Edward Pakenham

Life
1902-1961 [usu. Lord Longford; Edward Arthur Henry; 6th Earl of Longford; affectionately known as ‘the Lord’]; grew up in Oxfordshire; succeeded as Earl of Longford and Baron Longford (Ireland) and Baron Silchester (UK) on death of father was killed at Gallipoli, 1915; classical scholar, ed., Eton and Christ Church, Oxford; translator of Molière and Beaumarchais; m. Christine Trew [Lady Packenham - q.v.]; inherited family seat of Pakenham Hall, now called Tullynally, Castlepollard, Co. Longford; returned to Ireland and learned Irish; became a Gate Theatre Board member, 1931, following his purchase of remaining shares for £1,200;

his plays incl. Melians (1931); Carmilla (3 May 1932) - based on the ‘first’ vampire story of J S. Le Fanu; also Yahoo (1934), on Swift, and Ascendancy (1935); fnd. Longford Productions, 1936, leasing Gate Theatre six months annually; brings his own Armlet of Jade (1936) and Eugene O’Neill’s Ah Wilderness to Westminster Th., London in first season, transferring to Ambassador’s Th., 1935; and The Vineyard (1943); host at Tullynally to John Betjeman, Evelyn Waugh, and others; TCD LLD (honoris causa) 1954; UCD LLD, 1956; member of Seanad Eireann, 1946-48; Director of Bovril (Éire); d. 4 Feb. DIW DIB DIH DIL OCIL

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Works
Plays (Published), Armlet of Jade (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1935), 70pp.; Ascendancy: A Drama of 19th century Ireland in Three Acts (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1935), 70pp.; The Oresteia of Aischylos, trans. into English verse by the Earl of Longford and Christine Longford (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1933), 149pp.; [Molière,] The School for Wives: Being a translation in English verse by the Earl of Longford, [... &c.] (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1948), 56pp.; The Vineyard, Being the Story of Elijah, Ahab & Jezebel: A Drama in Three Acts (Dublin: Hoddges Figgis [1943]), 74pp.; Yahoo: A Tragedy in Three Acts (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1934), 65pp., and Do. [rep.] in Curtis Canfield, ed. Plays of Changing Ireland (NY 1936).

Poetry, Poems from the Irish (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis; Oxford: Blackwell 1944), x, 76pp.; More Poems from the Irish (Oxford: Blackwell; Dublin; Hodges Figgis & Co. 1945), x, 64pp.; The Dove in the Castle: A Collection of Poems from the Irish (Dublin: Hodges Figgis; Oxford: Blackwell 1946), 218pp.

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Criticism
John Cowell, No Profit But the Name:The Longfords at the Gate Theatre (O’Brien Press 1989), 224pp. [with index]; Micháel Mac Liammóir, All for Hecuba: An Irish Theatrical Autobiography (London: Methuen 1946), pp.170-76, 307. See also D. E. S. Maxwell, Modern Irish Drama (Cambridge UP 1984). There are contemp. remarks in The Irish Book Lover, Vols. 24, 30.

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Commentary
Denis Ireland, An Irish Shore (1939), contains an extended commentary on the play Ascendancy, by Lord Longford, viz.: ‘first act set in Castle [?]Clonare just before Catholic Emancipation, drags a little, but the second, in the library during a ball, is a perfect exhibition of stage setting and movement; here as in the Cherry orchard, one can examine as in a test tube the sots whom history uses as the unconscious agents of revolution. This aristocratic harradans, the horsey young women and their claret swilling beaux are the very stuff out of which revolution is made.’ [142]

Micháel Mac Liammóir, All for Hecuba: An Irish Theatrical Autobiography (London: Methuen 1946), writes: ‘We played [Christine’s Jiggins of Jigginstown] happily for a few weeks until the failure of the public to understand Edward’s magnificent translation of the Agamemnon as well as Denis Johnston’s Bride for the Unicorn, plunged us into gloom once more. It was not a merely financial gloom. Edward had nobly stood over the losses of Agamemnon, and he was ready with a loan for the Johnston play, which with all its obscurity had a quality of such insight and beauty that it made one revere [...] the plunging ecstasy of the poet's mind more than anything he had dome before or since’. (p. 173; quoted in Loradona Salis, infra.)

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Lord Dunsany My Ireland, 1937), writes of Longford Productions as ‘the child of the Gate’, though ‘one would better convey the relation between them by saying that the Longford Players were a heresy broken off from the Gate, as the Gate was heretical to the Abbey.’ ( p.260.)

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Loradana Salis (UUC, DPhil Research): When the two-year-old Gate Theatre, founded by Micháel Mac Liammóir and Hilton Edwards, ran into financial difficulties in 1931, Lord Longford offered to buy the outstanding shares. The arrangement lasted until 1936, when, following disagreements, the company was divided in two, Gate Company and Longford Players. Each company had six months in the theatre and six months touring. The Longford Players visited small towns as well as provincial cities and stimulated an extensive amateur drama movement in rural Ireland; their repertoire included several original plays by Lord Longford and his translations from French and Greek drama. His most successful play was Yahoo (1933), based on the life of Swift; others were The Medians (1931), Carmilla (1932), Ascendancy (1935), Armlet of Jade (1936), and The Vineyard (1943). From the beginning of his association he contributed generously to the funds of the Gate and Longford companies from his private means. He also translated a number of Irish poems, among them Brian Merriman’s “Midnight Court”. Member of Seanad Éireann on de Valera’s nomination 1946-48. MRIA 1952, and member of the IAL. Received honorary DLitt from University of Dublin and NUI. In 1956, when Dublin City Council condemned the Gate Theatre building, he collected for a restoration fund in the streets of Dublin and at the theatre door each night; the building was restored largely at his expense. Died in Dublin, 4 February 1961. Bibl., A Dictionary of Irish Biography, Henry Boylan (ed.), Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 1998. (Information received, Nov. 2002.)

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Quotations
Brotherhood: ‘My brother Frank lives in England and has become a pillar of the British political establishment, but is seen over here as an Irish patriot. I, on the other hand, live here and have given whatever talent I possess to the Irish language, Irish literature, and especially the Irish theatre – to which I’ve devoted my fortune. But I’m still regarded as a West Briton.’ (Cited by Sean MacReamoinn in The Irish Times, Jan. 1994; see under Frank Pakenham, infra.)

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References
John Montague, ed., Faber Book of Irish Verse (London: Faber 1974) gives his translations of dánta grádha appear.

COPAC also lists Captain [Edward] Pakenham’s invention of a substitute for a lost rudder, and to prevent its being lost. Also a method of restoring the masts of ships, when wounded, or otherwise injured (1793, rep. 1990); How To Do It: A Brewing of Fragrant Blossoms Gathered from the Broad Acres of the World, collected, arranged and published by the Hon. Lady [Caroline Matilda] Pakenham and Mrs. E. Winslow, with trans. by Mrs. James Lyle and Mrs. F. S. Constable (1899); A Narrative of the Campaigns of the British Army at Washington and New Orleans, under Generals Ross, Pakenham and Lambert, in the years 1814 and 1815 [..]By an officer who served in the expedition [G. R. Gleig] (1821); Pakenham Letters, 1800 to 1815 [consisting mainly of letters written by Sir Edward Michael Pakenham], ed. Edited by Thomas Pakenham, Earl of Longford (1914);

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Notes
3 Sisters: Longford’s production of The Three Sisters was the occasion of a correspondence in the Irish Times by Brian O’Nolan [Flann O’Brien] and friends, commencing with an enquiry from ‘H.P.’ as to why Dubliners were not prepared to support it (n.d.; see Anthony Cronin, No Laughing Matter, 1989, p.119.)

Who what?: Longford appears in Who Was Who, 1967, but not Who Is Who, 1960.

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