Standish O'Grady

Phillip L. Marcus

1970
89 pages
ISBN 0-8387-7751-1
Contemporary Irish Writers

Standish O'Grady is another contribution to the Irish Writers Series. These monographs have been designed to treat in individual volumes the significant Anglo-Irish writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, encompassing discussions of more than 50 writers.

Standish O'Grady is a short critical analysis of one of the most important but least known figures in modern Irish literature. W.B. Yeats wrote, "I think it was his 'History of Ireland, Heroic Period,' that started us all." Although, as Phillip Marcus points out, "this was an exaggeration O'Grady's central position is shown by the long list of other writers who acknowledged his influence, among them Katherine Tynan, John Todhunter, T.W. Rolleston, and Aubrey de Vere."

Another early contemporary, AE (George Russell), declared that "whatever is Irish in me he kindled to life," and many years later O'Grady's power was still strong enough to be felt by Austin Clarke. Through Padraic Pearse he even had an influence upon the Irish struggle for independence.

A highly versatile writer, he produced volumes of history, legend, romance, drama, and political theory, as well as doing newspaper leaders and editing a weekly literary review. During his long, productive career his political sympathies shifted from the Anglo-Irish Aristocracy to Labor and Socialism, but his devotion to his country never wavered.

About the author:

Phillip L. Marcus was born in Kansas City in 1941. He received his B.A. from The University of Missouri at Kansas City (English Literature) in 1963, an M.A. from Harvard in 1964, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1968. Since 1967 he has been an Assistant Professor at Cornell University.

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