Edited by A. Norman Jeffares and Anna MacBride White
21.6 x 13.8 cm. paperback
Maud Gonne MaeBride is part of Irish history: her foundation of the women's group Inghinidhe na hEireann. the Daughters of Ireland, in 1900, was the key that effectively opened the door of politics in the twentieth century to Irishwomen. Still remembered in Ireland for the fiery, emotive public speeches she made on behalf of the suffering – those evicted from their homes in the West of Ireland, the Treason-Felony prisoners on the Isle of Wight, indeed all those whom she saw as victims of the imperialism she constantly opposed – she is known, too, within and outside Ireland as the woman W. B. Yeats loved and celebrated in his poems.
He wrote poems to and about her after they first met in 18S9, and he continued to do so in his middle age and up to his seventies. when he remembered her ‘straight back and arrogant head’, her gentleness, and her wildness. And something of those extremes in her character becomes clear in her autobiography, A Servant of the Queen, which brings her life up to her marriage to John MaeBride in 1903.
This is no orthodox autobiography: it selects episodes – many of them highly dramatic – in her life rather than providing a more pedestrian progress through all its events. The book conveys her romanticism and suggests how wide a range of activities she pursued as a fervent nationalist, persuasive propagandist, and successful journalist. Her sheer courage emerges clearly but though she held mere convention in contempt she had to exercise some discretion in writing these memoirs. The editors have identified some hitherto unnamed characters and established the identity of persons given other names in earlier editions: they have indicated some of the episodes in Maud Gonne's life – notably her liaison with the French politician Lucien Millevoye – that she was obliged to omit in the first edition (1937). A Servant of the Queen is written in a characteristically dashing conversational style and reveals the complexity of Maud Gonne's character: it is a most readable account of aspects of a vital, exciting life which has maintained its interest to historians and students. In this new edition, the editors, who compiled The Gonne-Yeats Letters 1893-1938, have corrected the order of the chapters so that they are now arranged according to the sequence of events, and have added a chronology, notes on the principal figures, and an index.
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