Hannah Lynch (1862-1904)

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
b. Dublin, ed. as Catholic; joined Ladies’ Land League, and closely associated with Fanny Parnell; published United Ireland from Paris on its suppression in Ireland; lived in Spain, Greece - speaking Greek - and France; issued travel books, translations, and novels including Through Troubled Waters (1885); The Prince of the Glades (1891), called a tale of the Fenians and centred on a character based on Anna Parnell; Daughters of Men (1892), a melodrama, and Rosni Harvey (1892), the latter two both set in Greece;
 
issued Jinny Blake (1897), the story of an idealistic new woman’s girlhood; also An Odd Experiment (1897), the story of a woman who morally reclaims her husband’s mistress and sets up a domestic threesome;issued Clare Monroe: Autobiography of A Child (1899), orig. published in Blackwood’s Magazine, 1898-99, an account of an abused Catholic girlhood in Dublin, purportedly dictated by the narrator Angela to Lynch; she contrib. to the Academy from Paris; d. Paris, 9 Jan. 1904. JMC IF DIW SUTH [not in ATT]

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Works
Fiction
  • Defeated: A Tale [Beeton's Christmas Annual] (London: London : Ward, Lock & Co. 1885]), 188pp. [containing also two original drawing room plays ... by C. J. Hamilton ... [&] R. André];
  • Through Troubled Waters: A Novel (London: Ward, Lock & Co. [1886]), [2], viii, 460, [14] p. ; 8º. 188pp., 8°;
  • The Princes of the Glades: A Novel, 2 vols. (London1891), 8°;
  • George Meredith: A Study (London: Metheun & Co. 1891), x, [2], 170pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls.; port.], 8°;
  • Rosni Harvey: A Novel, 3 vols. (London: Chapman & Hall 1892), 8°;
  • Daughters of Men: A Novel (London: William Heinemann 1892), 380pp.;
  • Denys D'Auvrillac: A Story of French Life (London 1896);
  • Dr. Vermont's Fantasy and Other Stories (London: London : J.M. Dent & Co. 1896), 334pp., 8°/19cm.
  • Jinny Blake: A Tale (London: J. M. Dent & Co. 1897), 316pp., 8°;
  • An Odd Experiment (London: Methuen & Co., 1897), 285pp.
  • Clare Monro: The Story of a Mother and Daughter [Milne's Express Ser.] (London: J. Milne [1896]), 8°, and Do. [reiss.] (1900), 183pp.
  • [as anon.,] Autobiography of a Child (Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons 1899), vi, 299pp., 8° [ NSTC 0028770];
Miscellaneous
  • trans., The History of Florence under the Domination of Cosimo, Piero, Lorenzo de' Médicis, 1434-1492, by F.-T Perrens Vol. 1, (London: Methuen & Co. 1892), viii, 475pp., 23cm.;
  • trans., The History of Florence from the Domination of the Medici to the Fall of the Republic: 1434-1531, by F.-T. Perrens ... Translated from the French by Hannah Lynch (London: Methuen & Co. 1892), xii, 475, [1]pp.. 8°.
  • trans., The Great Galeoto. Folly or Saintliness. Two plays done from the verse of José Echegaray into English prose by H. Lynch (London: John Lane 1895), xxxvi, 1896), 4°.
  • Toledo: The Story of an Old Spanish Capital, by Hannah Lynch, illustrated by Helen M. James [Mediaeval Town Ser.] (London: J. M. Dent & Co. 1898), viii, 311pp., ill. [pls., front. port.; fold. plan], 18cm.; Do. [rep. edn.] (London: Dent 1903), 17cm.
  • French Life in Town and Country [Our Neighbours Ser.] (London: Dawson 1901), 8°, and Do. [2nd. edn.] (London: George Lewnes 1901), ill., 260pp.;
  • trans., MediŠval French Literature, by Gaston Paris [Temple Primers] (London 1903), 15cm.
Note: The above is a full listing of attributed titles on COPAC [online; accessed 28.11.2010.]

Criticism
J. W. Foster, Irish Novels 1890-1940: New Bearings in Culture and Fiction (Oxford UP 2008), Intro., pp.12, 119, 126, 130, 206, 429, 472 [[brief mentions]; Autobiography of a Child, 29, 276-79; Daughters of Men, 110 n27, 313; French Life in Town and Country, 278, 279, 280; “The Spaniard at Home”, 278-79.

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Commentary
J. W. Foster, Irish Novels 1890-1940: New Bearings in Culture and Fiction (Oxford UP 2008), writing on Lynch's Autobiography of a Child, 276-79: ‘Artistic ability and ambition aside, the Irish girl is still disadvantaged. This too is part of the Condition of Ireland that caught the attention of the fiction writers. Angela [the first person narrator] recalls being told of the arrival of a new baby in the house and remarks (with a curious demographic spin): “another lamentable little girl born into this improvident dolorous vale of Irish misery. Elsewhere boys are born in plenty. In Ireland, - the very wretchedest land on earth for woman, the one spot on the globe where no provision is made for her [..., &c.”’ - as given under Quotations, infra. [Cont.]

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J. W. Foster (Irish Novels 1890-1940, 2008) - cont.: ‘Lynch implies that a different and harsher set of circumstances obtained among Irish middle-class Catholic families [than in Britain], and which constituted a dark crevice of Irish life she felt constrainted, as a traveller and self-taught observer, to expose to the light; I know no modern dedicated study of Irish Irish Catholic middle-class life in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. / In case we are tempted to dismiss the narrator’s remarks in Autobiography on he gorunds that she is after all a fictional persona, we need ony read a passage of [her] essay published in Blackwood's the month before the first installment of Autobiography. In “The Spaniard at Home” [1889], which includes [...] a marvellous passage on her reaction to two bullfights, she is of course particularly interested in the upbringing of girls and decides that [if] only were she content with “the wadded atmosphere of a pussy cat [...] not free to live or think for myself [...]”; she would “choose to be an over-loved Spanish girl [...] the spoiled idiot of humanity [...; &c.]”. Foster goes on to quote ‘the swelling period of the next sentence’ dealing directly with the conditions of life for Irish girls [...]”’ - as cited under Quotations, infra. [Cont.]

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J. W. Foster (Irish Novels 1890-1940, 2008) - cont.: Foster calls her a travel-writer cum social anthropologist whose detailed observations encourage our willingness to accept their truth. He also notices her French Life in Town and Country, in which she remarks on the misplaced contempt of Irish women for Paris fashion, and quotes her surprise on returning to Ireland on finding that female Irish tradespeople even in small towns 'dressed daily like Solomon never waws in all his glory, with tailor-made gowns of ten and twelve guineas, with high and haught manners to bewilder a princess of the blood, the one cutting the other, Heaven only knows on what assumption of superiority, and all hastening from their counters in smart turn-outs, duly to subscribe their names to the list of the Queen's visitors. I felt like Rip Van Winkle, as if I had waked in my native land, and found everyone gon made with pride and pretension.' (French Life, p.159;; Foster, 279pp.).

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Quotations
The Spaniard at Home” [article], in Blackwood’s Magazine (Sept. 1898) - remarks on condition of Irish girls: ‘[...] When one studes the problems elsewhere, and sees the unmerited misery of the daughters of Ireland, the coldness, inhumanity, and selfishness of the Irish mother to her girls of every class, the monstrous way in which the girls are sacrificed to their brothers, left without edxucation that these may play the gentleman, deprived of the enjoyments and pretty fripperies of girlhood, the money that might have helped to establish them squandered by the most heartless and least sacrificing of partents on the face of the earth, and nothing left the unfortunate girls byt penury and struggle and the dull old maidenhood of full and narrow Irish towns and villages, one forced by sympathy to greet the excessive devotion of the Spanish mothers and lamentable spoiling of the Spanish daughters with indulgence.’ (p.354; quoted in J. W. Foster, Irish Novels 1890-1940: New Bearings in Culture and Fiction, Oxford: OUP 2008, pp.278-79; see remarks under Foster, as supra.)

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Autobiography of an Irish Girl (1899) - on the treatment of girls in Irish Catholic families: ‘[...A]nother lamentable little girl born into this improvident dolorous vale of Irish misery. Elsewhere boys are born in plenty. In Ireland, - the very wretchedest land on earth for woman, the one spot on the globe where no provision is made for her, and where parents consider themselves as exempt of all duty, of tenderness, of justice in her regard, where her lot as daughter, wife, and old maid bears no resemblance to the ideal of civilisation, - a dozen girls are born for one boy. The parents moan, and being fatalists as well as Catholics, reflect that it is the will of God, as if they were not in the least responsible; and while they assure you that they have not wherewith to fill an extra mouth, which is inevitably true, they continue to produce their twelve, fifteen, or twenty infants with alarming, and incredible indifference. This is Irish virtue. The army of inefficient Irish governesses and starving illiterature Irish teachers cast upon the Continent, forces one to lament a virtue whose results are so heartless and so deplorable. (pp.196-97; quoted in J. W. Foster, op. cit., 2008, pp.277-78; see remarks and further quotations under Foster, as supra.)

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References
Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), b. Dublin; lived in Spain, Greece, and France; novels incl. Prince of the Glades; Dr Vermont’s Fantasy; Denus D’Anvrillac; Trhough Troubled Waters, Daughters of Men; Rosni Harvey;, Jinny Blake; An Odd Experiment; Clare Monroe, and The Autobiography of a Child, which excited interest when serialised in Blackwood’s; since serialised in French Review; contributor to magazines, Paris corresponded of The Academy, and wrote ‘Toledo’ in Medieval Towns ser. and French Life in Town and Country; d. Paris, 9 Jan. 1904. JMC Selects long extract, ‘A village Sovereign’ [no source] here pp.2088-2105.

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), b. Dublin; Through Troubled Waters (1885); Autobiography of a Child (1899); also, Dr. Vermont’s Fantasy; Daughters of Men; Jimmy Blake; Clare Monroe; a book on Toledo, and French Life in Town and Country; Prince of the Glades is a story of Fenianism. She was assoc. with Anna Parnell in the Ladies’ Land League. Note: Brown refers to Autobiography of A Child (1899) as a literary curiosity, purporting to be the life of an abused Dublin girl, dictated to Lynch - a description implicitly challenged by J. W. Foster in Irish Novels 1890-1940 (1008) - as infra.

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John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Longmans 1988; rep. 1989), [life as supra]; Paris contrib. to Academy; her fiction is the vehicle for her political convictions; Through Troubled Waters (1885); The Prince of the Glades (1891), a story of Fenianism; Daughters of Men (1892), wild melodrama in Greece; Jinny Blake (1897), an idealistic new woman’s girlhood; An Odd Experiment (1897), the story of a woman who morally reclaims her husband’s mistress and sets up a domestic threesome; Rosni Harvey (1892), also in Greece. BL 10.

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National Library of Ireland holds also holds Autobiography of a Child (1899), French Life in Town and Country (1901), and Toledo (1898).

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Notes
Douglas Hyde: Hyde met Hannah Lynch on 9 Dec. 1887 and listed Defeated as hers and part of his library. (See Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde, 1974, p.92.)

Namesake: Hannah Louise Lynch, author of A Study of cross-Pennine Interaction During the Neolithic (Newcastle-upon-Tyne Univ. 2007), xi, 468pp., ill., 30cm [+ CD ROM].

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