William Sharp (1855-1905)


Life
[pseud. “Fiona MacLeod”]; b. Paisley; ed. Glasgow; lawyer’s office, 1874-76; travelled in Australia, 1876-78; London clerk, 1878-91; wrote life of Rossetti (1882); Sea-Music: An Anthology of Poems (1887); Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy (1888); lives of Shelley (1887), Heine (1888), and Browning (1889); The Children of Tomorrow (1889); visited Canada and America, 1889, Scotland and Germany and Rome, 1890; Life of Joseph Severn (1892); began to write mystical prose as “Fiona MacLeod”, 1893;
 
issued Pharais: A Romance of the Isles (1894); The Sin Eater, Celtic Tales (1895); wrote introduction to an edition of the poems of Arnold, 1896; heavily involved with Yeats and others in attempting to set up the Order of Celtic Mysteries, to be based at Lough Key; Sharp and MacLeod constantly addressed as different people by Yeats and Maud Gonne during this period; Yeats also sought his assistance in founding the Irish Literary Theatre; plays incl. The House of Usna (1900), and The Immortal Hour (1900);
 
Sharp kept his pseud. a secret until his death when the Who’s Who entry for Fiona MacLeod mysterious ceased also; notwithstanding which, a uniform edition of Fiona MacLeod’s works appeared in 1910; he was the author of the well-known line, ‘My heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill’. ODNB OCEL SUTH OCIL

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Works

  • Poems of Ossian, notes & introduction by William Sharp (Edinburgh: John Grant 1926);
  • Celtic: A Study in Spiritual History, with a new foreword [“The Bibelot”, Vol. 7, No. 11] (Portland, Maine: Thomas B. Mosher 1901), q.pp. [[8º];
  • E. A. Sharp & J. Mattay, eds., Lyra Celtica: An Anthology of Representative Celtic Poetry, edited by E. A. Sharp & J. Matthay, with Introduction & Notes by William Sharp, Ancient Irish, Alban, Gaelic, Breton, Cymric, And Modern Scottish and Irish Celtic Poetry [1st Edn. 1896; 2nd. edn., rev. & enl. 1924] (Edinburgh: John Grant [31 George IV Bridge] 1932), lii, 450pp. [contents].
Articles
  • William Sharp, Fiona McLeod & Neil Monro, ‘Recent Celtic Experiments in English Literature’, in Blackwood’s Magazine, 1 CLIX (May 1896), pp.716-29 [for his view of poems by W. B. Yeats; see under Quotations, infra].
Rep. editions [&c.]
  • Elizabeth Sutherland, ed., The Gold Key and the Green Life: Some Fantasies and Celtic Tales [by] George MacDonald, Fiona Macleod (London: Constable 1987);
  • Godeleine Carpentier, et al., trans., Deirdre et la renaissance celtique: Fiona MacLeod [“La Maison d’Usna”], George William Russell, William Butler Yeats (La Gacilly: Artus 1990), 189pp.

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Bibliographical details
Lyra Celtica: An Anthology of Representative Celtic Poetry, edited by E. A. Sharp & J. Matthay, With Introduction and Notes by William Sharp, Ancient Irish, Alban, Gaelic, Breton, Cymric, And Modern Scottish and Irish Celtic Poetry [1st Edn. 1896; 2nd. edn., rev. & enl. 1924; rep. 1932] [The Celtic Library; printed in Great Britain by Oliver and Boyd Ltd., Edinburgh] (Edinburgh: John Grant [31 George IV Bridge] 1932), lii, 450pp. [Epigraph:] “... a troubled Eden , rich / In throb of heart. ...” (George Meredith). CONTENTS: Introduction by Wm. Sharp; NOTES by Wm. Sharp. ANCIENT IRISH AND SCOTTISH ANCIENT ERSE: The Mystery of Amergin; The Song of Fionn ; Credhe’s Lament; Cuchullin in his Chariot; Deirdrë’s Lament for the Sons of Usnach; The Lament of Queen Maev; The March of the Faërie Host; Vision of a Fair Woman; The Fian Banners. OLD GAELIC: The Rune of St Patrick. SAINT COLUMBA; Columcille cecenit; Columcille fecit; The Song of Murdoch the Monk. DOMHNULL MAC FHIONNAIADH; “The Aged Bard’s Wish”; Ossian Sang; Fingal and Ros-crana; The Night-Song of the Bards; The Death-Song of Ossian. ANCIENT CORNISH: The Pool of Pilate; Merlin the Diviner; The Vision of Seth. EARLY ARMORICAN: The Dance of the Sword; The Lord Nann and the Fairy; Alain the Fox; Bran. EARLY CYMRIC AND MEDIÆVAL WELSH: The Soul. LLYWARC’H HËN; The Gorwynion; The Tercets of Llywarc’h. TALIESIN, Song to the Wind. ANEURIN, Odes of the Months. DAFYDD AP GWILYM, The Summer; To the Lark. RHYS GOCH (of ERYR), To the Fox. RHYS GOCH AP RHICCART, The Song of the Thrush. IRISH (MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY): “A.E.”, Sacrifice; The Great Breath; Mystery; Bi the-Margin of the Great Deep; The Breath of Light. WILLIAM ALLINGHAM., Aolian Harp; The Fairies. THOMAS BOYD, To the Lianhaun Shee. EMILY BRONTË, Remembrance. STOPFORD A. BROOKE, The Earth and Man; Song. JOHN K. CASEY, Maire, my Girl; Gracie Og Machree. GEORGE DARLEY, Dirge. AUBREY DE VERE, The Little Black Rose; Epitaph. FRANCIS FAHY, Killiney Far Away. SIR SAMUEL FERGUSON, Cean Dubh Deelish; Molly Asthore; The Fair Hills of Ireland . ALFRED PERCIVAL GRAVES, Herring is King; The Rose of Kenmare; The Song of the Pratee; Irish Lullaby. GERALD GRIFFIN , Eileen Aroon. NORA HOPPER, The Dark Man; April in Ireland ; The Wind among the Reeds. DOUGLAS HYDE, My Grief on the Sea; The Cooleen; The Breedyeen; Nelly of the Top-Knots; I shall not Die for Thee. LIONEL JOHNSON, The Red Wind, To Morfydd. DENIS FLORENCE MACCARTHY, A Lament. JAMES CLARENCE MANGAN, The Fair Hills of Eiré, O!; Dark Rosaleen; The One Mystery. ROSA MULHOLLAND, The Wild Geese. RODEN NOEL, Lament for a Little Child; The Swimmer; The Dance; From “The Water-Nymph and the Boy”; A Casual Song; The Pity of it; The Old. CHARLES P. O’CONOR, Maura Du of Ballyshannon. JOHN FRANCIS O’DONNELL, A Spinning Song. JOHN BOYLE O’REILLY, A White Rose. ARTHUR O’SHAUGHNESSY, The Fountain of Tears. FANNY PARNELL, After Death. T. W. ROLLESTON, The Dead at Clonmacnois. DORA SIGIERSON, Unknown Ideal. GEORGE SIGERSON, Mo Cáilin Donn. JOHN TODHUNTER, An Irish Love Song; The Sunburst; Song. KATHERINE TYNAN, Winter Sunset; Shamrock Song; Wild Geese. CHARLES WEEKES, Dreams, Poppies. W. B. YEATS, They went forth to the Battle , but they always fell ; The White Birds; The Lake of Innisfree. SCOTO-CELTIC (MIDDLE PERIOD) / LATER GAELIC: Prologue to “Gaul”; In Hebrid Seas ; Cumha Ghriogair Mhic Griogair; Drowned. ALEXANDER MACDONALD, The Manning of the Birlinn. ANGUS MACKENZIE, The Lament of the Deer. DUNCAN BÀN MACINTYRE, Ben Dorain; The Hill-Water. MARY MACLEOD, Song for Macleod of Macleod. MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY SCOTO-CELTIC: Monaltri; An Coineachan-A Highland Lullaby; A Boat Song. JOHN STUART BLACKIE, The Old Soldier of the Gareloch Head. ROBERT BUCHANAN; Flower of the World; The Strange Country; The Dream of the World without Death; The Faëry Foster-Mother. LORD BYRON, When We Two Parted; Stanzas for Music. CRO’ CHAILLEAN, Colin’s Cattle; MacCrimmon’s Lament. IAN CAMERON, Song. JOHN DAVIDSON, A Loafer; In Romney Marsh. JEAN GLOVER, O’er the Muir amang the Heather. GEORGE MACDONALD, Song. RONALD CAMPBELL MACFIE, Song. WILLIAM MACDONALD, A Spring Trouble. AMICE MACDONELL, Culloden Moor . ALICE C. MACDONELL, The Weaving of the Tartan. WILLIAM MACGILLIVRAY, The Thrush’s Song. FIONA MACLEOD, The Prayer of Women; The Rune of Age; A Milking Song; Lullaby. The Songs of Ethlenn Stuart; The Closing Doors; The Sorrow of Delight. NORMAN MACLEOD, Farewell to Fiunary. SARAH ROBERTSON MATHESON, A Kiss of the King’s Hand; DUGALD MOORE, The First Ship. LADY CAROLINE NAIRNE, The Land o’ the Leal. ALEXANDER NICOLSON, Skye. SIR NOËL PATON, Midnight by the Sea; In Shadowland. WILLIAM RENTON , Mountain Twilight. LADY JOHN SCOTT, Durisdeer. EARL OF SOUTHESK, November’s Cadence. JOHN CAMPBELL SHAIRP, Cailleach Bein-y-Vreich. UNA URQUHART, An Old Tale of Three. ANON., Lost Love. CONTEMPORARY ANGLO-CELTIC POETS ( WALES ): GEORGE MEREDITH, Dirge in Woods; Outer and Inner; Night of Frost in May; Hymn to Colour. SEBASTIAN EVANS, Shadows. EBENEZER JONES, When the World is Burning, The Hand. EMILY DAVIS, A Song of Winter. ERNEST RHYS, The Night Ride; The House of Hendra. CONTEMPORARY ANGLO-CELTIC POETS (MANX): T. E. BROWN, The Childhood of Kitty of the Sherragh Vane. HALL CAINE, Graih my Chree. CONTEMPORARY ANGLO-CELTIC POETS (CORNISH): A. T. QUILLER COUCH, The Splendid Spur; The White Moth. STEPHEN HAWKER, Featherstone’s Doom; Trebarrow. RICCARDO STEPHENS, Witch Margaret; A Ballad; Hell’s Piper. MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY BRETON / MEDÆVAL BRETON: The Poor Clerk; The Cross by the Way. LATER BRETON: The Secrets of the Clerk; Love Song. HERVË-NOËL LE BRETON, Hymn to Sleep; The Burden of Lost Souls. VILLIERS DE L’ISLE-ADAM, Confession; Discouragement. LECONTE DE LISLE, The Black Panther; The Spring. LEO-KERMORVAN, The Return of Taliesen. LOUIS TIERCELIN, By Menec’hi Shore. THE CELTIC FRINGE: BLISS CARMAN, Song; The War-Song of Gmelbar; Golden Rowan; A Sea Child. ELLEN MACKAY HUTCHINSON ; The Quest; Moth Song; June. HUGH M’CULLOCH, Scent o’ Pines. DUNCAN CAMPBELL SCOTT, The Reed-Player. THOMAS D’ARCY M’GEE, The Celtic Cross. MARY C. G. BYRON, The Tryst of the Night. ALICE E. GILLINGTON, The Doom-Bar; The Seven Whistlers. SHANE LESLIE, Requiem. PADRAIC COLUM, An Old Woman of the Roads; A Cradle Song. JAMES STEPHENS, The Coolun; The Clouds. ELEANOR HULL, The Old Woman of Beare. THOMAS MACDONAGH, From a “Litany of Beauty”. SEOSAMH MACCATHMHAOIL, I will go with my Father a-ploughing; A Northern Love Song. PATRICK MACGILL, Fairy Workers. FRANCIS LEDWIDGE, The Shadow People; My Mother. GORDON BOTTOMLEY, Lyric from “The Crier by Night”. JAMES H. COUSINS, The Quest. PADRUIC H. PEARSE, The Fool, LORD DUNSANY, The Return of Song. KENNETH MACLEOD; Dance to your Shadow; Sea Longing; The Reiving Ship. MARJORY KENNEDY-FRASER, Land of Heart ’s Desire; Ossian’s Midsummer Day-Dream; Kishmul’s Galley. AGNES MURE MACKENZIE, Aignish on the Machair. NEIL MUNRO, Fingal’s Weeping. [Source: Sundown Shores website [online; accessed 10.05.2002].

There is an archive of works and editions by William Sharp/Fiona MacLeod at Sundown Shores website, online.

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Criticism
Cornelius Weygandt, ‘Fiona MacLeod’, Chap. IX, Irish Plays and Playwrights [[facs. of 1913 1st edn.] (NY: Greenwood 1979), pp.252-96; Qry, E. A. Sharp, William Sharp (q.d.) [cited in Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks, 1948, p.76, &c.].

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Commentary
Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Mask (1948): ‘so seriously did Sharp take the pseudonym, so fully did he assume in 1894 h personality of Fiona MacLeod, that he wrote under hr name books in a style different from his own, sent letters to her for friends in a feminine handwriting, complained to friends who wrote to her that they never wrote to him, and eventually almost collapsed under the double life.’ (p.77); not also remarks on Yeats’s invitation to Sharp to supply plays for the nascent Irish Literary Theatre (p.132).

A. N. Jeffares, W B Yeats, A New Biography (1988), In 1897 [Yeats] had discussed possible rituals with William Sharp who had been visiting Coole. Sharp, earlier a member of Rossetti’s circle in London, had begun a double life, writing about Celtic spirituality under the name of Fiona MacLeod, a persona he invented, a Highland lady living a remote life. Neither Yeats nor George Russell suspected that Fiona MacLeod was a pseudonym; indeed when Sharp died in Dec. 1905 his wife wrote to Yeats to say that her husband, and he only, ‘was and wrote as, Fiona MacLeod’.

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J. M. Synge, review of The Winged Destiny in The Academy of Literature (12 Nov. 1904): ‘in the Winged destiny Miss Fiona MacLeod uses once more the rather ambitious style she has been building up in her more recent books. This style has met with a good deal of admiration, and, in many passages, it has, there is no doubt, an elaborate music that can only be attained by writers with a fine ear and a good command of the vocal elements of language. Yet unfortunately, while many of the sentences she delights in are so constructed that they can only be read slowly, their forma and meaning do not satisfy when dwelt on. ... And one ends with a feeling of uneasiness and distrust instead of the peculiarly intimate sympathy which a work of this kind. With the matter one does not get on a great deal better. [... &c.]’ Further notes the contents, incl. studies and stories dealing with ‘more mystical side of Highland life ... of considerable interest [but] rather too much ... esoteric platitude’; also a collection of essays on various writers of the Irish movement and similar subjects; ‘some of these essays are judicious and sympathetic, and quietly written, but they have no very particular merit as contributions to criticism, and they do not show a very great surety of taste’; finally, ‘In the whole book one sympathises most, perhpas, with the keen feeling apparent in it - beneath the details of which one cannot approve - for the islands of Scotland, other out-of-the-way places, and those who live in them.’ (Reprinted in Synge, Coll. Works, Vol. II, Prose, ed. Alan Price, pp.388-89.)

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W. B. Yeats, review of From the Hills of Dream, in Bookman (Dec. 1896), and The Dominion of Dreams in Bookman (July 1899). ‘Other writers are busy with the way men and women act in sorrow or in joy, but Miss Macleod has re-discovered the art of the myth-maker, and gives a visible shape to joys and sorrows and makes them seem realities and men and women illusions.’ (July 1899; cited in John P. Frayne, ed., Uncoll. Prose, 1970; Pref., p.72.) Frayne further notes that Yeats wrote in a letter how he met Sharp in London and ‘hated his red British face of flaccid contentment’ (Wade, p.43); and seems to have discovered the double-identity shortly before his death, regarding the writings of Mcleod as genuine products of trance-like vision in which a separate personality spoke through Sharp. (Intro. note, ‘Miss Fiona Macleod as a Poet’ [review], Uncoll. Prose, 1970, p.421.)

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Anne O’Connor, review of Elizabeth Sutherland, ed., The Gold Key and the Green Life: Some Fantasies and Celtic Tales [by] George MacDonald, Fiona Macleod (1987), in Books Ireland (May 1987), notes that McLeod/Sharp was called ‘an absurd object’ by Lady Gregory; passion for Western Highlands and oral trads. of people of north-west Scotland; eschewed ‘sterilising effect of Calvinism’ and professed himself a pagan dedicated to ‘the Green Life’; wrote, ‘don’t despise me when I say that I am in some things more a woman than a man’; Macleod emerged the psyche of William Sharp in 1893; a third personality, Wilfion, was the name given by Elizabeth, the wife of Sharp, and called by her ‘the inner and third Self that lay behind the dual expression’; William Sharp disclosed the dual identity in posthumous letter to his friends; works incl. “The Washer of the Ford”, based on Scottish bean nighe traditions, and Cathal of the Wood in “Annir-Choille”, called by Yeats ‘one of the most vital things written by him’; Sutherland states: ‘Fiona Macleod, who existed and yet did not exist, is the embodiment of Sharp’s mythology.’ (Books Ireland, 1987, pp.83-84.)

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Quotations
A Group of Celtic Writers’, in Fortnightly Review, n.s. 65 (Jan 1889), pp.34-53: ‘I purpose to speak only of those younger men and women in whose writings, beside the faculty of verbal art, obtains that subtle and convincing quality of atmosphere which differentiates imaginative creation from literary manufacture. There are a hundred others who by virtue of racial accident many be Anglo-Celt writers; but what I have in mind is the sole distinction of any value, the distinction of imagination [...] What is called “the Celtic Renascence” is simply a fresh development of creative energy coloured by nationality and moulded by inherited forces, a development diverted from the common way by accident of race and temperament. The Celtic writer is the writer the temper of whose mind is more ancient, more primitive, and in a sense more natural than that of his compatriot in whom the Tuetonic strain prevails.’ [Cont.]

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A Group of Celtic Writers’ (1889) - cont.: ‘And as the Celtic comes of a people who grew in spiritual outlook as they began what has been revealed to us by history as a ceaseless losing battle, so the Teuton comes from a people who have lost in the spiritual life what they have gained in the moral and practical ... Of modern Celtic poetry in general—and by Celtic I mean that which is Celtic in emotion, direct of sentiment, and instinctive approach, but English in the method and manner of its expression—might aptly be said that which Matthew Arnold wrote of the older Welsh and Irish verse and of Macpherson, “It is not great poetical work, but it is poetry, with an air of greatness investing it”’ [Cited Chris Corr, ‘English Literary Culture and Irish Literary Revival’, PhD Thesis, UUC 1995, pp.194-95; also in Corr, ‘Matthew Arnold and the Younger: Yeats: The Manoeuvrings of Cultural Aesthetics’, in Irish University Review, 28, 1, Spring/Summer 1998, p.22.)

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Lyra Celtica (1896), Introduction: ‘they [the Celts] still resist an invasion, [...] that of modern civilisation, so destructive of local varieties and national types. Ireland in particular [...] is the sole country of Europe where the native can produce authentic documents of his remote unbroken lineage, and designate with certainty, up to pre-historic ages, the race from which he sprang. One does not enough reflect on how strange it is that an ancient race should continue down to our day, and almost under our eyes, in some islands and peninsulas of the West [of Ireland], its own life, [...] still faithful to its language, its memories, its ideals and its genius’ (pp.xlviii-xlix; quoted in Chris Morash, That Other World: The Supernatural and Fantastic in Irish Literature, Transactions of Princess Grace Irish Library Conference, May-June 1998.)

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Poems of W. B. Yeats: [William Sharp with Fiona McLeod & Neil Monro,] ‘Recent Celtic Experiments in English Literature’, in Blackwood’s Magazine, Vol. 1 No. CLIX (May 1896), pp.716-29: The authors note that Gaelic and Welsh are being learned together with English, which is deemed a good thing - ‘provided always (and the proviso is of vital importance) that free play is given to the English, and that no attempt is made, for political or, rather, parochial purposes, to train up a race of sour and Saxon-hating monoglots [...] unless our ears deceive us, we catch here and there in Mr. Yeats’s work a faint echo of the cant of nationalism, he would fain be accounted among “those who sang to sweeten Ireland’s wrong”’ (p.719.) The essay goes on to discern influences of Tennyson, Swinburne, and Rossetti, rather than ‘any Celtic conventions or idioms’ in Yeats’s verse, concluding: ‘wisely as we think, he has not gone for his models to Erse or Gaelic poetry’. Quoted in Chris Corr, ‘English Literary Culture and Irish Literary Revival’, PhD Thesis, UUC 1995 - with the additional remark that ‘the writer is unaware of her female alter ego’.)

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References
John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Harlow: Longmans 1988); Fiona Macleod, created with such thoroughness by William Sharp that she had a separate Who’s Who entry, allegedly b. Hebrides, resident Iona and unmarried, and ‘writing’ 16 mythic novels or collections, incl. Pharais, A Romance of the Isles (1894); The Mountain Lovers (1895); The Sin Eater and Other Tales (1895), in the title-story of which a man takes on the sin’s of a corpse; The Washer of the Ford (1896); Green Fire (1896); The Divine Adventure (1900), in which the will and the body go on pilgrimage to the ‘hills of dream’. Her fiction exalts mystic consciousness and the Gaelic tongue; published by P. Geddes, a company which Sharp advised; collected works edited by Sharp’s widow. BL 16. Bio-data: William Sharp aka ‘Fiona Macleod’, 1855-1905; b. Paisley, Scotland; succumbed to Celtic romanticism, unhappy Glasgow student; recorded tensions of early family life in the portrait of father son relationship of the Ruthvens, in Silence Farm (1899); sent to Australia in 1876 to avoid consumption after father’s death; London bank in 1878; spotted by Rossetti; ambitious poem ‘Motherhood’, examines maternity in primitive, civilised and savage settings; commissioned biographies of romantic poets in Great Writers’ series; belle lettristic journalism; Italian visits, 1880s; poetry vols., 1884, 1888; world-wide travel; alter ego invented in 1894; entirely fictional Celtic bard, allegedly a cousin, took him over; companionate marriage to a cousin in 1884; Macleod gave play to his racial theory of inspiration, exercised on Celtic and Zionist themes; As Sharp, his novels include The Sort of Chance (1888); The Children of Tomorrow (1889); A Fellow[e] and his Wife (1892), possibly arising from crisis in his own marriage; for Macleod’s fiction, see above para. Melodramatic late novels from Sharp incl. Wives in Exile (1896); Silence Farm (1899); verge of nervous breakdown in 1897-98. Died of cold caught in Italy. BL 5.

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Margaret Drabble, ed., Oxford Companion of English Literature (OUP: 1985); cites his lives of Rossetti, Shelley, Heine, and Browning; remembered for mystic Celtic Twilight tales and romances of peasant life, as Fiona Macleod; his plays include The House of Usna (1903); concealed the identity of Fiona Macleod with a bogus Who’s Who entry till his death.

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Library & booksellers’ catalogues
Belfast Public Library holds W. Sharp, with A. Thomson, Songs and Tales of St. Columba and his Age (1897); The Conqueror’s Dream (1894); also E. Sharp, Lyra Celtica (1896, 1924).

Ulster Univ. Library, Hewitt Collection, holds Lyra Celtica, anthology, includes Thomas Boyd and others.

Eric Stevens, Catalogue 168 (1992) lists Letter [ALS] to Mr [E.C.] Stedman [American poet], Oct. 1889, 3pp; flowery language, sending flowers and birthday greetings ‘to your poet-soul’ £30].

Hyland Catalogue (q.d.) lists Also, Mrs. William Sharp, Sea-Music: An Anthology of Poems (1887)

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Notes
On the distaff: Mrs. William Sharp, ed., Women’s Voices, An Anthology of the Most Characteristic Poems by English, Scotch, and Irish Women (1887).

W. B. Yeats recorded of Sharp that on one occasion when he had been abroad he ‘saw the sidereal body of Fiona enter the room as a beautiful young man, and became aware that he was a woman to the spiritual sight. She lay with him, he same, as a man with a woman, and for days afterwards his breasts swelled so that he has almost the physical likeness of a woman’ (cited in Frank Tuohy, Yeats, 1976, p.55). Further, annotating in 1924 the ‘proverb a friend has heard in the Highlands of Scotland [that] talks of the loveliness of the Irishman’, cited in his own essay on the ‘Celtic Element in Literature’ (1897), Yeats wrote in a ftn.: ‘William Sharp, who probably invented the proverb, but, invented or not, it remains true.’ (Essays & Introductions, p.181; and see Mark Story, Poetry and Ireland since 1800, A Source Book, 1988, p.117.)

Celtic & Irish: The Manifesto of the Irish Literary Theatre in 1897 spoke of the intention to perform ‘certain Celtic and Irish plays’ to build up ‘a Celtic and Irish school of dramatic literature’. Lady Gregory noted in her memoirs that the “Celtic” was thrown in for Fiona MacLeod’. (This and the foregoing quoted in Robin Skelton and & Saddlemyer, The World of W. B. Yeats, 1965, p.19; cited in Chris Corr [PhD Thesis UUC 1995]; also Irish University Review, 28, 1, Spring/Summer 1998, p.22 ftn.).

Misremembered?: The personal memoir of Margaret Powell, a Circenchester bookseller, contains James Stephens’s account of William Sharp and the ‘literary vampirism’ (acc. Stephens) of his relation to Fiona MacLeod, ‘under whose name Sharp wrote many Celtic stories.’ By this account, MacLeod was in fact a beautiful girl who fell violently in love with Sharp, himself a strikingly handsome man. ‘She told these stories to him and he, sharing her passion, shared also her literary talent in this instance, and wrote the books in her style and feeling. “They have”, James Stephens said to me “a rare Celtic touch, just missing great poetry, while Sharp’s own work on its own is quite mediocre.”’ (Information of Jason MacGeoghegan; UU MA Dipl., c.1996.)

Pied Piper: Sharp notes in his Life of Browning (1890) that it was for Macready’s eldest boy Charles that Browning wrote, one of the most wildly popular of his poems, “The Pied Piper of Hamlin” (Sharp, ftn. 2, p.75). Note that works of Browning appeared in Dublin University Magazine - viz., “Dramatis Personae” (Vol. 64, 1864, pp.573-79); also William John Alexander [Bishop of Derry], Introduction to Poetry of Robert Browning (DUM).

Lady Gregory calls Sharp ‘an absurd object, in velvet coat, curled hair, wonderful ties’ (see James Pethica, ed., Lady Gregory’s Diaries, Colin Smythe 1996, p.154.)

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