L. A. G. Strong


Life
1896-1958 [Leonard Alfred George]; b. Plymouth, Devonshire, of Irish mother and part-Irish father; spent childhood summers at Dalkey; ed. at Brighton College, and Wadham College, Oxon., where he was Open Classical Scholar; while an undergraduate he was encouraged by W. B. Yeats, then living in Oxford - and later a subject of a memoir; Strong he received medical exemption from war service in WWI and became a school-teacher on graduation;
 
appt. Assistant Master at Summer Fields School, Oxford, 1917-19, and taught there again during 1920-21; served as Visiting Tutor at the Central School of Speech and Drama (Finchley Rd., Univ. of London); turned professional writer and author of more than 20 novels and 9 poetry collections; appt. director of Methuen publishers, 1938, a post retained until his death; elected MIAL and FRSL; served as governor of his old school, Brighton College; d. 17 Aug. 1958; a memorial service was held at St. Martin in the Fields, London, 3rd Oct. 1958. DIW DIL IBL OCEL FOC OCIL

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Works
Poetry (Sel.)
  • Dublin Days (Oxford: Blackwell 1921);
  • Difficult Love (Oxford: Blackwell 1927);
  • The Lowery Road (1924); At Glenan’s Cross (1928);
  • Northern Light (London: Gollancz 1930);
  • Selected Poems (London: Hamish Hamilton 1931), viii, 103pp.;
  • Call to the Swan (London: Hamish Hamilton 1936);
  • The Doll (Leeds: Salamander Press 1947), front. Monique Duolos [500 copies];
  • The Body’s Imperfections: Collected Poems of L.A.G. Strong (London: Methuen 1957).
See also, Maude Cherill (London: Parrish 1949), 96pp.;
Short Stories
  • Doyle’s Rock and Other Stories (Ox: Blackwell 1925);
  • Tuesday Afternoon and Other Stories (London: Gollancz 1935);
  • The English Captain and Other Stories (London: Gollancz 1929);
  • Sun on Water and Other Stories (London: Gollancz 1940);
  • Darling Tom and Other Stories (London: Methuen 1952).
Fiction (chiefly novels)
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  • Dewer Rides (London: Gollancz 1929);
  • The Jealous Ghost (1931);
  • The Garden (London: Gollancz 1931);
  • The Bay (London: Gollancz 1931), 280pp.;
  • The Brothers (London: Gollancz 1932) [filmed by David MacDonald, 1947];
  • Don Juan and the Wheelbarrow (London: Gollancz 1932);
  • Sea Wall (London: Gollancz 1933) [set in S. County Dublin];
  • The Seven Arms (London: Gollancz 1935);
  • The Last Enemy (London: Gollancz 1936);
  • The Swift Shadow (London: Gollancz 1937);
  • The Open Sky (London: Gollancz 1939);
  • House in Disorder (London & Redhill: Lutterworth 1941);
  • Slocombe Dies (London: Collins 1942);
  • The Unpractised Heart (London: Gollancz 1942) [incls. quotation from AE/George Russell;
  • The Director (London: Methuen 1944);
  • All Fall Down (London: Collins 1944);
  • Travellers (London: Methuen 1945; 1947), 297pp. [31 stories];
  • Trevannion (London: Methuen 1948);
  • Deliverance (London: Methuen 1955);
  • The Travellers (1945) [James Tait Black Memorial Prize];
  • Travannion ([?] 1945);
  • Hill of Howth (London: Methuen 1953);
  • The Light Above the Lake (London: Methuen 1958) [posthum.].

Other titles incl. The English Captain; Corporal Tune; Mr. Sheridan's Umbrella; Tuesday Afternoon; Sun on the Water; The Bay; All Fall Down; Othello's Occupation; Darling Tom; Treason in the Egg; A Gift from Christy Keogh [see L. A. G. Strong page at Wikipedia - online; accessed 11.09.2011].

Biography
  • Dr. Quicksilver 1660-1742: The Life and Times of Thomas Dover MD (London: A[Andrew] Merles 1955);
  • The Minstrel Boy: A Portrait of Tom Moore (London: Hotter & Stoughton 1937);
  • John McCormack: The Story of a Singer (London: Methuen 1941);
  • John Millington Synge [for PEN] (London: Allen & Unwin 1941), 44p. [2];
  • John Masefield [Writers and Their Works, 24] ([Longmans] 1952; reps. 1964; corr. rep. Longmans 1968);
  • Henry of Agincourt (London: Nelson 1937), ill. Jack Matthews.
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Autobiography
  • Green Memory (1961) [posthum.].
Commentary
  • A Letter to W. B. Yeats [Hogarth Letters No. 6] (London: L. & V. Woolf / Hogarth Press 1932), pamph.;
  • Personal Remarks (London: Peter Neville 1953) [var. NY 1953];
  • The Writer’s Trade [Instructions to Young Writers] (London: Methuen 1953);
  • The Sacred River, an Approach to James Joyce (London: Methuen 1949).

Other titles incl. Common Sense about Poetry; [with M. Redlich], Life in English Literature; The Handom Cab and the Pigeons; The Man Who Asked Questions; Shake Hands and Come Out Fighting; A Tongue in Your Head; Personal Remarks; Flying Angel; [see L. A. G. Strong page at Wikipedia - online; accessed 11.09.2011].

Miscellaneous
  • ‘The Novel: Assurances and Perplexities’, in The Author, Playwright and Composer, XLV, 4 (Summer 1935), pp.112-15;
  • ‘James Joyce and the New Fiction’, in American Mercury, XXXV, 140 (August 1935), pp.434-37 [also as ‘What is Joyce Doing with the Novel?’, in John O’London’s Weekly, XXXIV, 881 (29 Feb. 1936), pp.821-26; for extract, see under Joyce, Commentary, supra];
  • ‘James Joyce’, in The English Novelists: A Survey of the Novel by Twenty Contemporary Novelists, ed. Derek Verschoyle (London: Chatto & Windus, 1936);
  • with C. Day Lewis, New Anthology of Modern Verse (London: Methuen 1940);
  • English for Pleasure, with intro. by Mary Somerville (Sch. Broadcasting Dir. 1941, 1942);
  • The Rolling Road: The Story of travel on the Roads of Britain and the Development of Public Passenger Transport (London: Hutchinson 1956), 288pp.

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Criticism
Michael O’Neill & Gareth Reeves, Auden, MacNeice, Spender: The Thirties Poetry (Macmillan [1992]), 254pp., reviewed by Michael Walters, Times Literary Supplement (23 Aug. 1992) [q.p.] See also Irish Book Lover, Vols. 24, 27.

Note: Strong was aspersed in passing by Patrick Kavanagh in his “Diary” column of Kavanagh’s Weekly (No. 2, p.8).

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Commentary
Stephen Gwynn
, Irish Literature and Drama (1936): ‘[...] also an associate [of the Irish Academy of Literature] L. A. G Strong has two countries, with a strong attachment to each; but Irish readers will prefer to his studies of Devon what he wrote in The Garden and The Sea Wall about a childhood and boyhood passed in the lovely landscape from Dunleary [sic] to Killiney to the Wicklow hills.’ ] (p. 223.)

Monk Gibbon, The Masterpiece and the Man: Yeats As I Knew Him (London: Hart-Davis 1959): ‘It is was Strong who also points out Yeats’s debt to Wilde for having remarked that a man could not speak the truth until he wore a mask. “He had Yeats’s instant and fullest attention.” Yeats in The Trembling [ &c.] gives us some interesting glimpses of Wilde [...] we have come to associate the theory of the mask so much with Yeats that it would be curious if he really owed the theory originally to Wilde.’ (p.128.)

Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks (1948), p.240: ‘[In the Yeats household at Oxford in 1920 and 1921], as L. A. G. Strong has described it, the poet would often shoot some searching question at an unsuspecting guest whose answer would reveal where he could be typed in the lunar cycle.’ (q.p.)

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References
Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985); lists 12 works of fiction including Don Juan and the Wheelbarrow (London: Gollancz 1932), in a story of which a wife unable to sleep goes out and hears two Christian Brothers discussing James Joyce; in The Bay, Luke Mangan, has an adulterous affair with a woman who dies, and atones by marrying humbly with a priest’s help; Sea Wall, concerning one Nicky D’Olier, is set at Dun Laoghaire and Sandycove, and includes an chapter set in the Troubles; in The Director, events occurring when a film crew arrives in a Kildare village in the absence of the priest; The Hill of Howth is a novel having something to do with amnesia and conversion; The Light above the Lake, his last novel, is set in Co. Wicklow among retired folk, one of whom receives a message from beyond the grave.

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Frank O’Connor, ed., Book of Ireland (1979 edn.), p.222, quotes ‘The Brewer’s Man,’ from Dublin Days [ ‘Have I a wife? Bedam I have! / But we was badly mated. / I hit her a great clout one night / And now we’re separated. // And mornin’s going to me work / I meets her on the quay: /“Good mornin’ to you, ma’am!” says I, / “To hell with ye!” says she.’]

Kevin Rockett, John Hill & Luke Gibbons, Cinema in Ireland (1988), gives account of Strong’s involvement in cinema, including a novel The Director.

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Booksellers
Eggeley Books (Cat 44) lists ‘After Breakfast’, in The New Decameron, Vol. 6, ed. Vivienne Darell (Blackwell 1929), 240pp.

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Hyland Books (Cat. 224/Dec. 1996) offers a collection of 1st Edns. associated with L.A.G. Strong: The Best Poems of 1926 (NY 1926); Northern Light (1930); Selected Poems (1931); A Letter to W. B. Yeats (Hogarth Press 1932); A Defence of Ignorance (NY 1932); Cororal Tune (1935; another edn. 1946); Don Juan and the Wheelbarrow (1935); The Seven Arms I1935); the Swift Shadow (1937); Henry of Agincourt (1937); John Millington Synge (1941); The Unpractised Heart (1942); English Domestic Life during the last 200 Years (1942); Light through the Cloud: The story of the Retreat, York 1796-1946 (1946), port., 2 ills.; The Doll (1946) [ltd. edn. 500]; The Sacred River: an approach to James Joyce (1949); Maud Cherrill (1949); The Hill of Howth (1953); Personal Remarks (1953); The Magnolia Tree [Christmas Card (1953) [ltd. 100]; Deliverance (1955); The Light Above the Lake (1958), also Memorial Service, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 3rd Oct. 1958 See also Hyland Cat. 219 (1995): A Defence of Ignorance (1932) [no. 220 (sic) of 100 ltd edn.]; Trevannion (1948).

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Ulster Libraries
Belffast Public Library holds Minstrel Boy [Tom Moore] (1937). Ulster Univ. Library holds The Doll (Leeds: Salamander Press 1947), front. Monique Duolos [500 copies]; Maude Cherill (London: Parrish 1949), 96pp.; The Rolling Road: The Story of travel on the Roads of Britain and the Development of Public Passenger Transport (London: Hutchinson 1956), 288pp.; Trevannion (London: Methuen 1948); with C. Day Lewis, New Anthology of Modern Verse (London: Methuen 1940). Also L. A. G. Strong, English for Pleasure, intro. Mary Somerville (Sch. Broadcasting Dir. 1941, 1942) [pedagogic].

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Notes
Tom Moore: In The Minstrel Boy (1937) L. A. G. Strong holds it an injustice to subject Moore’s Melodies to any sort of rigorous analysis as verbal constructs. (Cited in Robert Welch, Irish Poetry, 1980, p.24.)

No Graves: In 1940, C Day Lewis and LAG Strong collaborated on the New Anthology of Modern Verse for Methuen, which included no poems by Robert Graves; the introduction is presented as a dialogue between the editors.

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W. B. Yeats: Frank Tuohy (Yeats, 1975), gives an account of L. A. G. Strong’s impressions of Yeats’s and the latter’s extraordinary kindness to him at Oxford quoting numerous of Yeats’s sayings: ‘Synge in his early work was like a child looking through a window which he blurs with his own breath’; of Emerson and Whitman, their work ultimately loses interest for us through their failure to imagine evil’; ‘Culture does not consist in acquiring opinions but in getting rid of them’ [&c.] (p.175); ‘Every soul is unique, for none other can satisfy the same need in God.’ (p.185). Note also, A. N. Jeffares cites remarks on Yeats in Strong, Personal Record [n.d] (Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats, 1984).

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Monk Gibbon records that L. A. G. Strong was ‘devoted’ to Yeats (Gibbon, Yeats, The Masterpiece and the Man, 1959, p.57); and note also that it was L. A. G. Strong who coined the phrase about Yeats’s ‘hieratic prose’ (Stephen Gwynn, op. cit., 1936, p.227). SEE also dedication to John Lehmann, under Lady Gregory.

Denis Ireland (From An Irish Shore, 1939), cites Frank O’Connor as saying that one of the best short stories that ever appeared in the Statesman was L. A. G. Strong’s, “The Grunt” (p.144.) Further remarks on Dalkey and beyond, a ‘district that LAG Strong has described so poignantly.’ (Ibid., p.229.)

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J. M. Synge: L. A. G. Strong wrote: ‘no Irish peasant could speak poetically as continuously as Synge’s characters do’ [q. source].

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