Douglas Hyde

Gareth W. Dunleavy

1974
90 pages
ISBN 0-8387-7883-6
Contemporary Irish Writers

Douglas Hyde is another outstanding 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. The Studies will prove helpful to both literary scholars and to students of literature. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, and will encompass discussions of almost 40 writers.

The present volume about Douglas Hyde, poet-folklorist and first president of modern Ireland, contains original source material that will be vital to any future full-scale work. It draws on letters, manuscripts, and documents never before accessible to those interested in Hyde and his place in the Irish literary scene. It also incorporates information gained from personal interviews done in 1970 and 1971 with men and women from all walks of life who knew Hyde at some time in his career. These include surviving members of his immediate family, his personal staff, an professional and social friends and acquaintances.

This work sheds new light on Hyde's birth, his early education, and his relationships at the peak of his literary career with Lady Gregory, Yeats, and others. It also provides a fresh interpretation of his role as he saw it in fighting for the revival of the Irish language through the Gaelic League, which he led as president from its founding in 1893 to his resignation in 1915. It also shows how Hyde's early years in Roscommon, close to Irish antiquities and the last remaining peasant poets and storytellers, shaped his attitudes toward the Gaelic past and the need for its preservation in the face of alien and oppressive culture imposed on Ireland for centuries.

Each of Hyde's important books is also analyzed in terms of its lasting usefulness to scholars of the Anglo-Irish literary renaissance. These include Beside the Fire (1890); Love Songs of Connacht (1893); Religious Songs of Connacht (1907); Literary History of Ireland (1899); and Legends of Saints and Sinners (1915).

About the author:

Gareth W. Dunleavy was born in Willimantic, Connecticut in 1923, Gareth W. Dunleavy received his A.B. degree from Clark University in 1947, his A.M. degree from Brown University in 1949, and his Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1952. At present he is Professor of English t the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, teaching Old and Middle English, Chaucer, and Medieval Irish Literature. He is the author of Colum's Other Island (1960), and The Art and Age of Geoffrey Chaucer (1967).

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