Envoy

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
(Dec. 1949-July 51; 20 issues), a journal of literature and art, edited in Dublin by John Ryan and Valentin Iremonger, with assistance from Anthony Cronin. Regular contributors included Brendan Behan, Denis Devlin, John Hewitt, Patrick Kavanagh, Mary Lavin, Seán O’Faoláin, Flann O’Brien and Francis Stuart; ceased publication July 1951. Kavanagh supplies a ‘Diary’; incl. special issue on James Joyce (April 1951). Cronin Cronin accepted an extract from Beckett’s Watt, supplied by Con Leventhal.

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Commentary
Gerry Smyth, Decolonisation and Criticism: The Construction of Irish Literature (London: Pluto Press 1998), quoting Editorial, Vol. 3, Issue 9, Summer 1952: ‘The younger poets ... take their nationality more for granted. They seem to be less interested in the technical craftwork by means of which one apparently becomes Irish - the over-use of assonance, Larminie, Raftery, a strained and imprecise Imagery - and rather more concerned with the craftsmanship involved in trying to write good poetry; their attitude seems to correspond more with Paul Gerrard’s - that if the poet happens to be Irish, the result, as like as not, is probably Irish poetry. the would probably claim that being Irish is no more an attitude of mind than the wearing of embroidered coats.’ (p.6; Smyth, p.118). Further: ‘Although Envoy ceased publication in July 1951, [the] concept of incidental nationality was an important rejoinder to The Bell’s progressive nationalism, whilst its outward-looking stance was a strong influence on Kavanagh’s Weekly. The editorial line held that literary affiliation took preference over any kind of sectional or national affiliation, and that “literature” needed no qualifying adjective to make it valuable or interesting.’ (Idem.) [See further comments under Rann, q.v.]

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Reference
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry 1991), Vol. 3, 529n: John Ryan, founder-editor of Envoy (1949-51), and the Dublin Magazine, published a memory, Remembering How We Stood (1975; rep. 1987).

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