In prefatory remarks, Gwynn writes, ‘In the later part of the work, nothing has been of so much service for my purpose as Mr George O’Brien’s three volumes on the Economic History of Ireland from the seventeenth century to the great famine,’ and that Douglas Hyde’s Literary History of Ireland, though a less definite influence in common with works by J. R. Green, ‘has affected by whole outlook’. [History of Ireland, Talbot 1923, p.v]. Gwynn speaks of Jonathan Swift as ‘the leader of a leaderless people’ [369].

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History of Ireland (Talbot 1923) - cont.: on Catholic Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, ‘It has been frequently argued that Catholic Ireland was completely loyal to England during the eighteenth century, and it is true that in the later half of the period Catholic noblemen professing to speak for their religion, made strong protestations of loyalty. But the phrase is false. Ireland was submissive merely through weakness. No people in the world would have submitted to such laws had resistance been possible. But the struggle between England and Ireland, which was pushed almost to the extirpation of the Irish under Elizabeth, and was carried once more to the same point under Cromwell, was renewed again under William; and the third defeat left Ireland utterly exhausted. After Cromwell’s war, the Irish left Ireland in tens of thousands, but at the Restoration many at least of the leaders came back. From the road on which Sarsfield led his eleven thousand there was no return, and the numbers who followed his track are almost incredible. From researches made in records of the French War Office, the Irishmen who died in the French service between 1691, when Sarsfield left the country, and 1745, the date of the Battle of Fontenoy, have been reckoned at nearly half a million – an average of almost ten thousand a year. Lecky disbelieves the figure, though he admits that an independent investigator had been inclined to accept it. One must remember, too, that though France got most of the men, in Spain and in Austria there was a regular traditional connection with Ireland and a welcome open to the expatriated – above all, in the armies. / At all events, whether we regard the estimate of numbers as an exaggeration or not, one fact stands out, for a hundred years Catholic Ireland gave up the struggle; and when the struggle was renewed, Protestant and Catholic were the prime movers. It would be difficult to name a single Irish Catholic who achieved distinction in Ireland during the eighteenth century before 1798, and the exception of the peasant poets to whom a belated fame is now accorded. The list of famous men whom Ireland produced from the dominant religion is long indeed, Swift and Congreve were at school [370] together at Kilkenny; Berkeley was taught there a little later; Burke and Goldsmith have their statues outside Trinity College; Grattan faces them; and these are only a few. the Irish Catholics, their contemporaries, who grew illustrious had to win fame on the Continent; and the alien in foreign service seldom is allowed to rise high. Yet even so, Wall, a Waterford man, became Chief Minister of Spain for some six years; a little earlier, MacNamara was commanding the French fleet that threated England’s coast. Lally Tollendal came near to win control of India for the French; and, as everyone knows, the Battle of Fontenoy was decided by the Irish brigade under Lord Clare, the second of that name in whom the command was vested by tradition. It is true to say, as Lecky does, that the history of Catholic Ireland in this century must be followed on the Continent, not in Ireland. All its achievements were there. [371; cont.].

History of Ireland (Talbot 1923) - cont. ‘[…] nothing was open to them in the country except farming, on conditions which made them extremely dependent on a Protestant landlord, or the career of a middleman who took large tracts of land on short lease and sublet this to others; it was an occupation in which many Catholics earned money and an ill-name. In towns, the professions were closed; there remained only trade and manufacture. Even here, just as the Catholic was handicapped by laws prohibiting him from taking a long lease, so in manufacture he had to face heavy impost called quarterage, over and above the commercial restrictions which depressed all Irish manufacturing industry. The result was a great direction of Catholic energy into distributing trade rather than into manufacture, and the tendency remains. / But over and above this discouragement, the views of he age regarded either trade or manufacture as an impossible career for a man of gentle birth. The Catholic gentry were driven out of Ireland very largely by the pressure of a code which denied them at home the position of gentlemen. Irish [371] rank was recognised all over Europe, and titles which an Englishman would have regarded as ridiculous were held in high honour in the Austrian court, where punctillio on such matters was most extreme. [372] / One result of breaking up the traditional Irish organisation in chieftaincies was to destroy the old literary tradition by which scholarship and learning passed from father to son, and regular schools were maintained. This hereditary cast of bards and historians had made literature somewhat pedantic; they prided themselves on preserving a vocabulary much of which was as obsolete as the language of Chaucer to a modern Englishman; and they imposed rigid and difficult systems of verse. With their disappearnce a popular poetry sprang up, using a more melodious form of rhyme, and constructing its lines by accent rather than measure of syllables. &c.’ [372].

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Ireland, with introduction by H. A. L. Fisher (London: Ernest Benn 1924): ‘But along the whole western coast are vast tracts of country wholly unsuited to farming, if farming [57] be considered as an occupation by which a man can amass money or acquire a return for capital. All these regions swarm with the habitations of cottiers, who gain a bare living out of the land. In the rest of Ireland, wherever there is bog and mountain, the same type of cultivation is found; men often working ground which is so stony that a plough cannot be used on it. Even in the central plain, the result of such labour can be seen on each side of the canal which connects Dublin with the Shannon: little patches of reclamation creep out into the expanse of bog. A huge part of the land which to-day supports human existence in Ireland has been created by the effort of such petty cultivators. They cannot properly be called farmers: they have neither skill nor equipment; but they have, as Mr. G. B. Shaw makes a personage say in John Bull’s Other Island, an industry that is not human: it is like the labour of insects. / That there are vast numbers of these petty cultivators living always on the edge of want is the best-known fact in Irish life: but it is no longer the dominant fact. An uneconomic holding, that is, one which cannot support the people on it, is now rare. And the frugality as well as pertinacity of these cottiers have enabled them to amass money in considerable quantities. The sense of ownership has wrought wonders: since there was no fear of rent being raised, or imprisonment, in thousands of cases money that would have gone in drink before, has gone into manures or the like. / Rich or poor, the Irish farmer has to-day his principal wealth in cattle: what he grows he grows to feed himself and his stock. There are, however, two exceptions. In Ulster the cultivation of flax is traditional. It is a precarious crop, as the prices and yield fluctuate greatly, but it may be richly profitable. In Leinster, and to some degree in East Connaught, the growing of barley for sale to brewers and distillers is a large part of the farmer’s work; and his hopes depend [58] on it. Sheep supplement cattle, and in the mountains, especially in Wicklow and Galway, largely replace them. Yet what Scott observed in The Two Drovers is true of Ireland: the Celt, a prince among herds, is a child among flocks. Ireland has never earned a name as a sheep-raising country. / But in all history the Irish have excelled in one thing. They have an instinct, a little less marked in Ulster than elseqhere, for breeding and handling fine horses […]’ (pp.57-59; cf. ‘the cult of the horse’, p.69 [infra]). Cont.

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Ireland (1924) - cont.: ‘From the beginning of the revolutionary period, say from 1880, a change has to be noted in Irish social life. The land war, as it was justly called, divided classes sharply and the division coincided roughly though not completely or logically, with the religious division. Broadly speaking, although the revolutionary forces were headed by a Protestant landlord. The revolution was an attempt to take from the Protestants a considerable part of what they possessed in money and power. Parnell’s policy of binding his followers in Parliament to accept no preferment from Government had a wide extension socially: Nationalists who were, as they soon became, actively at feud the Irish Government, could not very conveniently pay civilities to its recognised head, the Lord Lieutenant, who, unlike the Governor-General of the Domionion, was a member of the British Ministry of the day. No active Nationalist therefore would go to the Viceregal Court, and such Catholic professional men as continued to do so separated themselves in a sense from the mass of those who practised their religion. Society in its official sense became more sharply defined as Protestant. / Also, with the progress of the revolution, grave hardship, often very ill deserved, fell on the landlord class: some had to leqve the country for safety, some were completely impoverished. Landed properties were as a rule heavily encumbered, and the Acts of parliament which in effect reduced rents by a quarter, made no provision for a reduction of the charges. Thus from 1880 onward the landlord element in Dublin society lessened in wealth and importance: the Kildare Street Club acquired a very large admixture of a new element from the Civil Sevice - a multiplying bureaucracy - and from the higher branches of what was increasingly like a highly trained Government department, the staff of Guinness’s brewery.’ (p.68); ‘all main festivities in Dublin are directly in indirectly connected with the cult of the horse’ (p.69).

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1916 leaders: ‘[N]othing could have prevented the halo of martyrdom from attaching itself to those who died by the law for the sake of Irish freedom: the tradition was too deeply ingrained in Irish history.’ (John Redmond’s Last Years, London 1919, pp.228-29; cited in D. George Boyce, Nationalism in Ireland, London: Routledge 1982; 1991 Edn.), p.285.

Lover, Lever, &c.: ‘What they [the Victorian Anglo-Irish novelists] did was not wholly false. They merely magnified an irresponsible type found oftenest among boatmen, carmen, and gentlemen’s servants into the type of a whole nation, and created the Stage Irishman’; further, ‘[… ] we Irish have suffered peculiarly from the notion that the Irishman is the funny man of the Empire.’ (Quoted G. C. Duggan, The Stage Irishman, pp.293 & 295).

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The Hidden Ireland (Daniel Corkery): ‘Whoever wants to understand the struggle of 1919-1921 ought to read The Hound of Banba and learn how it looked to Sinn Féin. But this new work of literary study, though it has nothing authoritative or final about it, illuminates Irish history in its continuity. Mr Corkery has in rare measures the gift of sympathetic interpretation which excludes rancour and other forms of narrowness. He can put things in their right place; his vision is at no point limited to Ireland. […] a really notable and valuable book, which is most likeable.’ (review of The Hidden Ireland, in The Spectator, 12 Sept. 1925, p.411; quoted in Patrick Walsh, MA Thesis on Corkery, UUC, 1993.)]

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Wilhelmina Geddes: ‘[A] real glory of reds and blues […] gift or the simple rendering of essential action which seems to have come straight out of the Middle Ages.’ (‘The Art of Miss W. M. Geddes’, in The Studio, Vol. 84, No. 355, Oct. 1922; quoted in Nicola Gordon Bowe, ‘Wilhelmina Geddes, Harry Clarke and their part in the Arts and Crafts Movement of Ireland’, in The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts [DAPA], No. 8, Miami 1988 [q.pp.].)

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St. Brigid’s Flood”: ‘It’s only in the country that hatreds really ripen. You see a person going in and going out every day – he’s part of the landscape almost – and every time you see him hate stirs in your belly. And you see few other people – hardly anyone else in a case like this. He fills the whole field of your vision. Then there are always these little incidents of geese, and gaps, and the like of that; and there’s worse. his potatoes are gowing near your potatoes, and his corn near your corn, and either your rejoice to see his doing worse, or you hate him like hell because his are doing better. That’s the way you get a really fine well-rooted specimen of hate, that gets it nurture daily and grows like a tree. Love and hatred are both of them very much a matter of proximity, and your neighbour is twice as much your neighbour in the country. (p.94); [/…]; ‘You know, of course, the peculiarity of Irish Catholics: they don’t like sexual irregularity; and the wilder and more outlandish a place is in Ireland, the fewer illegitimate births there are. It may be temperament, tradition, training - I don’t know which. But anyhow, the fact is certain. A man who runs loose is counted irreligious and disapproved of, and a woman who makes a slip might nearly as well hang herself at once.’ (Rep. George Birmingham, ed., Irish Short Stories, 1932, pp.80-106; pp.94-95.)

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Abbey magic: Attending the Abbey for Douglas Hyde’s Casadh an tSugáin in 1901, Gwynn wrote, ‘there was a magnetism in the air […] One began to realise what the Gaelic League was doing’ (quoted in Hogan and Kilroy, Modern Irish Drama, Documentary History, I, 1975; cited in Cairns & Richards, Writing Ireland, 1988, p.86.)

Shoot or be shot: ‘The effect of Cathleen Ni Houlihan [by W. B. Yeats] on me was that I went home asking myself if such plays should be produced unless one was prepared to go out to shoot and be shot. […] Maud Gonne’s impersonation had stirred the audience as I have never seen another audience stirred.’ (Cited in Frank Tuohy, Yeats, 1976, p.129; also in Peter Costello, The Heart Grown Brutal, Gill & Macmillan 1977, p.4.)

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View of Ulster: ‘When they [Ulster Presbyterians] turned their backs on the principles of the United Irishmen, they needed to find a spiritual reason for what [they had surrendered]; They found the justification in a vehement indictment of Roman Catholic religion […] in a tenacious assertion that Catholic Irishmen were unfitted to be trusted with liberty (Famous Cities; quoted in Denis Ireland, An Ulster Protestant Looks at His World, 1930, p.36.)

Sinn Féin honeycombed the British service in Ireland with persons who thought it honest to conspire actively against the government which paid them. One cannot expect Sir James Craig and his ministers to have forgotten that nor blame them for acting on the memory.’ (Quoted in Paul Bew, review of Graham Ellison & Jim Smyth, The Crowned Harp: Policing in Northern Ireland, London: Pluto Press [2000], in Times Literary Supplement, 8 Dec. 2000, p.9.)

The Anglo-Irish were ‘spiritually hyphenated without knowing it’ (quoted in G. J. Watson, Irish Identity and the Literary Revival, Croom Helm 1979, p.30; cited in Kyle Hughes, UC Essay, UUC 2005.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography calls him author and Irish nationalist; gd-son of W. S. O’Brien; ed. St. Columba’s and Oxford, 1st class; MP Galway City 1906-1918; Irish Convention 1917; The Queen’s Chronicler and Other Poems (1901); lives of Scott (Captain Scott, 1930), Swift (1933); Goldsmith (1935), and R. L. Stevenson (1939), and many books on Ireland.

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Irish Book Lover, Vols. 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 24, 26, 29, 30, incl. review: ‘Robert Emmet: A Historical Romance (Macmillan.) We venture to predict that this the latest emanation from the practised pen of Mr. Stephen Gwynn, will be one of his most popular works. It relates sympathetically, what is surely one of the saddest love-stories on record, already immortalised by Washington Irving and Thomas Moore. The characters of Sarah Curran and Leonard McNally are especially well defined, whilst the description of the betrayal of Emmet’s hiding-place by the latter is well conceived, and in face of the evidence adduced in the appendix, founded on a stratum of strong probability. The author has no need to apologize for the shortcomings of the work, for none can be found, from its opening lines to its brilliant close. “Sundered head and body lie today [… &c.; as quoted under Robert Emmet, supra.], See also FDA3, 480.

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D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912) lists The Queen’s Chronicle[r] and other Poems (London 1901); A Lay of Ossian and St. Patrick (Dublin 1903); MP, novelist and critic; monograph on Thomas Moore in Englishmen of Letters series.

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Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington 1904) selects “An Heroic Deception”; “The Young Fisher”; “A Lay of Ossian and Patrick”; “A Song of Defeat” [‘Not for the lucky warriors, / The winners at Waterloo / Or him of a newer name […] Not for these, Ó Eire / I build in my heart to-day / The lay of your sons and you […] // […] For the woman of Eire keening / For Brian, slain at his tent’]; “Ireland” [‘Ireland, oh Ireland! centre of my longings / Country of my fathers, home of my heart […] Keep me in remembrance, / long leagues apart’]. Further, a later piece on ‘The Irish Drama’ in Vol. X signed C. W. [Charles Welsh] reports that ‘[i]n an article in the Fortnightly Review for Dec. 1901, Mr Stephen Gwynn, the eminent critic, told the story of the Irish Literary Theatre’, and prints his account of the Irish National Dramatic Society, Dec. 1902 [here pp.xiii-xxv] in which Gwynn made references to Yeats, Martyn, Milligan, Moore, Benson, The Laying of the Foundations [Ryan, a long account], McGinley, Fays, Seamas O’Cuisin (Racing Lug, and Sleep of the King); Mrs Chesson [‘he follows on for ever, when all your chase is done, / He follows after shadows, the King of Ireland’s son’ – Connla, the son of Conn Céadcathach]; AE; the impact of Maud Gonne in Yeats’s Cathleen Ni Houlihan. Bio-bibl. notice cites works, Memorials of an Eighteenth Century Portrait Painter; Highways and Bye-ways in Donegal and Antrim; The Repentance of a Private Secretary; The Old Knowledge; The Decay of Sensibility and Other Essays; poems; a collection of stories of fishing experiences; and Masters of English Literature (1904).

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919); born Donegal 1864, ed. St. Columba’s Rathfarnham and Oxford. Nationalist MP for Galway City, 1906-1918; enlisted 1914-18; The Old Knowledge (1901) [Donegal schoolmaster Conroy communes with nature in visions of nature gods of pagan Ireland; fishing and cyling episodes, and home life scenes]; John Maxwell’s Marriage (1903) [tyranny of Protestant colonists and hatred produced in outcast Catholics; forced marriage; scene of realism unsuitable for some readers; hero fights in American revolution and shares in National schemes at home]; The Glades in the Forest (1907) [7 storties about Donegal; ‘The Grip of the Land’ describes small farmer’s struggle and love for bleak fields finding no counterpart in eldest bout set on emigration; pev. in Cornhills and Blackwoods]; Robert Emmet, with map of Dublin in 1803 (1909) [scrupulous fidelity to fact; Quigley, Russell, Hamilton, and Dwyer carefully drawn; vivid picture of the event rather than the personality of Emmet].

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Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), pp.34, 35; cites Irish Books and Irish People (1919) 120p.’ which incl. reprint of essays ‘Novels of Irish Life in the 19th c.’ (1897), and ‘A Century of Irish Humour’ (1901); also Irish Literature and Drama in the English Language, A Short History (1936), in which the relationshop between politics and literature is stressed. Graves says, ‘for the past fifty years I have watched the movement closely […] known most of the leading persons […] [and] tried to help.’ For synopsis of Irish Literature and Drama (1936).

Brian Cleeve & Anne Brady, A Diction ary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985); b. Co Donegal (1864-1950) [err.; and see IF infra.]

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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. I; Irish Books and People (Talbot Press, n.d. [1919 or 20]); Irish Literature and Drama in the English Language: A Short History (London: Nelson 1936). Also ‘excellent reconstruction’, Robert Emmet (1909).

Léon Ó Bróin, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland (1985), godson of O’Brien, served with Connaught Rangers [141]; regarding Yeats’s Cathleen Ni Houlihan, Gwynn wondered if such plays should be produced at all ‘unless one was prepared to go out to shoot and be shot’ [ibid., 41; also A. N. Jeffares, W. B. Yeats, A New Biography (London: Hutchinson 1988), p.121; and see under Gonne].

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Brian Walker, et al., eds., Faces of Ireland (1992) notes that he was b. in Dublin but spent many of his early years in Co. Donegal; ‘Ulster travelogue, Highways and byways in Donegal and Antrim (London); Collected Poems (1923); John Maxwell’s Marriage (Lon 1903), and The Glade of the Forest (Dublin 1907); Experiences of a literary man (London 1926).

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Maunsel & Co. publishing list attached to St. John Ervine, Mrs Martin’s Man, Maunsel, 1915 pop. edn.), incl. notices of The Famous Cities of Ireland by Stephen Gwynn and ill. by Hugh Thompson, Large. Cr. 8vo., gilt Irish design, comapnion to Fair Hills of Ireland carrying further the same idea; Kilkenny espec. associated with resistance to Cromwell, though the varied record of its monuments is rehearsed; also chaps. on Antrim and Maynooth. The Fair Hills of Ireland … record of a ppilgrimage to historic and beautiful places in Ireland, so arranges an idea not only of their physical aspect today, but also the history for which they stand. Plaes have been chosen whose greatest fame was in the days before foreign rule, though often, as at the Boyne, they are associated with the later story of Ireland … whole range of associations is handled … in some measure the whole history of Irish civilisation as it concnered one particular place … continuous idea of Irish life, from … Cyclopean monuments down to the full development of purely Irish civilisation which is typified by the buildings at Cashel … what he student can learn from Native Irish poetry and annals regarding them’; ALSO, Songs of the Irish Brigade, ed. Stephen Gwynn and T. M. Kettle, with notice: ‘This stirring little batch of poems’ (TLS), ‘should be sent to every one of our men at the front - to the English, the Scotch, the Welsh, as well as to the Irish, and to the men from overseas’ (Daily Express, London).

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Cathach Books (Catalogue 12) lists Ireland, Its Places of Beauty, Entertainment, Sport, and Historic Association (London 1927).

Hyland Book (220) Ireland, Its Places of Beauty, Entertainment, Sport, and Historic Association (London 1927).[Kitbag Ser.] (1927), ills. end-pocket map; Ireland in Ten Days (1935); Dublin, Old and New (nd.).

Belfast Public Library lists 20 titles, including works on Swift, Moore, Tennyson, Kingsley, Emmet, Goldsmith, Mrs. Humphrey Ward and Munster (1912); Today and Tomorrow in Ireland (1903). Also John Redmond’s Last Years (1919).

University of Ulster Library, Morris Collection holds The Fair Hills of Ireland (1906); Highways and Byways in Donegal and Antrim (1903).

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Library of Herbert Bell (Belfast) holds The Decay of Sensibility (London 1900); Today and Tomorrow in Ireland (Dublin 1903); A Holiday in Connemara (London 1909); Robert Emmet (Dublin 1909); The Fair Hills of Ireland (Dublin 1914); ill. by H[ugh] Thompson; The History of Ireland (London 1923); Garden Wisdom (Dublin 1921); For Second Reading (Dublin 1918); Irish Books and Irish People (Dublin n.d.); The Charm of Ireland (London 1927), ill. various Irish artists; The Life of Sir Walter Scott (London 1930); Ireland in Ten Days (London 1935); Irish Literature & Drama (London 1936); Memories of Enjoyment (Tralee 1946); Ulster (London 1911), ill. by A Williams.

Coleraine Bookshop holds edn. of Highways and By-ways that contains a post-war appendix.

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Notes
Recruiting: Battle Songs of the Irish Brigades, collected by Stephen L. Gwynn and Thomas Kettle (Maunsel 1915), 33pp. Note that Capt. Stephen Gwynn appealed to Shaw on behalf of the Irish Recruiting Council in 1918 (see John O’Donovan, Shaw and the Charlatan Genius, 1965).

Congested: Stephen Gwynn describes the Congested District Board and Rev. Green as bringers of ‘sweetness and light’ to the wild seaboard (Today and Tomorrow in Ireland, 1903; cited in Patrick Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty, 1976, p.23).

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W. B. Yeats blocked the appointment of William Starkey (Seumus O’Sullivan) as literary adviser to Maunsel & Co., in favour of Stephen Gwynn and in spite of Russell’s support for the former. ( See A. N. Jeffares, W. B. Yeats, A New Biography, London: Hutchinson 1988, p.153.)

Colleagues &c.: Gwynn’s introduction to C. H. Rolleston’s biography of his father, T. W. Rolleston (1939), includes remarks on Rolleston [see RX] and others, including Horace Plunkett with whom he had a ‘worked closely’ during the Irish Convention of 1917. See also encomiastic note under Patrick Hogan, infra.

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Play riot: Stephen Gwynn reported the premier of [Sean O’Casey’s] The Plough and the Stars for The Observer, 12, Feb. 1926: ‘twenty ardent young women and a few young men did their best to pull the curtains down, swinging from them and kicking over the floodlights.’ (Cited in Daniel Chambers, MADip Dissertation, UU, 2000.)

Kith & Kin (I): Stephen Gwynn’s sister Mary married Henry Bowen in 1918, some years after the death of his wife Florence. (See Patricia Craig, Elizabeth Bowen, Penguin 1986, p.44; Craig calls Mary the dg. of a Clontarf doctor - but cf. Life, supra.)

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Kith & Kin (II): Edward John Gwynn (1868-1941), brother of Stephen, became provost of Trinity College, while Robert Malcolm Gwynn, another, became senior dean.

Portrait of Stephen Gwynn, by Walter Osborne; see Anne Crookshank, Irish Portraits (Ulster Mus. 1965).

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